With tongue in cheek, Phil Collins titled his current concert tour the First Final Farewell, but the former frontman for Genesis was serious Wednesday night about churning out a retrospective of his hits.
In recent interviews, Collins has said he plans to stop touring so he can spend more time with his wife, their three-year-old son and another child, due in November. The tour wraps up tonight in Fort Lauderdale.
"This is the last tour," Collins told 13,000 fans Wednesday at the St. Pete Times Forum. "We're going to have tonight a playful little romp through the last 25 years."
Much of the two-and-a-half hour set was devoted to tracks from Collins' latest release _ a two-disc compilation of greatest hits and cover tunes titled Love Songs, which hit stores Tuesday.
Collins showcased his balladeering chops with Against All Odds, One More Night, Groovy Kind of Love and Separate Lives. On True Colors, a cover of Cyndi Lauper's gem, he harmonized exquisitely with his six back-up singers.
But it wasn't all a love fest.
Dressed in loose-fitting black pants and a black shirt, Collins launched the concert with a nearly 10-minute drum solo, first by himself and then accompanied by another drummer and a percussionist. The tribal-style opener reminded long-time Collins fans of what might have been forgotten during his ubiquitous string of adult-contemporary radio staples in the '80s _ the guy was a drummer first, and he can really beat the skins.
The extended intro exploded into Heaven as the rest of Collins' 10-piece band, including a four-piece horn section and legendary bass player Leland Sklar, joined him on stage. Collins didn't get behind the drums again until the classic rhythmic break of In the Air Tonight, the hit from Collins' 1981 debut that jump-started his solo career.
He also delivered faithful renditions of Easy Lover, Sussudio, and Missed Again. The only number he pulled from the Genesis catalog was Misunderstanding, which he sang while an old Genesis video played behind him, proving he did once have a full head of hair. He finished the night with another drum solo and a chill-inducing Take Me Home.
Collins has always been kind of a cornball, and moments in the show bordered on goofy, most notably the choreographed moves of the horn section on Don't Lose My Number and a follow-the-leader routine with the back-up singers and horn players.
But as a performer he's slick and likable enough. And even though he's called the tour a farewell, odds are he'll be back.