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Another Day In Paradise …

Little Dreams Foundation Gala Concert in Miami, 11/03/2016

...was not just the first song of Phil’s return to stage after a 6year partial retirement from the music business but could also have been the theme song for the whole LDF gala which took place on March 11th in Miami Beach. Funnily the location of the gala was named Fillmore which could have read as “Phil-more” and can’t have been a better omen for his comeback. Furthermore it’s located right across the “Collins Ave” the largest street in Miami! …a coincidence?

Phil 1As you might know Phil and Orianne founded the Little Dreams Foundation in 2000 in Switzerland to help young kids to fulfill their dreams in the worlds of music, arts and sports. Since then the foundation has spread out and opened branches in Morocco, Belgium and the US. As Phil moved to Miami a few years ago it was just natural that he gets involved with the activities of the Miami-based branch of LDF and so he was scheduled to perform at their first gala in 2014. Due to health issues he had to cancel his performance at last minute and also the second attempt, initially planned for December 2015, had to be postponed to March 2016 for the same reason. It must have created a bit of pressure to put things right and to deliver to what has been announced as “comeback show” in the press but people who made their way to Miami should not get disappointed this time.

Phil and FamilyIt was early evening when Phil together with Orianne, Matthew and Nicholas entered the red carpet right outside the Fillmore in Miami Beach. Phil was elegantly dressed in a black suit and his appearance immediately created an atmosphere of happiness and you could feel the excitement on both sides of the fence. Phil obviously enjoyed these moments and patiently took his time to do interviews and to pose for photos. All the doubts which might have been in his head (if he still can do it, if he remembers the words and if all will be the same) seemed to have blown away at that time.

He shared the red carpet with other artists and guests of that night, among them another Grammy Award winner - the legendary Sam Moore (“Soul Man”) which he warmly welcomed [Sam Moore photo goes here]. It seemed to me that Phil took the chance to not just celebrate a musical come back but also a private one and proudly presented his reunited family to the world.

The night continued with a silent auction of music related memorabilia in the lobby of the Fillmore and a live auction inside the theatre before the musical part kicked off. At around 8:30pm the Little Dreamers started to perform followed by artists such as Alvaro Soler, Diego Torres, Lou Gramm of Foreigner and WYK (What You Know), the band of Phil’s son Nicholas with Nick Aquilino (lead vocals/piano), Joey Rodriguez (lead guitar) and Yannick Waingarten (bass & back up vocals). They performed a short Red Hot Chilli Peppers - style set and brought the crowd up to speed. While the stage was set for the highlight of that night DJ Irie (official DJ of Miami HEAT) heated up the Fillmore to melting point and pushed the button, turning the crowd from gala to party mood.

And then the moment came we were waiting the last 6 years for. Phil entered the stage and welcomed the crowd with his typical dry english humor “I hope you enjoyed yourself tonight –we’re gonna put a stop to all that”.

Phil liveHe started his set with Another Day in Paradise and was accompanied by Brad Cole (keyboards), Nathan East (bass), Daryl Stuermer (guitar), Luis Conte (percussion) and Gerald Albright (saxophone). For the second song Against All Odds his son Nicholas joined his dad on drums and thereby completing the band. Phil played three more of his own hits In the Air Tonight, Easy Lover and Take me Home before ending his set and the gala with the temptation classic My Girl and Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door.

Even after a 6-year break his voice did not rust as he sounded very strong and had a great stage presence. The show was well planned with a great light & video show and there is some hope that video material will be released at some point in time as the gala was filmed.

The gala left me with the impression that this was the necessary rehab Phil needed after such a long break with all the up’s and down’s in between. He impressively proofed himself that he still can do it and observing the reactions of the audience it must have felt like “another day in paradise” for all of them.

And yes, he still remembered the words!

…and no - he still can’t dance!

Author & Photos: Matthias Fengler

Phil Collins

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