Phil Collins kicked of the British Summer Time festival in style with an unforgettable headline performance in London’s Hyde Park last Friday evening. Held over two weekends, BST brings together a diverse array of musical acts to create line-ups which appeal to a range of tastes. The Friday line-up was an eclectic mix of acts such as KC and the Sunshine Band, Starsailor, Mike and the Mechanics, Blondie and of course the headliner Phil Collins.
With a career spanning four decades, Phil Collins is legendary in the British music scene. He is best known for his work with rock band Genesis as the drummer and lead singer and for forging a highly successful solo career in which he scored three UK number one singles during the 1980s. Collins left Genesis in 1996 and pursued his solo career before retiring in 2011 to focus on family life. However, in 2015 he announced his return to the music industry and his current Not Dead Yet European Tour is the first time he’s performed live in 10 years. Friday’s Hyde Park show was his biggest ever solo show to date so Phil has well and truly returned with a bang.
Collins opened the set with the poignant 1989 track Another Day In Paradise to rapturous applause as he took to BST’s iconic forest-themed stage. This was followed by the classic floor-filler Something Happened On The Way To Heaven. His unmistakable vocals were given even more punch by the brilliant backing singers and the incredible band brought the trumpet solos to life. As well as his own tracks, Collins treated the crowd to some Genesis classics such as Follow You Follow Me which got the vast crowd swaying along and Invisible Touch which was an undoubted crowd pleaser. A few tracks in, Collins took the time to introduce his band who were clearly having the time of their lives sharing the stage with one of Britain’s biggest musical icons. Among those up on the stage was Collins’ 16 year old son Nicholas and he was awarded the honour of performing the percussion on In The Air Tonight, including that most iconic of drum solos. It was most certainly a highlight of the set, watching Collins pass over the baton to the next generation and hearing that drum solo reverberate across Hyde Park. Another highlight was 1984 track Easy Lover where the chorus and bridges were shared with the excellent vocalists on stage who jived along and got the whole crowd involved. Collins closed the set with Sussudio, another iconic 80s track which transported the crowd back to the decade’s neon-hued excess with a blinding visual backdrop of roving shapes and patterns.
Due to recent ill health, Collins performed the entire show from a swivel chair. He didn’t let this hold him back however and boogied along, arms in the air, to every track with unwavering energy. Collins couldn’t leave without an en core and this fell to the atmospheric Take Me Home. For the first time that evening he raised from his seat and performed the song standing, with the crowd serenading him all the way through.
Despite not even being on this earth when the majority of those songs were released I vividly remember them as playing a part in the soundtrack of my childhood in the 90s, Phil being a firm favourite on my parents stereo so it was an unforgettable experience to watch such a famed performer still in the game all these years later.
If this review has got you nostalgic and you want to catch Phil Collins live then grab yourself a ticket to see him on his Not Dead Yet tour later this year here.
Wednesday 22nd November – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
Friday 24th November – Sheffield Arena
Sunday 26th November – London Royal Albert Hall
Monday 27th November – London Royal Albert Hall
Wednesday 29th November – Manchester Arena
Friday 1st December – Glasgow SSE Hydro
Saturday 2nd December – Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
Sunday 3rd December – Birmingham Genting Arena
British Summer Time continues this weekend with headline slots from Kings Of Leon tonight, The Killers on Saturday (sold out) and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on Sunday. Tickets are available here.
Have a listen to the classic Easy Lover in all its 80s glory below.