>Phil Collins, circa 1989, riding on the back of the success of his smash-hit album …But Seriously. The London Astoria is rocking. Phil is taking the place apart with his voice. He hits the first “oh” in Another Day in Paradise, wishing to all hell David Crosby could’ve made it to sing backing vocals like he did on the album, but unfortunately David Crosby is too busy resurrecting his solo career with his album Oh Yes I Can, which he isn’t playing at that moment, rather he is sleeping in a hotel room in New Jersey, sleeping as his liver silently processes a day’s worth of drinking, the same liver that will be transplanted some 6 years later, giving him the power to keep living, artificially inseminate a child for Melissa Etheridge, and go on looking like the North Wind, with his big white hair blowing behind him.

But Phil powers on with Another Day in Paradise, his impassioned cry for better understanding of the homeless. He wishes he had put more synthesised drums in the track, a fact which he makes up for in this particular concert by stacking the back of the stage with hexagonal drum pads which he will later sit down behind during the encore and knock the fucking shit out of. But he’s the front man tonight, in a proper black muslin shirt and fisherman’s pants, way before people will start wearing this stuff for fun.

Phil likes being the front man. At every gig, he imagines Peter Gabriel sitting in the back row, shaking his head in awe of the superstar vocal powerhouse that is Phil Collins. That’s what you get for playing the flute, Phil thinks. Even if you knocked Invisible Touch off its US #1 perch two years ago with that muted guitar claptrap Sledgehammer. I’m the Artful Fucking Dodger, thinks Phil Collins. I’m Buster Fucking Edwards.

Phil Collins, singer, actor, voices of both Muk and Luk in 1995’s animated feature Balto, will win a Grammy with the song he’s singing now. He will win an Oscar in ten years time for You’ll Be in My Heart, an original track from Walt Disney’s Tarzan, a song that is so popular that it will be eventually be covered by Usher, Teddy Geiger and Corben Bleu.

As Phil finishes the song, he closes his eyes, wondering about the future. Can he see, somehow, if he looks hard enough, that one day Bone Thugs-N-Harmony will induct him as an honorary member under the moniker “Chrome Bone” after they collaborate on a cover of his song “Take Me Home” called “Home”? Only Phil knows, and he’s not telling. He’s singing himself into history.

Sing on, Phil Collins. Sing on.


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