"Take me home to the Scala" - Phil Collins in concert at The Scala Club, London, November 6, 2002. Review by Alan Hewitt.Yes, folks, I was one of the lucky ones who attended this gig! I was definitely curious about his performance after Phil's recent comments about not touring again I was definitely looking forward to this gig as it looks likely that live performances from Mr Collins will become increasingly rare. I arrived at the Scala mid afternoon, having apparently missed Phil's arrival by a few minutes but during the interminable wait to get in I did see most of the rest of the band, and I was surprised to see Phil's old bass player Leland Sklar, whom I hadn't seen since 1985! Most of the other usual suspect were there including Daryl, Chester and Brad... this was going to be a fun night!
Eventually we were allowed into the club and I managed to ensconce myself right down at the front, right behind my old friend Veronique who had made the trip from Canada specially for this show - see, I am not the only crazy fan around! Phil and the band emerged on stage to loud applause and Phil sat down at the piano and opened the set with 'that bloody song', "In The Air Tonight" in all its acoustic glory, which still managed to bring a shiver up the spine. This was followed by "Something Happened On The Way To Heaven" and by now the band were warming to their theme nicely. This was a celebration and everyone was determined to enjoy themselves. "Another Day In Paradise", in its stripped down acoustic version, still managed to send shivers up the spine.
The purpose of this gig was to promote Phil's new album, "Testify", and the first helping from it appeared next with "Can't Stop Loving You", the new single and another cover, this time of a Leo Sayer song and yet another example of Phil's pop sensibilities. This was followed by the only other new track in the evening's proceedings, "Driving Me Crazy", a fine up-tempo track which was once again well received by the crowd.
The classic "One More Night" and Phil's Oscar winning track "You'll Be In My Heart" were next and both of them benefited from the full band treatment. Andrew Woolfolk's saxophone on the former was achingly wonderful. We took a trip right back to Phil's first solo album again with a meaty rendition of "I Missed Again" with some sterling audience participation. The rest of the set drew on all of Phil's solo catalogue with the surprise inclusion of "I Can't Dance", complete with dance routine! Predictably maybe the show proper ended with "Take Me Home" but hey, what else could you end a Phil Collins show with?
The band were not long in returning for their obligatory encores but this time I was surprised to see the inclusion of two Motown classics, "My Girl" and "Get Ready" both of which were greeted by loud applause from the crowd. And then it was all over.. Where had the time gone?
The show was not the best that I have ever seen Phil and the band perform, and it has to be said that in places he was struggling to reach some of the notes, but that is only to be expected really. The new material sits well with the rest of the classic songs, although it lacks something of the conviction of preceding efforts. All in all an enjoyable evening and one which I am sure that everyone who attended enjoyed immensely. It was great to meet a few familiar faces as well as a few new ones too (hi Mark and Nick!). My thanks to Carol and Annie C for making it possible - next time I'll teach you how to dance, Annie!
The Setlist: In The Air Tonight / Something Happened On The way To Heaven / Another Day In Paradise / Can't Stop Loving You / Driving Me Crazy / One More Night / You'll Be In My Heart / I Missed Again / Against All Odds / Separate Lives / You Can't Hurry Love / Two Hearts / Easy Lover / Sussudio / I Can't Dance / Take Me Home / My Girl / Get Ready