Phil Collins In Concert At The Infinte Energy Arena, Duluth, GA USA 28th September 2019. Review and photographs by Danial Albert.
Phil embarked on a bit of an unexpected solo tour during the summer of 2017. The tour saw Phil hitting many locations across the globe by there weren’t any gigs near me.. I waited and wondered if he would be coming to my neck of the woods and, lucky me; earlier this year it was announced that Phil would be coming to Duluth, Georgia which is outside of Georgia. I had been wanting to see Phil since 2006. Thirteen years is a long time to wait and so I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity so I got two tickets for the show.
The thing was, at this point I needed to find someone to go to the gig with me. I didn’t want to alone so I contacted a friend of mine who also loved Phil and I asked him over the summer if he would be interested in going with me to the show. He said he had some off time coming up around then and he would be very interested in the offer considering it was a bit of a once in a lifetime kind of thing, as I liked to describe it. Well, time passed and summer rolled into autumn and my friend completely disappeared… not a word! So, what did I end up doing? Going alone? Sell the ticket? No, I asked my mum..yet again. She had gone with me to see Steve Hackett back in April 2017 in Atlanta and I knew she liked Phil although she was more into Phil’s well known hits. Well, either way, I figured Phil would probably be playing those anyway, so she would enjoy the gig.
The day of the concert finally arrived and mum and I took off around lunch time to make the concert that evening. We arrived after a bit of a hectic drive through the Interstates surrounding the area and found a spot not too far from the arena to park. Once we made the five or so minute walk to the entrance, we lined up to enter. On the outside waiting in the line I can recall seeing a young boy who must have been about nine or ten wearing a Phil shirt. I was actually wearing mine too, a vintage 1982 Phil solo tour T shirt. The boy looks at me and says: “ Hey, I like your shirt!” I smile and thank him and think he must have some pretty cool parents. Another interesting exchange was between me and a couple who were in their fifties I suppose. The woman sees my shirt and says “You weren’t even alive in ‘82!” I reply: “Nope, I wasn’t born until six years later” Anyway, we finally got inside and there were hundreds of people lined up at the merch table. The thought to line up in it as well crossed my mind a moment and then I immediately dismissed it. I decided if there was anything left afterwards I’ll go check it out then.
We found our seats after a few minutes and then sat down to take in the view. I had never been to such a large arena before. Most of the concerts I have attended have been in more intimate venues such as small theatres. We snapped a few photos and video before the concert began and after about an hour or so things got under way. The lights were turned down low and the spotlight shone upon the side of the stage … moments later Phil came slowly walking out. Finally seeing Phil in the flesh albeit kind of small from my seat, was quite amazing. After watching him for so many years upon the television screen, it was amazing to see him with my own two eyes.
The gig started up with Phil speaking briefly to the audience and giving everyone a laugh. Good ol’ Phil’s still got it! Always the funny man. The show kicked off and and I sat back and enjoyed the ride. I was quite surprised though when a brief set of Genesis tracks appeared in the set accompanied by a brilliant compilation video of various Genesis moments from the music videos and live performances over the years. It made me happy to see all the guys there. That will probably be the closest I will ever get to seeing Genesis live now… besides Steve’s amazing set I saw almost four years ago now!
Well, Phil put on a hell of a show I must say. I was sad to see it end but I knew once Take Me Home began that the show was almost over. After the gig I recall my mum and I watching everyone clear out of the arena. We were in no hurry to leave as more than 10,000 people were going to be piling out of there. In the meantime, I decided to hit up the merch table and,lo and behold, they still had quite a few items. I found myself a lovely t shirt from the current tour and then we made our way back to the car. A lot of people were still leaving so we ended up taking a nap out there for about an hour and then made the three hour drive back home. I don’t know if I will get the chance to see Phil again but I can happily say now that I have finally seen Phil live!!