“No Jacket Required? I’ll Get My Coat!” - No Jacket Required in concert at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley on 11th January 2019. Review by Kenny Brown. Photos Courtesy of Trading Boundaries Live.
Jackets are required by the audience as it is a chilly night! TWR is represented here tonight by a “Kub Reporter” (yes, those really are my initials!) The Hawth is a small provincial theatre in Crawley with unrestricted views of the stage. Taking our seats I notice that the background music is excepts from instrumental sections of Genesis classics which gets everyone in the mood. The stage backdrop has the “No Jacket Required - The Phil Collins Tribute” logo.
The lights dim and the band quietly take the stage before launching into Something Happened On The Way To Heaven. Thankfully Dave Whitehouse doesn’t hobble onto the stage with a walking stick as Phil does nowadays! I am immediately struck by the overall sound of the band as the music fills the room with the brass section in particular featuring in this song . Dave dresses a bit like Phil and sounds a lot like him! We are then straight into Hang In Long Enough before Dave extends a warm welcome to everyone in this near sold out audience. He announces that this is the first show of 2019 and as it turns out the last for a while as the band are taking a break after tonight’s show.
The tempo slows down with Against All Odds which I always find difficult to listen to as for me personally it was a break-up song, Suddenly it is 1984 again and for the next few minutes very unpleasant memories. Ome More Night brings that beautiful saxophone solo and ends with lovely harmonies from the three backing singers. Genesis songs also feature this evening and Misunderstanding is next along with excerpts from the video on the backdrop. Due to the stage lighting, the screen isn’t too clear however this is not really a distraction. Having seen Genesis and Phil solo many times, I notice that Dave has adopted all the moves and mannerisms of Phil. The “honest guv, it wasn’t me!” stance with arms outstretched features a few times. You’ll Be in My Heart from the Disney Tarzan film is next along with accompanying video followed by A Groovy Kind Of Love from Buster.
Back to Genesis territory next for I Can’t Dance in which the brass section do “the dance” across the stage. The mood becomes sombre as Dave talks about the homeless charity “The Bridge Trust” that he supports, All the money collected from the sales of merchandise goes into the yellow collection buckets so please give generously, which leads us into Another Day In Paradise, a song which Phil used to champion his crusade for the homeless during his shows.
It’s audience participation time for Land Of Confusion as we are encouraged to sing the harmonies whilst being treated to the Spitting Image video in the background. I Know What I Like is part of the “Old Medley” from the most recent Genesis shows which also features excerpts from That’s All, Illegal Alien, Carpet Crawlers, Follow You Follow Me, Stagnation and Los Endos. Dave performs the tambourine tarantella along with the head to head routine with the bass player that Phil normally does with Mike Rutherford. For a moment I think I am watching the video from When In Rome.
During the interval I make my way over to the merchandise stall and pick up a programme. I seriously don’t need the mug or the t shirt although I woild recommend them to anyone who hasn’t got one. I habd over a note and tell them to keep the change and all the money goes in the bucket. I notice that in the programme Alan Hewitt’s book “Opening The Musical Box” is mentioned in the credits as a source of information.
Then we are treated to more Genesis instrumentals before the lights dim and the cover of Face Value appears on the bog screen. Kevin Stewart’s keyboard intro starts and the rasping guitar of Vic Chase to Phil’s signature tune. Dave enters from the back of the stage wearing a headset microphone however when he starts to sing the opening line of In The Air Tonight, it is immediately apparent that the headset mic isn’t working so he quickens his pace to centre stage using the regular mic. It’s a technical issue that draws a look to the sound desk. I am thinking ahead, how is he going to play the drums if the headset mic isn’t working? It is taken care of by “the world’s number one roadie” who has to kneel beside Dave and hold the mic while he plays the drums. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t ruin the show and the band laugh it off but behind the scenes I am sure Dave will be disappointed as it is his big moment .
I Missed Again is (appropriately on this occasion) next, followed by Turn it On Again in which Dave acts out the wandering hands routine. Everyone that can play some percussion gets involved in the Drum Duet before we are asked to get our sun glasses out for You Can’t Hurry Love which segues into Two Hearts which happens to be mine and my long time partner, Linda’s song. She bought me tickets for tonight’s show hoping I would take her along, and of course, she is here, by my side!
We are on the home straight now and small pockets if dancing break out on either side of the stage as the band go into Invisible Touch which involves bouncing in the middle of the instrumental section. Easy Lover and Sussudio round off the set and the band leave the stage but an enthusiastic audience shout “We want more!” whilst stamping their feet.
“I’ve spent more than half my adult life pretending to be someone else!” announces singer Dave Whitehouse. “It’s 21 years to this very night since I started doing this” which shows his dedication to his craft. “I thought we’d do something a bit different” is the introduction to Sledgehammer. Dave dons a leather jacket to assume the role of Peter Gabriel for this song and I tentatively hope for a rendition of The Lamb.. But it’s not Rael tonight. Take Me Home is the traditional closing song with band introductions. It turns out that this is saxophonist Bill McDonough’s last gig and he is made to stay until the very last before a heartfelt thanks from all of the returning band.
The preceding two hours (plus encores) are a genuine homage to Phil Collins, a singer who dominated the Eighties with hit after hit in his solo career along with massive albums and stadium tours with his other band, Genesis. As tribute bands go, this one is one of the best with a full band of seasoned musicians and backing singers to give a fully authentic rendition of the songs. If you get the chance (and you don’t have the money for the sometimes eye watering ticket prices for the real thing) go and see them. You won’t be disappointed.