Music is not just about melody, tone, beat, and rhythm. It’s someone’s story, source of hope, an instrument for celebration, and for some – it’s their one and only legacy.
Music and its genres have gone a long way, some might be new to your ears, while some were already tattooed in our hearts and minds decades ago.
Music is not what it is now without our beloved rock icons.
And whenever we talk about music icons, we must never forget the name, Phil Collins.
Not only has the English drummer singer-songwriter been widely successful, but he’s also a true staple in anyone’s musical diet—with classic hits that we come back to time and time again.
Collins most notably performed in the band Genesis and also entertains a widely popular solo career. There are some who even revere him as the “Godfather” of popular culture. This multi-talented man had a vision, and there’s no denying his widespread influence, forever etching himself in music history.
With all the songs out there, choosing your favorite is like looking for a needle in a haystack. However, “In The Air Tonight” remains a classic hit – up to this day.
It’s made quite an international success, it’s probably one of Collins’ most popular and most loved songs.
With haunting lyrics, an ambient atmosphere, and a highly-memorable drum solo, Collins created a world of his own. The song was released as the lead single off of Collins’ 1981 debut solo album Face Value. It went on to become one of his best-known hits, and perhaps even his signature song.
Musically, the drums have been referenced as some of the sleekest and most melodramatic in history. Undoubtedly, Collins created the template for all eighties drums to follow.
Hearing the studio version of the song is already haunting, but to hear it live is another kind of experience.
This live performance of the song in Paris is absolutely better than the original!
That’s no surprise at all, wouldn’t you agree? Seeing an artist perform live can give anyone the chills that are beyond the amusement of hearing it from the speakers.
The live performance was called “Finally…The First Farewell Tour”, it’s filmed and released on DVD as a full concert.
This song appears as the very first song on the second disc, and it does not delay in making a memorable entrance. As he readies himself for a moody blue stage, electronic synth-pop sounds work to generate a true vibe.
Just by hearing the familiar beats of the song, the audience immediately roars up with their loud cheers and applause.
The sight of Collins entering the stage is just absolutely incredible to the eyes.
With his headset on, Collins hypes up the entire venue, then he goes belting out the famous lyrics of the song.
As he moves into the first chorus, the audience receives him in revelry, clapping in unison. He reminds us of the ever-moody and dramatic monologue we’ve all come to know and love:
“Well if you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand
I’ve seen your face before, my friend, but I don’t know if you know who I am
Well I was there and I saw what you did
I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that grin
I know where you’ve been
It’s all been a pack of lies.”
Following the song’s fame were speculations about the true meaning of this early 80s classic hit.
Tales and urban myths claimed that the song has a dark backstory.
Many have gone on to claim that a young Collins once watched as a man drowned another man, but he was too far away to help. While the theme may present itself as somewhat macabre, Collins has gone on to debunk any myths surrounding it.
In a BBC World interview he claimed:
“I don’t know what this song is about. When I was writing this I was going through a divorce. And the only thing I can say about it is that it’s obviously in anger. It’s the angry side, or the bitter side of a separation. So what makes it even more comical is when I hear these stories which started many years ago, particularly in America, of someone come up to me and say, “Did you really see someone drowning?” I said, “No, wrong.” And then every time I go back to America the story gets Chinese whispers, it gets more and more elaborate. It’s so frustrating, ’cause this is one song out of all the songs probably that I’ve ever written that I really don’t know what it’s about, you know.”
There’s one thing we’re sure of, this live performance of Collins’ is something to behold.
And wouldn’t you agree if we say that it’s better than the original?
Concerts are just one of the many things that we miss, but once this pandemic ends, we can all go back to normal and see stunning live performances like this. And we hope to see more of the classics, performances that will remind us all of the timeless classic hit songs.
Watch Collins’ live performance in the video below and be ready to be amazed.
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