Why this tense performance of 'In the Air Tonight' by Phil Collins is SO GOOD

27 January 2021, 11:39

By Tom Eames

Sometimes you can't help but step back and applaud a musician being completely amazing at their craft, and this is Phil Collins at his utter best.

During his 2003 jaunt Finally... The First Farewell Tour, Phil Collins pulled out all the stops for his moody classic 'In the Air Tonight'.

Read more: The Story of... 'In the Air Tonight'

Not only does he look like a badass in his dark attire, but it's the way in which he slowly walks around the stage, just as the iconic drum break is about to kick in.

You can't help but think 'how is he going to make it over to the drums in time?'. But he does, then all hell breaks loose.

Watch the performance below, with the incredible moment at 5 minutes 23 seconds:

Phil Collins wrote the song during the grief he felt after divorcing his first wife Andrea Bertorelli in 1980. The divorce contributed to his 1979 hiatus from Genesis, until the band regrouped in October of that year to record the album Duke.

All of the original songs on the Face Value album, including follow-up hit 'I Missed Again', were intended to be "messages" to his first wife, in an attempt to lure her back to him.

Read more: The 10 greatest Phil Collins songs ever, ranked

The song spawned an urban legend about what it was actually about. The story goes that Phil watched as a man who once attacked his wife drowned. Another version was that Phil wrote the song about a man who watched another man drown, and sang it to him at a concert.

Phil Collins - In the Air Tonight
Phil Collins - In the Air Tonight. Picture: Rhino/YouTube

Yet another version claims that when Phil was a young boy, he witnessed a man drowning someone but was too far away to help.

QUIZ: How well do you know the lyrics to 'In the Air Tonight' by Phil Collins?

Later, he hired a private detective to find the man, sent him a free ticket to his concert, and premiered the song that night with the spotlight on the man the whole time.

Of course, none of these stories are true. We assume.

Phil is currently working on his upcoming reunion tour with Genesis, which is scheduled to occur later in 2021.