A complete sell-out this gig brought both Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins together in an unlikely reunion of talents. It must have been weird for Phil and indeed for Mike to be performing together and yet separately but it made for an interesting and enjoyable spectacle for the fans.
The Mechanics opened the evening's proceedings and opened the set with Falling from the new album which certainly sounded better live than it did on the album. This was followed by Now That You've Gone from the M6 album, an excellent track and a great performance to boot. This was in turn followed by a glorious performance of Silent Running which simply gets better.
If I Were You brought the new album into focus again and it has to be said; the new stuff comes over better in the live context than it has done on the album. The showcase for the new album continued with One Left Standing which has a funkified feel to it which would certainly have done better if the band were playing in theatres instead of massive arenas like this one where its appeal was lost somewhat.
The Living Years…a classic which has lost nothing over the years and is as timeless and beautiful now as it was back in 1989… excellent stuff! Over My Shoulder continued the emphasis on mechanical excellence before the rabble rousing of Word Of Mouth closed the set in suitably up beat style although I had to admit to missing Paul Young on this one.
All in all, an excellent performance from a band which practically everyone had written off after the death of Paul Young. This show proved that The Mechanics still had a tiger in the tank and it was great to see them in full throttle!
There was a short interval for the road crew to shift gear around and for the audience to get a beer or two before the familiar intro music announced the impending arrival of Phil on stage for this highly anticipated show on his farewell tour. Phil and the band emerged onstage to cheers and Phil Chester and Luis Conte launched into an extended drum trio which included the familiar drum patterns of both Los Endos and Timbantiocha before the rest of the band hurtled into Something Happened On The Way To Heaven to get this party started in fine style.
This was followed by a slick performance of Against All Odds, every bit as good as on previous tours slowing down the pace for a few moments before the tempo was stepped up again with Don't Lose My Number getting the audience stamping and shouting. A consummate showman, as ever Phil played with the audience never letting us "peak too early" slowing things down again with a wonderful rendition of You'll Be In My Heart and One More Night.
Phil's last solo album; Testify was represented by Can't Stop Loving You leading into a supercharged version of Hang In Long Enough bringing the crowd to fever pitch again before calming us down with a superb harmonised version of True Colours and the deeply personal Come With Me one of Phil's wonderfully sentimental ballads.
A Groovy Kind Of Love almost got off to a false start but no such problems and the track was delivered with flair. Phil's voice was holding up well despite the reports of him struggling with several songs - there was no evidence of it here! It was wonderful to see I Missed Again back in the set, accompanied by the tacky video projected on the backstage screens… another great performance - no misses here, guys!
Another Day In Paradise began with yet another different extended intro but was easily recognised. Another superb song performed perfectly by the band and given added meaning by the projection of homeless statistics on to the video screens… "just think about it" indeed!
No Way Out was another poignant song with simple accompaniment proving that Phil's sensibilities are as sharp as ever. Separate Lives was another highlight with superb vocal performances from Amy Keys and Arnold McCuller augmenting Phil in a delightful trio.
The extended introduction to In The Air Tonight almost lulled us into a false sense of security but once the now familiar drum into and Daryl's awesome guitar chords ripped through the air we were transported into the dark world of this wonderful track which simply gets better every time. The dark was followed by the light as Dance Into The Light signalled that the party had really begin. A greatly underrated track this and one which always shines when played live.
You Can't Hurry Love continued the party atmosphere… proving that this was indeed a celebration of Phil's music and the crowd were definitely in the mood to PARTY! Two Hearts kept everyone on their feet and dancing and the infectious jangly intro to Wear My Hat kept the up beat atmosphere going with the hilarious onstage antics of Phil and the band as corny and cliched as ever but still funny.
Easy Lover and Sussudio kept everyone on their feet singing and dancing before Phil calmed the proceedings down with a melancholy performance of It's Not Too Late which gave everyone a welcome break before the home strait was reached with the thunderous drum introduction to Take Me Home signalled the end of the gig and there really is no other way to close a Collins show. The crowd cheered, sang, and danced themselves into a frenzy and the party could have lasted all night.
Sadly, that was it and Phil's "farewell" to Amsterdam was over. An
emotional night for both the band and fans but one which everyone will treasure
for years to come!