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Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Casual Critic — Phil Collins' Finally . . . The First Farewell Tour

After back-to-back columns on the work of Hemingway and a first-time author, I figured I'd contrast my review of a singer I've never previously heard with a review of my favorite musician — Phil Collins. It also gives me an opportunity to compare an event I saw live and the DVD version. Besides, Finally . . . The First Farewell Tour may be my last chance to heap praise on Phil.

Covering most of his stand-bys, Collins certainly doesn't disappoint his fans with this DVD. The opening "Drums, Drums & more Drums" was no doubt a bit self-indulgent, and though it went over well live I'm pretty sure only his most avid fans would enjoy it on DVD.

Collins does a stirring a cappella version of his remake of "True Colours" with his backup singers. He weaves fan favorites such as "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven," "Against All Odds," and "One More Night," with new offerings like "Can't Stop Loving You" and, one of my favorites from the Testify CD, "Come With Me."

Seeing Collins sing "I Missed Again" from his debut solo album, Face Value, was a treat. But, being that this was his last tour, I definitely wanted more from the early albums. I was especially surprised by the lack of early songs since in the Philadelphia concert (that I saw) he threw in several, including the Genesis classic "Misunderstanding."

I expected a bit more out of the DVD extras, especially since I've generally enjoyed the humor Collins sprinkles throughout interviews, concerts, etc. Hope of a retrospective on his career seemed reasonable, but a fairly typical interview and an attempt to give the entire crew a minute of face time within a not-too-funny skit highlighted the extras.

Of course, the best part about the DVD is not having to deal with the constant flow of non-fans, I'm-just-here-for-a-night-out idiots that jogged past me every five seconds at the Wachovia Center to buy more food they didn't need in the first place. While fans like me hope this isn't the last we hear from Phil, Finally . . . The First Farewell Tour is something his fans should make a point to watch.

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