The promoter of Phil Collins’ UK comeback concerts has admitted he previously thought the pop icon’s touring days had been and gone.
Collins will return to the stage for the first time in a decade with a five-night residency at London’s Royal Albert Hall next June. Tickets sold out instantly on Friday morning.
Solo Agency MD John Giddings, who is promoter of the singer’s UK shows and agent for his European dates, said the 65-year-old had consistently rebuffed efforts to get him back on the road since his last tour in 2007.
“I thought it was all over,” Giddings told Music Week. “But I think getting back together with [his ex-wife] Oriane has made it happen and now his son Nicholas is playing drums at the age of 15 and he is a brilliant drummer. Kids want to see their parents performing, so those two things have prompted him, I think.”
The Singles, Collins’ latest compilation, went straight in at No.2 on Friday’s albums chart, selling 16,110 units. He also released his memoir, Not Dead Yet: The Autobiography, last week.
“All worlds have collided with the book and the re-release of the singles,” added Giddings. “It’s certainly not me persuading him [to return]. It’s the general public and people like Pharrell and Adele loving him because there was a moment where he was really uncool, but now he’s really cool again.”
Giddings, whose other clients include U2, Madonna, Little Mix and Pharrell Williams, believes Collins’ decade out of the limelight has enhanced his legend, noting: “One of the first things Pharrell ever said to me was, Do you represent Phil Collins? He was really impressed.”
The Royal Albert Hall was selected due to the Genesis frontman’s familiarity with the venue. “We’ve played there before, we like it and it’s intimate,” said Giddings. “Start small and build up.
“I’m hoping that what happens is we do these 15 shows, he really enjoys it and we start doing other things, but you can’t tempt fate. Let’s get through it and see how we get on - but I can tell you the demand is incredible.”
Collins has refused to rule out a Genesis reunion down the line, something Giddings, who promotes Isle Of Wight Festival, would be only too happy to see materialise.
“I’m there with the chequebook,” he laughed. “I know that [founder members] Mike [Rutherford] and Tony [Banks] would like to do it.
“The world wants Genesis, they want Pink Floyd, they want Led Zeppelin, and if there’s half a chance of it then I think it would be fantastic - never say never.”