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Tiverton Community Arts Theatre

And Finally ... Phil Collins

And Finally... Phil Collins Tribute ‘preview show’

Tiverton Community Arts Theatre, Sat 25th Feb 2018.

 

This was billed as the ‘warm up show’ for AFPC’s forthcoming tour, first time

out with their new vocalist, or ‘the new Phil’, Chris O’Connell. Tim Harper,

veteran drummer and band leader warned us beforehand there might be

some points when the wheels came off. Well, all I can say is, if this was the

‘warm up’, then audiences are in for a whole lot of heat! Whilst there may

have been a hint of quite understandable nerves from all members of the

Band in the first half of the show, they tore the roof off with the second half

like a band who’ve been playing together for decades!

 

Tiverton generally provides somewhat stoic audiences, who only rarely show

much emotion, but they were hollering and cheering, dancing and joining in

with the best of them by the end of the show. Chris O’Connell provided an

amazing performance as a vocally authentic Phil, filling some big shoes quite

comfortably, even if it may take a while for him to get accustomed to gliding

effortlessly behind the drums when required.

 

Tim Harper’s drumming was as incredible as ever, providing along with James

Higginson a tub-thumping rhythm section, the engine which is the true

powerhouse of any great band. Marco Fresi’s ringing guitar tones and

wonderful solos alongside Kev Armstrong’s wonderful Keyboards added the

necessary shine. The icing on the cake provided by an amazing selection of

brass, with the effervescent Tom Lark on Trombone, the swinging Sam

Adams on Sax and trusty Michael Maddocks on Trumpet. Backing vocalist

Eddie Harper provided some great colour to the vocals particularly in the

duets.

 

Altogether this is the reforging of a great package and I’ve no doubt they will

continue to be a huge hit with audiences up and down the country and

beyond. The band gave much thanks to TCAT’s own Mandy Slevin for taking

on managing them and all her hard work has certainly paid off all round – no

surprises to those of us that know her already! The buzz their performance

created lasted for several days, and I’m still singing several numbers days

later. A wonderful band at an always amazing venue.

 

Steve Bush on behalf of TCR radio Mid-Devon

The popular ‘And Finally ...Phil Collins’ tribute band are back in Tiverton

for a preview show to herald their forthcoming British tour.

 

Word is that the band have a new singer. Step forward Chris O’Connell for his first performance with this group of fine musicians. Well you could be mistaken for believing that he has been with the band for many a show. He was that good.... close your eyes and it could have been Phil.

Opening with the lively ‘Don’t lose my number’ and ‘Hang in long enough’ the band, with it’s lively brass section were up and running. Chris advised that there would be a few rough edges during the set. Well a measured rendition of ‘Against all odds’ was followed by a very fine ‘I missed again’ (Mr O’Connell excelling on this one) seemed to dispel any doubts. His vocal style on the night moved effortlessly from upbeat songs to the more considered ballads. Yes there were a few hiccups with Chris checking from time to time to see where on the stage he should be and there was a bit of false start to one song. But hey this is a live show. Having said that there were no such problems as the first half ended with a superb ‘Another day in paradise’ and a stirring ‘I wish it would rain down’.

During the break I’m thinking are the band going rock out a bit and get this appreciative audience dancing in the aisles? I was not to be disappointed. ‘In the air tonight’ was brilliant, lit up with some great percussion and a stirring guitar solo. ‘Dance into the light’ from the 1996 album of the same name was epic.

An interesting ballad pairing was the forerunner to a trilogy of upbeat classics, ‘Can’t hurry love’ sequenced into ‘Two hearts’ and ‘Easy lover’ (clearly a fans favourite) with another cool guitar delivery swiftly followed giving the more animated members of the crowd the chance to test their dance skills. This is now seriously good.

A visibly moved Chris O’Connell was clearly enjoying himself as he addressed the audience before taking a seat behind the second drum kit for a bit of a bash before the band launched into the anthem that is ‘Take me home’, no waving lighters on show tonight but a popular set closer. Thank you Tiverton!

There was a nod to mid 80’s Genesis as ‘Invisible touch’ got the encore off and running, the large crowd were on their feet at the band’s request as ‘Sussudio’ brought matters to an riotous close. Cue loud applause. The band looked chuffed to bits, with good reason. A fine show. Oh and Chris .... you did great.

 

Keith Laity