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Phil Collins: If the songs convince, it does not need a big show

Phil Collins brings his hits well while sitting well on the stage Phil Collins brings his hits well while sitting well on the stage Marco Masiello

He has no new material. He does not want to adore the present. But in Zurich's Letzigrund Stadium, Phil Collins impresses with a coherent selection of his big hits.

There is much that speaks against this evening. Maybe too much. There is, for example, the fact that there is actually no current reason to meet here and today in this quite summery, at times somewhat windy Tuesday evening. The Briton Phil Collins, our host, has no new material to showcase. His last studio album dates back to 2010 and consists of a collection of old Motown songs. Original material was last published in 2002.

In addition, his health has repeatedly made headlines in recent years. The ears, the back, the hands. We hear that he can hardly walk any more and that he performs the concerts of his "Still Not Dead Yet" tour sitting down.

Singing while sitting

But then also the stadium, which fills up only slowly and from the surface of which almost half a football field remains unseen. Instead of the possible 43 000 find on Tuesday, according to organizers nearly 30 000 spectators the way to the stadium Letzigrund. The pictures on the screens to the left and right of the stage take us on a journey through the last fifty years. Everything long gone. It seems that the man of the evening has too much behind him and too little in front of him.

The 68-year-old has gone through quite a few careers: as a drummer, as a member of the band Genesis, as a solo artist and producer, as a pop star, the success of more than 250 million records sold, but less of his artistic legacy in the A series of very big ones. In 1970 Phil Collins joined Genesis. And as his influence grew, so did the band's success. From the late seventies, each album sold millions of times.

At the same time, the Genesis front man launched a solo career and wrote hits that nobody passed. In the eighties and nineties, his voice really haunted his voice. Meanwhile, you pass her by. The sovereignty over the mainstream have others. But the songs of yore, they still work today.

To cover up a Phil Collins with malice seems at first easy again. How does anyone get to sing a huge stadium completely sitting down? But there is nothing left now that the hands could do. There is no guitar like John Lee Hooker or BB King (who also performed in a sitting position), and he also put the drumsticks out of his hands for health reasons. There is only the familiar voice, which he has to bring to ideal line today with much more effort.

But that's enough. The vocal performance paired with his typical rogue, combined with a clever song selection and embedded in a 14-member backing band in the best play mood, that's enough. The almost exactly 120-minute, completely planned concert by Phil Collins proves to be a pleasurable journey through time. A homage to his perfect songs. Everything sounds the way it sounds. Even the voice has almost the clarity of that time. Appeals to the present, to the current pop happening, he bothered himself, both in terms of the show as well as the music. Except for a short confetti insert, nothing happens because of special effects.

Even the drum solo of his only 18-year-old son Nicholas Collins, who accompanies him throughout the tour and drastically lowers the average age of his band, sounds like he once did. Here, the band is still presented extensively, here the saxophones are still solos, and the background singers get their two minutes in the spotlight.

No consecration

You get what you expect - of course, the legendary drum whistle of "In The Air Tonight". However, Collins' concert is not a clumsy affront to the audience. He does not mention "I Wish It Would Rain," "Two Hearts," and "A Groovy Kind Of Love," of which he has repeatedly said in interviews that he finds it to his ears. There are also a few Genesis classics missing.

In view of the final, which puts down the band, this is in no moment significant. With a hit cascade of tempo, power and subtle Latin impact, Collins concludes his visit to Zurich: The Supremes hit "You Can not Hurry Love", "Dance Into The Light", seamlessly concludes his famous hit "In The Air Tonight". the Genesis hit "Invisible Touch", the "Easy Lover" created by Earth, Wind and Fire together with Philip Bailey, and finally "Sussudio".

With this power you feel reminded of Gloria Estefan's Miami Sound Machine. And Collins becomes a party tiger. That he is in fact and truth in the swivel chair and on the floor off the stage, is no longer an issue. It's his songs and interpretations - shapely, conclusive, clear - that are in focus here.

Translated by Google

© nzz, by Adrian Schräder


Phil Collins - Against All Odds (Zürich 18.06.2019 @ Letzigrund Stadion) humpback whale

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