Phil Collins Is Not Dead Yet

in SF Concert Reviews by

In fact, the man has plenty left in him. And for his legion of fans who showed up to the close-to-sold-out Chase Center last night for the second leg of his “Still Not Dead” tour, this was another chance to see the living legend in the flesh. It’s a tour that began two years ago and has solidified the 70s/80s icon into one of the all-time greats.

Coming on to the stage all dressed in black and leaning on a cane for support, the scene looked bleak at first. But things quickly began to look up the moment Collins began to sing.

Starting off with a touching version of “Against All Odds,” Collins sang it with passion and conviction. The song, a perfect choice for the opener considering all the hardships the singer has run into in recent years. First, there was the spinal cord injury that’s kept the singer mainly chair bound. Then there was the divorce that led him down a booze-induced downward spiral. The years haven’t been easy on the 68-year-old and let’s face it, it shows. But all of that fell by the wayside when the music started to flow.

Phil Collins was full of life last night at the Chase Center in San Francisco

Although sitting for the majority of the time, nothing was missing as he traversed through his impressive discography one hit single at a time. His more upbeat numbers like “Don’t Lose My Number” and “Who Said I Would,” had fans of all ages out of their chairs dancing fervently, thanks in big part to the impressive band that he had brought along for the ride. The badass horn section especially deserves a shoutout. They would’ve given Kenny G a run for his money on his best night.

But the real star of the show had to be his son Nicholas Collins. Gracefully filling in for his father on drums (yet, sadly because pops can no longer play the instrument) he hit it out of the park. At just 18 years of age, the handsome young man was not only a hit with the older ladies, but he held a solid steady groove from start to finish all the while showcasing some impressive chops.

But the highlight for me had to the haunting interpretation of “In the Air Tonight.” The purple lights dimmed making way for the captivating guitar licks of Daryl Stuermer, a man who’s been playing with Collins since the Genesis days. The song slowly built momentum leading up to the iconic thunderous drum fill that this time around was perfectly executed by the young Nicolas.

The power that resulted from father and son performing together left me with chills. It was a historical moment and one that will be hard to forget. Whether or not Nicholas will achieve the same level of success as his father is still too early to tell. But one thing that’s for certain, the kid’s got the gene. That and the strong work ethic that he also inherited could easily lead him to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Photos by Louis Raphael

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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