19 Aug 2019
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Gig Review: Phil Collins at Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch - 4/02/2019

04 Feb 2019 // A review by Jacquie Walters

Bow down Christchurch, for we have been in the presence of the master.

From start to finish this was a concert featuring consummate musicianship and a rich back catalogue of songs to satisfy listeners of all ages. But more than that, Collins and the 14-piece band brought great heart to the proceedings.

A montage of black and white images of Collins over the years set the scene for what was to be an evening of great pathos. This was brought into sharp relief as Collins walked carefully onto the stage with a cane and took his seat front and centre. It was evident that Collins was in significant discomfort even as he told the audience not to be alarmed by the fact that he would be sitting for most of the evening. Issues with his back and foot have taken that toll. Any fears that the star being seated would impact on the energy of the performance where quickly allayed.

Against All Odds opened the night, which seemed appropriate given Collins’ remarks about his health, and we were immediately introduced to the stunning drumming talent of Collins’ 17 year old son Nicholas – what a talent he is – and worthy indeed of his role in the tour line up.

Something about Collins (snr) being seated focused attention on his vocals. He really is a terrific pop vocalist. Another Day In Paradise was a case in point and showed the beautiful lyrical depth to Collins’ songwriting. The reflective mood was soon displaced as the scorchingly good brass section took to the stage for I Missed Again, featuring a blistering saxophone solo from George Shelby.

Collins took a short foray into Genesis material with the disclaimer that the chances of him having chosen to perform songs the crowd would like him to have chosen were slim. He launched into Throwing It All Away and Follow You Follow Me, the latter accompanied by video footage of Genesis over the years.

The crowd loved it as Collins played songs from No Jacket Required, in particular Who Said I Would?, once again showcasing the marvellous brass section known collectively as the Vine Street Horns. The rest of the band were also outstanding. From electric guitarist Daryl Stuermer to the legendary bass guitarist Leland Sklar, to percussionist Richie Garcia, Collins has assembled a group of truly extraordinary talent all dedicated to the service of his material and to supporting him on stage.

Special mention must also be made of the backing vocalists. Bridget Bryan’s duet with Collins on Separate Lives in particular was breathtaking.

This really was a concert of so many wonderful moments. Collins with his back to the audience sitting watching his son on drums was very touching as was Collins’, his son’s and Richie Garcia’s percussive duel. Nicholas Collins also at one point accompanied his father on piano, allegedly playing the only song from his father’s back catalogue that he liked.

The energy of the concert reached another level with the epic In The Air Tonight, the only number that Collins stood to sing. It was evident that the effort took its toll but what an amazing moment he and the band created.

You Can’t Hurry Love, Dance Into The Light, Invisible Touch and Sussudio got the crowd dancing, the latter bringing the house down. The fact that Collins was sitting was absolutely no impediment in terms of the joyful energy he and the band created.

It seemed a cruel convention that Collins had to walk off the stage and on again for the encore but Take Me Home was exactly what the crowd needed to complete an evening of epic proportions.

There was a lot of love on the stage tonight as the band got behind and supported Collins. Equally, the audience’s love for Collins and his music was clear. We can only be grateful to have been there to witness a truly great singer and songwriter in action.


Photos by Triebels Photography

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

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