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A tepid tribute welcome
The real Phil Collins
The real Phil Collins performs...
Last updated: 18 February 2005 1454 GMT
line BBC Gloucestershire reviewer Ian Randall went along to the Town Hall in Cheltenham to see Both Sides of Phil Collins...

(February 2005)
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Both Sides of Phil Collins

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In common with their name, the Easy Lover Band, who delivered Both Sides of Phil Collins in tribute format on Wednesday, truly saw both sides of what being live performers is like.

Barely a third full

quote It takes guts to deliver a good show in those circumstances.quote
Ian Randall

Surely nothing can be worse than to see a venue barely a third full. It takes guts to deliver a good show in those circumstances, and Terry Clarke along with his band gritted their teeth and tried to get a thin audience fully involved. Until the encore, it didn't quite hit the right buttons.

I came to the gig having been spoilt in the past. I'd seen Phil Collins and Genesis live, and both were simply excellent. Seeing other tribute bands without viewing the originals first may have coloured my judgement on them. This wasn't quite the same.

A bit ambitious

The evidence however must be put in context. Their website indicates this is their first tour, and this was only their fourth date. There were a handful of pre-tour gigs, and several months of rehearsals, but that's all.

Perhaps Cheltenham Town Hall was a bit ambitious. The band, although there were six of them in all, looked a bit lost on the stage, the mixing was modest, and the light show as based on the Town Hall's own facilities.

I also wasn't sure about the Genesis and Phil mix. Clearly the band has been a huge part of his career, but with seven tunes out of 20 being theirs, some people who were fans of one but not both may have stayed away. The tilt of the set was modern, as there was no really old Genesis material.

Let's be fair

But fair's fair, here are a group of people trying to make an idea work and there's no reason why it shouldn't. All the band can play, and the drum duet with between Clarke and Jonathan Webster proved the Collins act went beyond the image and the voice.

Clarke's spoken tone could easily have been Collins, and the voice was close enough, given the odd arrangement change and octave drop here and there. Justine Clark (no relation) provided the harmonies.

Evolving?

quote I'd like to see the band at the end of tour.quote
Ian Randall

I'd like to see the band at the end of tour, when they've thought about how it went. The show may evolve as they go.

In short, the packaging can make the experience. A smaller stage in a smaller venue, with a less empty feel to it would encourage more audience participation and perhaps tighten some of the movement on stage. I'm no choreographer, but it seemed a bit loose at times. The raw material is there. The Bacon Theatre at Dean Close School or the Roses at Tewkesbury may be the venue to get the best out of it.

Review by Ian Randall

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This article is user-generated content (i.e. external contribution) expressing a personal opinion, not the views
of BBC Gloucestershire.

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