They lined up outside the gates of the PPG Paints Arena on Monday night, some of them appearing to be heading for a wake. The pre-concert party normally associated with a performance by a top rock band was quite tame.
These loyal Genesis fans had seen footage from previous stops on the tour. They hardened themselves for the appearance of the emaciated singer Phil Collins, unable to walk without a cane, playing from an armchair, unable to play the fabulous drums which had earned him a place in the future successful group. in 1970.
But what if they were there to pity him as Genesis made a pittsburgh stop on their “Last Domino?” Tour, ”Collins didn’t care. After all, “He’s Not Dead Yet,” as the title of the solo tour that brought him to Steel City in 2019 suggests.
With his self-deprecating spirit as keen as ever and the strength to sing 23 songs, including favorites like “Follow You Follow Me”, “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” and “Invisible Touch”, Collins gave the crowd almost many what they came to hear.
And they loved him for it.
Granted, Collins’ vocals no longer have the same strength and smoothness that made for such a smooth transition when Peter Gabriel left the band in 1975, and took over as lead vocalist. Yet surrounded by a strong supporting cast, including Genesis co-founder / guitarist-songwriter Mike Rutherford and co-founder / keyboardist-songwriter Tony Banks, as well as American Daryl Stuermer at the guitar and Collins’s son Nic on drums he was able to make it work.
Genesis performs “Land of Confusion” at PPG Paints Arena. pic.twitter.com/BeJlzdLc7O
– Paul Guggenheimer (@PGuggenheimer) December 14, 2021
While Collins seemed at ease, working in a little tambourine and even a bit of air percussion, it certainly didn’t sound, or sounded, easy.
His health problems have taken their toll. They started when he dislocated a vertebra in his upper back during a performance in 2009. The surgery that followed only made matters worse and caused crippling nerve damage in his hands. which made him unable to hold a wand.
For the first songs, “Behind The Lines / Dukes End”, “Turn It On Again” and “Mama”, it was obvious that Collins sounded different. The voice – devoid of the power and pitch it once had – sounded weak and a little offbeat.
It got better as Collins warmed up and by the fourth song, “Land of Confusion”, he made the most of what he had in the tank with a touching rendition of the song that took off. reached No. 4 in the United States in 1986.
Collins introduced “Land of Confusion,” appropriately emphasizing that “It’s been ——- a few years, too, hasn’t it? “
As the evening wore on, Collins received a big boost from backing vocalists Patrick Smyth and Daniel Pearce, who helped complete the sound of the lyrics.
As he brought the core band members together for an acoustic version of “That’s it” Collins told the crowd “please join us, that can only make me sound better.”
He followed that up with a version of “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” that probably would have made Peter Gabriel stand up and clap.
A few songs later came a powerful version of “No Son of Mine”, in which Collins emotionally and attitude made up for what he lacked in being on the sidelines.
During “Throwing It All Away” there were touching video screen images of Genesis members from their progressive rock heyday who produced songs like “Ripples”, “Squonk”, “Eleventh Earl of Mar” and ” Your Own Special Way, “the group’s first single in the US Unfortunately, these songs and others from the classic albums” A Trick of the Tail “and” Wind and Wuthering “were omitted from the playlist, although ‘they were the source of more than a few baby boomers behind their sound. .
“Pittsburgh is your show,” Collins said. And he rewarded his audience at the end of the two hour and 10 minute concert with a grand finale inspired by “The Carpet Crawlers” to end the encore, encouraging the audience to sing a chorus out loud. It was a perfect time to end as the audience poured out their emotions.
A sick man, forced to play from a chair, had given his fans all he could offer, and they returned home happy. Only time will tell if this is really “The Last Domino”.
Paul Guggenheimer is an editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected]