Yesterday evening, while perched in my seat on row 9 of the Sheffield Arena, thoughts manifested themselves of Phil Collins’ first major acting role as the Artful Dodger in the London stage production of Oliver!
The epiphany of Collins’ fledgling acting career in the early 60’s made an unexpected visit whilst my wife Karen and I witnessed the ex-Genesis drummer/singer’s solo gig in the Steel City.
When I say solo, I don’t wish to be disparaging to the ladies and gents of the excellent band, a predominant number of whom have supported the Chiswick-born geezer for decades. I used the term loosely as his current UK tour goes by the moniker of ‘Phil Collins – Not Dead Yet’.
Bringing down the average age of the performers to 91, was 16 year old Nicholas Collins on drums. Who says nepotism is dead?!…… Only kidding, young Nick’s performance was every bit as polished as the band ‘oldies’, such as Daryl Stuermer, Leland Skar and Louis Conte. He even accompanied his pater on the piano later to prove he has his dad’s versatility.
Phil’s chip off the old drumstick gave an energetic and accomplished performance of his father’s anthems. I know he’s only young, but just watching the effort he put in over two hours of drumming made this middle-aged northern bloke feel knackered.
It made me ponder whether this burst of energy was down to Nick’s old man plying him with six bags of Haribos prior to the gig…….. If so, how the life of a rock drummer has changed since the late hell-raiser Keith Moon brutalised his drumkit back in the day.
Following the sad passing of Motorheads’s Lemmy last year, Collins’ guitarist Daryl Stuermer, his long-time musical cohort, bears the unofficial accolade of best moustache in the music business. His facial hair nurtured with over 40+ years of TLC, seems to take on a life of it’s own; parading around the stage as it’s owner works his magic on guitar.
Like Trigger’s broom, they aren’t the original 1970’s bristles. Who cares, though, as it diminishes not the luxuriant majesty of Stuermer’s splendid whiskers.
For those unacquainted with Daryl Stuermer’s tash, his aforementioned facial hair resembles the impressive display of bristles on the top lip adorned by late American writer Mark Twain……. If that doesn’t help paint a picture of his muzzy, think of someone with really voluminous top lip whiskers……. There, it’s like that!
Talking of facial hair brings me back to why thoughts of Phil Collins youthful portrayal of the Artful Dodger sprung to mind during the gig. My random mind unearthing this epiphany upon witnessing the Fagin-like beard of bass player Leland Skar.
As Mr C the elder and cohorts treat us to ‘Against All Odds’, I randomly concluded his leg problems that currently necessitate walking with a stick, the ex-Genesis man would struggle to reprise his role as the cheeky cockney pickpocket. It saddened me to think his lack of mobility now negates Phil’s opportunity of cheerily singing ‘Gotta Pick a Pocket or Two’, whilst he pilfers wallets and handkerchiefs for his bass guitarist.
Anyway, I’ll move on swiftly from my inanely silly take on Charles Dickens acclaimed fictional goings on in 1830’s London.
The Phil Collins gig was as accomplished as I, or indeed any fan, would expect it to be. After all, he’s an ‘A’ list musician/performer bestowing his audience with classic hit records from his back catalogue of multi-million selling solo albums. Throw in a couple of Genesis standards and you’ve got a winning formula for a top night.
Unless of course you’re not enamoured with Collins senior’s tunes and you ended up in the concert hall after taking a wrong turn at the nearby B&Q. Something the guy sat next to me with a Black & Decker Power Drill under his arm inadvertently achieved!
In conclusion, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening hosted by Phil Collins. A real bonus for me as when we left East Leeds in the afternoon I thought we were only going to see his tribute act Colin Phils at the Thackletwaite Working Mens Club.
Cheers for a sterling performance Phil and band…….. Cheerio, but be back soon!