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Dance Into The Light 2CD

Phil Collins - Dance Into The Light (Deluxe 2CD)

New version: Collins‘ guitar album remastered with bonus tracks

Please note that this review covers only the new release of Dance Into The Light. Find our comprehensive review of the original album here.

The Artwork

1As with all the other album we have an older Phil Collins on the cover in the same arrangement as in the original artwork. The cover for Dance Into The Light caused much talk – it is the only cover that shows him in full, and dancing at that. The question was how they would achieve to re-do that. After all, Phil is not nearly as agile as he used to be after all his health problems. One might suspect that Phil’s head in the photos is a montage. Other parts of the cover are obviously new. However, Phil has confirmed in an interview that he has „danced“ all the new shots himself. He added that he wondered if and how he could manage that (go here for the interview). The highpoint of the artwork are the eight photos on the rear of the folded sheet inside the box showing eight stills from the session when Phil danced the new cover. These alone are almost worth the money! The writing on the title has been re-done, unlike the other albums – differences in the writing can clearly be discerned.

The digipack follows the other re-issues in its design. It is obviously all in orange with a folded sheet that has Phil’s liner notes. The bonus CD is entitled "Extra Move".


2The Remaster

Dance Into The Light came out in 1996 during the peak of digital mastering when everybody would start out with much compression. This means that the volume has mainly similar levels. Dance Into The Light has a DR [Dynamic Range] value of 10, which is quite high for an album from the time. The peaks are all almost uniformly at -0.18dB. Interestingly, Just Another Story has the strongest dynamics.

Unlike the remasters of the early albums the new remaster is not louder but actually less loud, as far as the peaks are concerned. The variation is minimal and not in the least audible. The deviation is larger for Take Me Down, though it cannot be heard here either. The volume levels for the quieter bits, rare though they are, have all been raised a bit, which has negative effects on the overall dynamic range (DR). The 2016 remaster has a DR value of 8 which borders on "bad".

3Even careful listeners will not notice much difference without recourse to technical means. The bass sounds seem stronger in some places, while in other places the splash of the cymbals appears stronger.  All this could be a trick of the numbers or it could be audible, but there are no big differences. This is a pity because the dynamic range could have been improved. Click here to see the results.



The bonus tracks

4Dance Into The Light (live)

This is one of the typical happy songs for the second half of a Collins show. The version used here has pretty likely been recorded on the Farewell tour and sounds excellent. It is, in fact, the same version you get to see and hear on the DVD.

Just Another Story (live)

A gem. In the liner notes Phil muses that he has never been as close to rap as here. This jazzy version with spoken vocals was part of the 1997 live set, and it is as far removed from Phil’s catchy pop songs as from his ballads. It is an oddball that stands out on this album. Using this live version is a brilliant idea. At this moment we have not yet been able to find out where it was recorded.

Wear My Hat (live)

5Wear My Hat was an obvious candidate to appear on the bonus CD as a live version. This one is from the 2004 Farewell tour DVD, so it was recorded in Paris, France, on June 16, 2004. The sound is accordingly, though you will notice the slightly bumpy start as Two Hearts would turn seamlessly into Wear My Hat.

River So Wide (live)
Take Me Down (live)

Both tracks were twinned for the Trip Into The Light tour – they would always be played one directly after the other without a break. It is obviously not a clean, refined live recording, but a rough, largely unpolished soundboard recording. We are not absolutely certain where it was recorded but our best bet is on Earl’s Court London (Dec 13, 1997). The drum intro for River So Wide is really crisp, and Collins cannot be heard singing until he sings alone around the middle of the drum into. You can hear the audience very quietly on the tracks which indicated that the music was not recorded with directional microphones. Phil also economizes on his vocal power. The drummer on that tour was the late Ricky Lawson. These two rough live songs give you an appetite for a Collins live show. He always knows how to create musical fireworks with a brass section and a corresponding rhythm group. The finale of Take Me Down is magic. More of that! And a full 1997 tour show on Blu-ray, please!


Lorenzo (demo)*

One of the key tracks on the album was Lorenzo with its well-known story (remember the film Lorenzo’s Oil? More information in our review of the original album). The demo sounds like a well-aired version of the track as it appeared on the album. The song seems rather complete – no wonder, as the lyrics were not written by Collins. The vocals are quite dominant, while there are only tender sketches of the drum solo. But this demo proves if proof were needed that Collins has a knack for writing grandiose songs.

That’s What You Said (demo)

Another demo that is close to the final version. The lyrics are nearly complete and the overall feeling is the same as in the finished version, with hardly any differences to the finalized version. We are therefore not quite certain as to what the point of including this demo was…


Another Time (B-Side)

This song was available only on the famous Toyota sampler You Ought To Know. Another Time has always been a different Collins song, for it does not follow the verse/chorus conventions at all. A very worthy choice.

It’s Over (B-Side)

It’s Over is a logical B-side, as, atmospherically, it would have fit on Both Sides better than on Dance into The Light.

I Don’t Wanna Go (B-Side)

...was on the It’s In Your Eyes single as I Don’t Want To Go. A crisp, short song, it might have been a better choice as a single than It’s In Your Eyes, which was sound-wise far too close to Love Police and That’s What You Said. But each to their own.


Our assessment of the bonus tracks

We have nothing to complain about the sound quality of the live recordings. As usual, one may have different opinions on the songs that were chosen. Dance Into The Light may be considered superfluous, whereas songs like No Matter Who (which was played live just once for a promo show), The Same Moon or The Times They Are A Changin’ might have been better choices. Just Another Story is a real hammer, and the duo River So Wide / Take Me Down is a very fine song, too. Loco In Acapulco would have been another treat; Collins played that song only during a couple of North American shows.

Lorenzo is a very welcome demo, while That’s What You Said is not such a lucky choice. Head Held High and Let It Run Free are two interesting songs that would have been great on this CD. Other songs are already known from Collins’ fanclub archive and/or bootleg recordings.

All the B-sides are present, except for It’s Everywhere. This catchy song was on the Toyota sampler You Ought To Know and would have graced this CD, too.

Beide Cover - Dance Into The Light

All in all

This set is good. One might have feelings about the odd bonus track, but they are all there for a good reason. Yet the available space on the bonus CD is not used. A playtime of merely 46 minutes means that there is another half an hour’s time for gems like Head Held High or Let It Run Free or for It’s Everywhere, just to complete the B-sides from the album. The remaster does not reveal new dimensions nor does it deviate much from the original. The artwork is classic – who would have thought to see a full dance session, as it were, with old Phil? This shows an eye for detail which we would have loved to see again in other parts of this release series.

Dance Into The Light comes out on February 26, 2016, on 2CD and 2LP and can be ordered from:

Dance Into The Light 2CD: | amazon-uk |
Dance Into The Light 2LP: | amazon-uk |

by Christian Gerhardts
English by Martin Klinkhardt

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