This fall, Phil Collins will bring back his “Still Not Dead Yet Tour” with a series of shows in the U.S. The leg, which takes its title after the musician’s 2016 memoir, “Not Dead Yet”, will be performed after a series of summer concerts in Europe. The U.S. tour kicks off 23rd of September in Dallas, features stops in locations like Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, and New York and wraps up on the 19th of October with a show in Las Vegas.
Collins will be joined on stage by Leland Sklar on bass, by Daryl Stuermer on guitar, his teenage son Nicolas Collins on drums, by Brad Cole on keyboards, Luis Conte on percussion and backup singers and a horn section.
The “Not Dead Yet” tour has been initially announced in October 2016, as the first tour in North America in 12 years. After few performances in 2017, Collins had to postpone it after falling in his room at a hotel in London. This accident came a year after the singer had back surgery, as a result of the injuries caused by drumming for so many years. But Phil Collins has not said his final word in music: he’s back on the road, promising a performance that his audience will just love.
Born on the 30th of January 1951 in London, Philip David Charles Collins grew in a home filled with creativity. He fell in love with drums when he was 5, just after receiving a toy drum. He already had a real drum by the time he was 12 and he began practicing around the clock. His parents agreed for young Phil to transfer to a stage school so he could play the role of “Artful Dodger” in “Oliver!”. This provided Phil new acting opportunities, like “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1969) and Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964). After funding the band “The Real Thing” alongside other students, Collins auditioned for a band from Surrey called “Genesis”, who was looking for a drummer/backup singer. The new line-up with Collins included released five studio albums and a live one, featuring one of the band’s tours in the U.S.
1975 was the year that changed everything: Phil Collins became the lead singer of Genesis, when Peter Gabriel quit the band to pursue a solo career. But Collins’ “knighting” as the frontman of the band didn’t come from the beginning: Genesis auditioned around 400 singers searching for a lead singer, before entrusting the role to Phil. The new challenge was not easy for Collins: although other fellow drummers were also lead singers in their bands (Don Henley of “Eagles” for instance), Genesis performed some really crazy shows in that time, which made it difficult for the musician to perform the two roles at the same time. Fortunately, he got some help during his transition: Bill Bruford of “King Crimson” joined the band for a while, followed by Chester Thompson of Frank Zappa, who became Collins’ backup drummer. Thompson would assist the band and then Collins’ career for more than 30 years.
The change of the lead singer meant a translation from conceptual music to a style that radio stations liked a lot. The band hit big in 1978, when Collins, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford released the album “And Then There Were Three”. It featured “Follow You Follow Me”, which became the band’s first radio hit in the U.S. The album received a gold certification and was followed by “Duke”, released two years later. Collins played also with the jazz band “Brand X” and began working on his solo career. He released his first solo album called “Face Value”, featuring the amazing single “In the Air Tonight”. The second album – “Hello, I Must Be Going”, released the next year, brought two new hits: “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “I Don’t Care Anymore”.
In 1984, Collins wrote the theme song of the soundtrack for the movie “Against All Odds”. The song reached #1 in the charts and brought the musician two nominations: one “Golden Globe” and one “Academy Award” for “Best Original Song”. His third album – “No Jacket Required” also dominated the charts. The musician’s “magical touch” enabled Genesis to reach the top: in 1986, it released the album “Invisible Touch” that landed #1. Collins’ next challenge was the movies: his hit “In the Air Tonight” was featured in 1984 in one episode of the successful police series “Miami Vice”, in which the singer later made a guest appearance. He wrote the song “Two Hearts” for the movie “Buster”, in which he made his debut to the big screen. “Two Hearts” brought Collins a “Golden Globe” award for “Best Original Song” and an “Academy Award nomination”. Phil Collins’ voice was iconic for at least one decade: in just six years, between 1984 and 1990, he had 13 Top Ten hits in the U.S. You can see if he still can fascinate fans by attending one of his coming live tour performances – tickets are available at all the great 3rd party locations.
However, Collins’ walk on the hall of success didn’t last forever: in his bestselling autobiography “Not Dead Yet”, which brings to fans the story of his life, Collins confesses how success and the touring of the band had a painful impact on his personal life: his first wife strayed and he remained lost with his music. Although he fascinated huge crowds of fans, sang with Sting, produced for Eric Clapton or played in TV series and movies, the price paid was too high: he lost three marriages, the connection with his five children, he nearly drowned in alcohol.
When he quit touring in 2010, his health was in really bad shape: his bones were shattered after all the cortisone injections he’s had over the years to keep his voice intact, he was partially deaf and he could barely hold a drumstick. On his audio-book biography, he states: “music made me, but it also unmade me”. In 2011, the year he decided to retire from music, Genesis was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”. Luckily for all his fans, Collins reconsidered that decision and started touring again a few years later.
One of his greatest musical achievements remains, to date, the “gated reverb”. This studio effect, created in the song “In the Air Tonight” is a drum that sounds as if it comes from a synthesizer. Although nowadays you can easily get this effect by using some electronic gadgets, back in 1981 it was a complete innovation: it made you feel as if you were on a live show arena, whilst listening to the song in your own home, thanks to its reverb-y sound. In a room attuned to drum beats, Collins and producer Hugh Padgham used electronic effects, some microphones placed in essential positions, an electronic device called “noise gate” and an aired-out snare drum to create one of the most recognizable, popular and enduring drum beats of all times.
Phil Collins has known Heaven and Hell, in both his musical career and personal life. He endured, he showed an indomitable spirit and he is ready now to do it all over again, wiser and with more inner peace. Although in his biography you can hear him trying to explain that when joining “Genesis” he had never imagined that he would be in the spotlight, his fans are very lucky that he did. His state-of-the-art music, his touching lyrics and his “exceeding expectations” performances have defined Phil Collins as one of the greatest singers of the past 40 years.