“Drums On The Water” - Phil Collins’ - Live In Montreux DVD reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

Sorry for the Deep Purple reference in the review title but I had to think of something! With there being little prospect of any new material from Phil in the near future, fans will have to make do with this DVD from his final tour back in 2004-05. Interestingly enough, in addition to the footage from that tour, there is the added bonus of film from Phil’s Big Band Jazz show at Montreux back in 1996 so fans who didn’t catch either those shows or the subsequent ones in 1998 can get an idea of what they missed here.

With no massive light show on display the emphasis on both discs is definitely on the music and here we have a veritable feast of classics and in the case of the Big Band disc, even some material which will be brand new to Phil’s fans. The first disc brings us pretty much the same performance as had been recorded on Phil’s “Finally… The First Farewell Tour” DVD but even so it is wonderful to have the opportunity to a relaxed and happy Phil bringing his own brand of musical magic to an audience one more time. With a band that verges on a mini orchestra and featuring most of the stalwarts who have backed Phil’s live performances over the years, the performances are as slick and professional as you would expect. No surprises then, but one more chance to possibly relive a few personal memories which is very much what this tour was all about and as such this release will be a delight for fans.

For me though the added bonus has to be the second disc taking us back to the heady days of 1996 and Phil’s first foray into the world of Big Band music. Many fans (me included I hate to admit), thought that Phil had lost his good senses embarking on such a project. However, I at least was converted when some two years later I got the chance to see the Big Band in action and it was an amazing experience as anyone who was there will surely tell you.

Here therefore was a chance to play catch up with an edited version of the show from Montreux. With the emphasis being on Phil’s own songs and those from Genesis, it is obvious that some tracks are going to work better than others. Two Hearts and That’s All for instance, get things off to a surprisingly good start and even the likes of Invisible Touch has an unexpected swing to it. The instrumentals however are where the band really take off; West Side and Hand In hand are simply amazing here. The stage is graced by such alumni as Tony Bennett and Quincy Jones and the nods to their music such as Milestones and Do Nothing ‘Til You Hear From Me only go to prove that great music never dates and Phil is evidently in his element here too. All in all, a fantastic packaging of two classic shows and one which Phil’s fans will relish.

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