Phil Collins – Serious Hits … Live (1990)

FrontCover1.jpgSerious Hits… Live! is the name of Phil Collins’ 1990 live album, released on vinyl and CD. It is also the title of the 2003 DVD video release of his concert at Berlin’s Waldbühne on 15 July 1990. (The original 1990 VHS and Betamax version of the video was titled Seriously Live.) The songs on the CD version are taken from various concerts during the Seriously, Live! World Tour. At the Brit Awards in 1992, the album brought Collins a nomination for British Male Artist.

When compiling the tracks for the album, instead of providing the experience of a complete live concert, the producers took the approach of putting together a “hits only” selection of songs. On the final song of the album, Collins thanks the fans in Chicago.

The live video and DVD version features one entire concert. The live performance at Berlin’s Waldbühne has been hailed by Collins as his best performance due to the energy of the German people after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The DVD presents an in-depth look at his solo concert experience. Special moments include the crowd not allowing the concert to continue with prolonged applause after “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” and the lighter vigil during “Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore”. (by wikipedia)

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Along with being a multi-talented musician and an excellent songwriter, Phil Collins is one of the best live performers in rock. His songs usually stay true to their original form, he puts plenty of fire into his vocals, and best of all, every one of his in-concert qualities transfers well into album form. Serious Hits…Live! is a wonderful example of this, with not only 15 tracks, but 15 of Phil’s best tracks, performed with an overcharged amount of enthusiasm and energy. There’s an equal number of ballads and fast songs on the album, but even on the slow stuff, Collins puts a lot of passion and feeling into the lyrics. Efforts such as “One More Night,” “Do You Remember?,” and especially his best ballad, “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” are heartfelt and unhindered. His moods shift easily without any false emotional dramatics, which in turn enhances the ambience of the songs. The tracks are taken from a number of shows during his Serious Tour in 1990, but his performance level remains enthusiastic the whole album through and the change of venues goes unnoticed, which is again another plus.

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Collins is just as sharp on the quicker tunes, with some wonderful percussion filling in behind him. The drumming is stellar on “Easy Lover” and again on “Sussudio,” but the album’s only downfall is its lack of credits, leaving the identities of the musicians a mystery. The album makes up for this with a spine-chilling version of “In the Air Tonight” as Collins does a good job of capturing the song’s haunting air, and from here the album switches gears with “You Can’t Hurry Love” but doing so with undefiled perfection. Almost all of the songs here broke Billboard’s Top Ten, and five of these tracks hit number one, which makes Serious Hits…Live! truly live up to it’s name. (by Mike DeGagne)

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Personnel:
Brad Cole (keyboards)
Phil Collins (vocals, piano, drums)
Leland Sklar (bass)
Daryl Stuermer (guitar)
Chester Thompson (drums)
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The Phenix Horns:
Rahmlee Michael Davis (trumpet)
Harry Kim (trumpet)
Don Myrick (saxophone)
Louis “Lui Lui” Satterfield (trombone)
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The Seriousettes (background vocals):
Bridgette Bryant – Arnold McCuller – Fred White

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Tracklist:
01. Something Happened On The Way To Heaven (Collins/Stuermer) 5.00
02. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)  (Collins) 3.29
03. Who Said I Would (Collins) 4.28
04. One More Night (Collins) 5.49
05. Don’t Lose My Number (Collins) 4.42
06. Do You Remember? (Collins) 5.40
07. Another Day In Paradise (Collins) 5.36
08. Separate Lives (Bishop) 5.17
09. In The Air Tonight (Collins) 6.35
10. You Can’t Hurry Love (Dozier, E.Holland/B.Holland) 2.54
11. Two Hearts (Collins/Lamont/Dozier) 3.07
12. Sussudio (Collins) 7.14
13. A Groovy Kind Of Love (Bayer-Sager/Wine) 3.30
14. Easy Lover (Bailey/Collins/East) 4.46
15. Take Me Home (Collins) 8.39

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