Collins, as you might recall, is a drummer and singer who once was part of a legendary prog-rock group. In recent years he has kept a low profile. Why? An August 17th piece in the New York Times catches up with Collins:
After decades as the drummer and post-Peter Gabriel lead singer for Genesis, as well as a commercially dominant solo run as the poster boy for pillowy ’80s pop excess, Mr. Collins retired as a not-quite-beloved rock elder in 2011. As with most musician goodbyes, the dormant period didn’t last. (Presciently, Mr. Collins had called his tour in support of the 2002 album “Testify,” his most recent release of original material, the “First Farewell Tour.”)
Since announcing his resurgence last year, Mr. Collins, 65, has performed at a handful of charity events, in addition to starting the process of reissuing eight of his solo albums.
The piece is a lead-up to an August 29th performance by Collins at the opening ceremony for the United States Open tennis tournament in Flushing, Queens. Collins explains that he’s been busy with family, recovering from “war wounds” including surgery on a bad back, which led to foot problems, which was then followed by some problems with his left hand. He’s also been working on a memoir, which appears to be quite open and honest about his failed marriages (three of them), drinking problems, depression, and such. Of his varied career, he says:
I think, with some critics, I became synonymous with an era of music that they didn’t like, and they were suspicious of all success, which is understandable. You end up painted into a corner that it’s impossible to get out of. I don’t lie awake and think about this, but I withdrew in 2005, and I think I was quite honest about why: I wanted to write myself out of the script.
When the reissued albums came out — which I was reluctant to do at first, until I found some way I could be proud of it — I thought, “This is exactly what I’d hoped for.” Of course, records sell differently now than when I was making them, so it wasn’t a question of cashing in. It was giving people a chance to re-evaluate this person that had become a whipping boy for the ’80s. I was so pleased that people were able to say, “I re-looked at this, and it’s better than I thought.”
All of which leads up to this video of Collins performing yesterday in NYC at one of my favorite sporting events, The U.S. Open (yes, tennis is a favorite sport; I own 68 rackets). The first song, “In the Air Tonight”, is very well done; note the drummer, who is Collins’ 15-year-old son, Nick. The second song, “Easy Lover”, is performed with Leslie Odom Jr. (“Hamilton”) and is utterly boring.