It’s not often when an artist who has achieved major success as a solo act as well as a frontman for a top-tier band plans a few dates in a somewhat intimate venue to perform Motown and soul classics. But that’s what Phil Collins has up his sleeve.
Collins’ upcoming album – Going Back – is described as a “deeply personal labor of love” where he performs the classic Motown and soul tunes that influenced his musical career. To help promote this noble quest, the Genesis frontman / incredibly successful solo artist has booked four nights at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom – June 22-25 – calling his intimate little residency “Up Close & Personal: Phil Collins Plays ‘60s Motown & Soul.”
Hmmm… We’re almost tempted to speculate that this could be the start of something bigger, such as a tour. But we don’t want to spread any rumors.
Oh, well, back to business. Joining Collins will be The Funk Brothers who also appeared on Going Back, and an 18-piece ensemble of musicians and vocalists. Along with all those bodies on stage, Collins will also be assisted by some of his long-time musical comrades, such as drummer Chester Thompson, guitarist Daryl Stuermer and keyboardist Brad Cole, plus percussionist Leslie Smith.
The shows will also replicate the “old school” music venues by making the gigs standing-room-only dance concerts.
Although Collins has covered soul classics, such as his 1982 version of the old Supremes hit “You Can’t Hurry Love,” the Going Back album and the Roseland gigs mark the first time he has devoted an entire project to songs written by others.
But fans of soul classics needn’t worry, for the artist never had any intention to Collinize the material which includes the Holland-Dozier-Holland composition “Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)” as well as songs written by Stevie Wonder and tunes made famous by groups such as Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and The Four Tops.
“My idea, though, was not to bring anything ‘new’ to these already great records, but to try to recreate the sounds and feelings that I had when I first heard them,” Collins said.
“My intention was to make an ‘old’ record, not a ‘new’ record. To be able to have three of the surviving Funk Brothers play on all the tracks was unbelievable. There was one moment when they were tracking ‘Heat Wave’ that I experienced a wave of happiness and wonder that this was actually happening to me! I learned more about production skills and the wonderful songwriting of those concerned whilst making this album, than I have from anything else. To those pioneers … much love and gratitude.”
Presented by Live Nation, tickets for the four Roseland Ballroom shows will first become available through a pre-sale for Citibank cardholders April 19 at 10:00 a.m. and will go on sale to the general public April 24 at 10 a.m. (all times EDT). For more information, please click here for Phil Collins’ official slice of the Atlantic Records Web site while his own piece of the 'Net undergoes a makeover.