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    Phil Collins - European tour 1997


    There is not much to say about the European tour that has not already been said about the North American tour. The concerts were basically identical, the stage was the same, and rumours that both the set list and the stage would change proved wrong.

    You have sent us lots of reports from the shows and we would like to publish some of them. To spare you repetitions we have used mainly those parts that mention special events or personal assessments. 


    SONGS:

    • Hand In Hand

    • Hang In Long Enough

    • Don't Lose My Number

    • River So Wide

    • Take Me Down

    • Find A Way To My Heart

    • Another Day In Paradise

    • Just Another Story (not 06/12, 14/12, 17/12)

       or I Wish It Would Rain Down (29/10 - 01/11, 29/11, 02/12)

       or Can't Turn Back The Years (05/12, 08/12 - 13/12)

    Against All Odds

    • Lorenzo

    • Separate Lives

    • The Times They Are A-Changin' (until 03/11)

       or Both Sides Of The Story ( from 04/11 except 02/12)

    Do You Remember?

       or A Groovy Kind Of Love (only 13/10 and 19/11)

    Long Long Way To Go (not 06/12)

    One More Night

    • In The Air Tonight

    • Drum/Percussion improvisation

    • Easy Lover

    • Dance Into The Light

    • Wear My Hat

    • You Can't Hurry Love

    • Two Hearts

    • Something Happened On The Way To Heaven

    • Sussudio


    • The Same Moon (only 09/10)

       or Always (only 13/12, 14/12 and 17/12)

    • Take Me Home


    Rotterdam, 29/10/97

    Phil Collins played two shows in the Netherlands. A crowd of some 10,000 created a great atmosphere by really getting into Phil’s ‘greatest hits parade’. The show I attended on 29/11 was good, just like we are used to them: very good sound, very effective light show, an inventive stage design and Phil Collins running around. What else could one ask for? Nothing, actually. But I felt that somehow it was like the previous Genesis tour: It all went too smooth, too much according to schedule. There were no big surprises. It was particularly noticeable that the set was for the most part a copy of the Serious tour. Where were the songs from Both Sides? Surely they are not that bad! It seems Phil wanted to forget that dark episode from which Both Sides came and continue from the happier times of …But Seriously. Fans of more complex songs were mildly disappointed in the end. But the qualities of the music and the light show are among the best you can see and hear these days.
    By Gerrit Bekkernens


    Hannover, 31/10 + 01/11/97

    In the late 80s I discovered Genesis through Phil Collins. For a couple of years he was the greatest for me. Things have changed for Phil and about Phil since then – many things with which I am not quite happy. But I like to wallow in nostalgia and so I went to see him twice on his current tour. The atmosphere at the Hannover shows was alright, but I have not had a single moment of surprise. Everything followed a carefully defined plan, from the first note of Hand In Hand to the last note of Take Me Home. The only highlights were Long Long Way To Go, In The Air Tonight, the drum trio and songs from the new album like Lorenzo and Just Another Story, though these have not achieved the usual hit status yet.
    The band was great, but one wonders whether Phil really needs this big ensemble to deliver a good show. Apparently this has become part of his entertainment. As after many shows in recent years – not only Phil’s, but also Genesis’s or Peter Gabriel’s – I left the venue with mixed emotions. On the one hand the shows were perfectly fine, on the other hand I could think of many things that could have been better.
    by Martin Antes


    Hannover, 31/10/97

    The show was breathtaking, for Phil as well as for the audience. It is a remarkable feat to keep up such a tempo without a break. Though few songs were played from the new album and none (!) from the previous record, I differ from some people in the audience whose post-show discussions I overheard in that the new songs were very strong and quite up to the studio versions. I also found the drum duet – sorry, the drum trio very exciting; it grooved and made you want to dance.
    The negative things about the show do not lie with Phil and his band but in those idiotic  members of the audience who had to clap along to every ballad and even to In The Air Tonight – and who clapped so badly against the beat that I could have thrown a fit. What would they know about romantic atmosphere? There are different ways of showing that: What about the good old lighters, sparklers and so on - anything but that stupid “yay, I noticed the rhythm”-clapping. Oh well, never mind.
    The band did a great job. They showed how to make music and how to create a great atmosphere (also by dancing and some showmanship). One should also not underestimate Ronnie Caryl, though I personally could not hear him.
    by Lars Köster


    Gent, 03/11/97

    The atmosphere in the venue was great from the very beginning. After the first few songs Phil welcomed the audience with the usual paper in this hand – in Flemish. When he continued in French and some people booed him for it he said “So you have the same problems with it as I”- which had the audience laughing. He would announce things in both languages before he later stuck to Flemish and added some mumbling, presumably in French.
    After the first twelve songs the band left Phil alone on the stage. He explained he would now sing some songs about relationships, a topic he had experience in.
    After that block the intro to In The Air Tonight began. Phil walked around, sang, and slowly moved towards his drumkit – only it would not come up from below the stage so he jumped down there. We could hear but not see him drum. After In The Air Tonight Phil announced that they had a problem with the power supply and therefore had to take a ten minute break. He added that if he could find the person responsible for it he would kick them in the back. After the ten minutes Phil appeared again and apologized that the delay would take a bit longer. After five more minutes everybody was surprised to hear the first notes of In The Air Tonight, and they played the song again in full – and it was one of the best versions I have ever heard.
    By Robert Vercruysse


    Various shows I

    Over the tour I have come to really appreciate the round stage. This tour will long be in everyone’s memories. Phil had brought a gigantic light show and got literally everybody in the capacity crowd to stand up. He was at ease, very relaxed and always up for a joke with the audience. At various points he could be seen running his fingers through what sparse amounts of hair were left on one fan’s head; when he noticed people were taking photos from the audience he patiently stood and struck various poses. The band were also in a giving mood, throwing guitar picks and drumsticks from the stage. In Hannover there was the rare incident that several fans fainted. Phil stood slightly helpless on the stage and watched how the people were carried out. It must have been a first for a Phil Collins show. Collins and the band have definitely lived up to the crowd’s expectations – it was worthwhile waiting for every single show.
    By Diana Kalsow

    London, 13/12/97

    The venue was almost full at a quarter to eight. The band arrived only shortly before the show, it seems, for we could see Brad Cole, Arnold McCuller and Harry Kim in winter coats as they walked down the aisles to the soundboard and vanished under the stage. The show began with the Hand In Hand intro. Phil weaved his way through the rows and boarded his ship in the usual manner. Initially the sound was far from perfect, and we wondered whether the acoustics were so bad in the venue or whether the musicians were out of synch. The sound improved very much over the next few songs. Can’t Turn Back The Years was a surprise; Phil had not played this song in Dortmund or Stuttgart. The audience warmed up to the show only during In The Air Tonight and Easy Lover. The selection of hats for Wear My Hat were augmented by a blue bobble hat and a Santa Claus cap (from the audience). Phil looked funny but not overly intelligent with both hats. After Sussudio we were treated to Always as the first encore before the final song, Take Me Home. During that latter song there was an incident as a fan ran up the stage and hugged Phil so that he had to stop moving around and singing. After the intruder had been removed the lights had already come down so low from the ceiling that Phil had to leave the stage slightly annoyed across the rail.
    This concert was an unforgettable experience. Next to Phil, Daryl and Nathan and the strong-voiced Amy Keys really stood out.
    by Kersten Opdenbusch


    Various shows II

    This year I have attended Phil Collins shows in Orlando, Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich (twice), Leipzig  and London. Each show was special for me, and I was most impressed by Phil’s physical fitness – he would run around the stage like a dervish. It was also remarkable how much energy the band had and how much they enjoyed the music. It was a great idea to have a round stage, for one could see everything and everyone close (at least at times). There was little jostling in the venue because people spread out all around the stage. The light show with its many colours and effects was gigantic. In The Air Tonight was particularly thrilling.
    Phil messed up the end of Long Long Way To Go in Munich – in the final bar he continued to sing „switch it off” instead of “turn it off”. The band burst out laughing and he held his head in embarrassment. The atmosphere in Munich was great during both shows. The audience sang along and clapped along right from the start, and these were probably the best shows I have seen on this tour. Phil dropped two songs at the last Leipzig gig, probably because he did not feel very well.
    Phil’s 1997 band is probably the best tour band he has had so far. Just consider the drum trio that involved the whole band. Ricky Lawson on drums is an improvement even over Chester Thompson, and Luis Conté is unsurpassed on percussions. Special mentions to the Vine Street Horns, from which Andrew Woolfolk stood out. The famous finale of Take Me Home is a piece I cannot stand hearing anymore after so many shows, but, well, it is a good finale.
    by Karin Lemberg
    all reports English by Martin Klinkhardt


    Phil Collins


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