Phil Collins told fans on Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London that after an amazing music career spanning 55 years he “needs to find a real job”.
Image: Bav Media)
Phil Collins has given his very last concert after a long health struggle.
The 71-year-old music legend, who can no longer hold a drumstick following back surgery, performed with Genesis at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night.
He said goodbye to his fans and told the crowd that now he needs to get a real job.
The group – which includes Phil as well as keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford – reunited for their The Last Domino? tour but had to cancel a number of shows last year due to Covid.
Looking frail throughout the tour, Phil sat in a chair as he performed with the group on their first live dates in 14 years.
His nerve damage has prevented him from playing the drums, while he also has to walk with a cane.
He recently explained how the show was changed as he now had to sit down.
He said The guard : “I don’t do anything at all. I don’t practice singing at home, not at all. Practice is practice.
“These guys are always trying to do it to me, but I have to do it this way.”
“Obviously my health changes things, doing the show sitting down changes things,” he added, explaining how he didn’t feel like he had to sit down to “get in the way” of the show.
“But I’ve actually found on my recent solo tours that it didn’t get in the way; the audience was still listening and reacting. It’s not how I would have written it, but it is what it is.”
The Genesis legend’s health has been declining for 15 years.
He sustained an injured vertebra in the upper neck which resulted in debilitating nerve damage and is also battling acute pancreatitis.
In a message published on the Genesis website, Phil explained, “Somehow I dislocated some vertebrae in my upper neck during the last Genesis tour and it affected my hands.
“After a successful operation on my neck, my hands still cannot function normally. Maybe that will change in a year or so, but right now it’s impossible for me to play the drums or the piano.”
Phil insisted he wasn’t “worried” about his prognosis and retired to Switzerland to spend time with his third and now ex-wife Orianne Cevey and their young sons Nick and Matt.
But that time would become one of his darkest after his marriage collapsed and Orianne and the kids moved to Miami.
Never a big drinker, Phil said what started out as a relaxing drink while watching TV soon turned into a near-fatal bottle fight.
“Within months you’re drinking vodka out of the fridge in the morning and falling down in front of the kids, you know,” he admitted during a 2016 press conference.
“But it was something I lived through and I was fortunate to be able to go through it and get through it. I was very close to death.”
The harrowing situation came to a head in 2012 when he was admitted to a Swiss hospital with acute pancreatitis.
He realized he was only hours from death when he heard the doctor ask his family if his will was in order.
“My organs were kind of broken. It was alcohol, caustic stuff,” he later admitted.
In 2013, doctors told him his pancreas was showing signs of permanent damage and he stopped drinking for three years.
Today he is not so strict. “I haven’t had a drink the whole time, but now I’m perfectly capable of having two or three glasses of wine, saying goodnight and walking away,” he previously told The Mirror.
Happy and healthy and briefly reunited with Orianne, he changed his mind about retirement in 2016, revealing plans for five nights at London’s Royal Albert Hall and dates in Cologne and Paris.
By this time he was walking with a stick and admitted he couldn’t drum – although he hoped to at least be able to do the famous introduction to In The Air Tonight.
Surgery to fix his spine had caused nerve damage in his foot, meaning he couldn’t stand much longer.
“I have eight screws in my back but my foot was numb,” he told The Mirror, explaining how his bad drumming position caused his injuries.
Instead, his then 15-year-old son Nicholas took over the drumming.
And in a nod to his poor health, he dubbed the tour Not Dead Yet, Live.
Unfortunately he had to cancel two of the London shows after a bad fall in his hotel room.
“Phil suffers from flat feet due to back surgery, which makes it difficult to walk,” read a statement on his Facebook page.
“He got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, slipped in his hotel room and hit his head on a chair as he fell.
“He was taken to hospital where he had stitches for a serious laceration to his head near his eye and is recovering well. He will be under surveillance for 24 hours.”
However, a defiant Phil has since continued his career, although he recently faced further turmoil after his marriage to Orianne collapsed and she became attached to another man.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/phil-collins-bids-farewell-fans-26566381 Phil Collins bids farewell to fans as he performs his final show amid a health battle