Review: Phil Collins at the Factory

Phil CollinsPhil Collins performed his second of two shows at The Electric Factory last night. Anyone expecting “In the Air Tonight” or “Sussudio” was in for a surprise, as the set list consisted of tracks from his forthcoming album “Going Back,” a collection of Motown-centric hits of the 1960s scheduled for release this September. Nineteen musicians and backing singers joined Mr. Collins on stage, including three members of The Funk Brothers, session musicians who played on many of the original Motown recordings. Vocally, Mr. Collins was in fine form. While the timbre of his voice is well suited to uptempo numbers such as “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” (previously released on Collins’s “Hello, I Must Be Going!”), he also pulled off credible versions of more soulful tunes like “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” Mr. Collins rolled through renditions that were faithful to the sound and style of the original recordings, pausing only every fourth or fifth song for brief banter with the audience (including a remark that he had song sheets on hand because there were “too many faackin’ words”). The talented performers with whom he shared the stage added fantastic energy and a great big-band feel to a
very enjoyable evening. Other than the lack of an encore, the only lamentable aspect was that he did not take advantage of the ensemble to bust out a version of “Easy Lover.” They would have made a meal of it.

Last week, loyal Weekender reader Michelle McKiernan won a pair of tickets to yesterday’s Phil Collins performance at the Electric Factory. Apparently, “Ms. McKiernan” is also loyal New York Times reader, as evidenced by her constant use of “Mr. Collins”. This was what she thought…
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