“A grand day out” - Mike & The Mechanics and Phil Collins at Hyde Park, London on Friday 30th June 2017. Review and Photographs by Alan Hewitt.
Phil Collins AND Mike & The Mechanics round three today as I was seeing both artists for the third time this year at this event. It was strange thinking about seeing Phil in particular at an open air gig as the last time I had done so was in Berlin in 1990. Anyway, enough of the reminiscences, on with the review as they say!
|We were blessed with a glorious day of sunshine which in itself was unusual. The usual equation of Genesis member + open air gig usually equals rain (remember Milton Keynes 1982 and Knebworth 1990 anyone?) but not today, and so after meeting up with a few friends for a pre- gig lemonade it was off to Hyde Park. The line up for this show was eclectic to say the least, Starsailor, Chas & Dave, KC and the Sunshine Band and The New Power Generation (the late Prince’s backing band) to name but a few. We arrived in plenty of time to discover that our tickets which we picked up from the box office, granted us access to the guest area and so, to our amazement and delight we were able to shuttle back and forth between the VIP guest area and the best area of the arena with none of the usual hassle for queuing for food and drink and more importantly toilets… but more of the benefits of this later folks…|
|Relaxing in our surroundings we took in a couple of the other acts at the side stages including a brief look at Chas & Dave who haven’t changed a bit (you be the judges on whether that is a good thing or not, folks), before making our way front and centre in time for the Mechanics to take the stage. It was weird seeing the band in broad daylight but hey, it didn’t matter in the slightest as for the next hour or so they treated the crowd to a set replete with classic mechanics songs and helpings from the new album, Let Me Fly a backdrop featuring the album cover was their backdrop. I have to say, the Mechanics really did put on a show, from their opener Another Cup Of Coffee they didn’t put a foot wrong. Depping drummer Ben Stone was as rock solid as the chap he was replacing (young Mr Wallis is currently on tour with Mr Tom Jones I believe). Mike looked relaxed and happy in a pale cream suit and there was evidently much humour going on if the amount of smiles and laughter throughout the set was anything to go by.|
|Strangely enough, with a new album to promote, the band opted to only play two songs from it, The Best is Yet To Come which saw Tim Howar in fine form belting out this new classic and looking as if he was having a high old time. The album’s more restrained title track was performed with equal gusto by Andrew Roachford who never fails to impress, one of the best voices in the business without a shadow of a doubt. The rest of the set proved that even in a festival crowd like this the Mechanics had the power to not only please their own fans but also make new ones as gasps of recognition as The Living Years (during which the band were joined by members of a gospel choir for a truly emotional performance) and Over My Shoulder were commonplace near where we were standing. By the time the band got to their final song… All I Need Is A Miracle, that was the one thing the band did not in fact need. They had won over the crowd and done themselves (and us) proud.|
|We then retired to the tranquillity of the guest area for a bite to eat and a drink, but some of our group opted to go back out again to take in the performance by Blondie who was the last act on before Phil. Having seen Ms Harry on numerous occasions during the Seventies and Eighties, I opted to stay where I was and it was a good decision on my part as not long afterwards, a familiar face emerged from the backstage area. None other than Mr Andrew Roachford, who smiled in recognition and a photo opportunity duly beckoned. Not long after that, two more familiar faces appeared… Mr and Mrs Rutherford and once again, a nod of recognition was followed by… yes another photo!|
When our cohorts returned to the guest area they were a bit disappointed that they hadn’t bided their time but still enjoying themselves. We then wandered back into the arena for the main event…Phil Collins. Having seen two of the indoor gigs earlier in June I was still intrigued not only to how well Phil was bearing up following his recent accident but also how well he would go down at such an open air event.
I needn’t have worried. The cheer as Phil limped on stage was as full throated as it was sincere and Phil looked genuinely surprised and pleased as he took his seat stage centre and the show got under way, not as I expected with Against All Odds but with Another Day In Paradise. It was obvious that concessions had been made to the different make up of the audience at this event and also to the fact that there was a strict curfew in place too.
|Not that any of the mattered, the music was the thing and here we had it in spades. Hit after hit followed in the ninety or so minutes that Phil and his remarkable band were on stage. Once again, the surprise of the show was young Mr Nicholas Collins who did not put a foot wrong in his delivery of his dad’s most famous paradiddles. Nor were the rest of the band too shabby either, in fact they were absolutely fantastic throughout. Daryl Stuermer’s guitar riff during In The Air Tonight still sends shivers up and down my spine after all these years and the charming duet with Phil and Bridgette Bryant during Separate Lives was a joy to behold and the onstage antics between Phil, Bridgette and Arnold Mc Culler during Easy Lover were hilarious.|
Visually too, the show was impressive with various projections accompanying the songs, the most poignant being a series of images of Phil with his “other band” Genesis during a lovely acoustic rendition of Follow You Follow Me, a tear was shed during this I can assure you. Speaking of tears, once again, Dance Into The Light hit the spot and got the old waterworks going but they were tears of joy not sadness.
Eventually the show was concluded with what else but an extended Sussudio complete with streamers and confetti … this was a party ya know! And of course, Take Me Home which had the entire park singing the refrain and had Phil beaming from ear to ear an evidently very happy man and he had every right to be as against all odds (pun intended) he had pulled off these gigs, silenced the nay sayers and given his fans one more night of magic which we shall never forget.
|And that was it, time really DOES fly when you are having fun and this was probably the best day out at a festival I have ever had and that is saying something folks. So it only remains for me to say a few thank you’s. First of all, to Phil and his incredible band of musicians for making these gigs happen. It has taken a lot of hard work to get this far but the results have been well worth it as anyone who saw these gigs will tell you. To all the other bands and artists who kept us royally entertained for the day. To Jo Greenwood without whom none of this would have been possible. And finally, to my partners on crime who made a great day just that little bit more special, so take a bow… Kevin and Paula Fearn, Gerald Collins, Steve and Wendy Williams, The Hage family, Paul and Tiffany Gibbon and last, but by no means least, Mrs Kate Green, the hostess with the mostest for her hospitality.|
Mike & The Mechanics Hyde Park set list: Another Cup Of Coffee/Get Up/Silent Running/The Best is Yet To Come/Let Me Fly/A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold/The Living Years/Over My Shoulder/All I Need Is A Miracle.
Phil Collins Hyde Park set list: Another Day In Paradise/Something Happened On The Way To Heaven/Wake Up Call/Follow You Follow Me/I Missed Again/Hang In Long Enough/Separate Lives/In The Air Tonight/You Can’t Hurry Love/Dance Into The Light/Easy Lover/Sussudio/Take Me Home.