August 29, 2016: Phil Collins Performs at US Open

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Phil Collins with Tony Award-winning actor (for Hamilton) Leslie Odom Jr. at the opening night ceremony at the US Open, August 29, 2016

Phil Collins with Tony Award-winning actor (for Hamilton) Leslie Odom Jr. at the opening night ceremony at the US Open, August 29, 2016

He looked a bit unsteady on his feet due to still-recent back surgery, but Phil Collins sounded terrific as he performed August 29, 2016, on opening night of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows, NY. The brief concert at Arthur Ashe Stadium – which finally debuted a retractable roof – was broadcast live in the U.S. on ESPN2. The Oscar winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer performed his debut solo single, “In the Air Tonight.”

“I can now tell people I’ve played at the U.S. Open,” Collins joked to the crowd. “That’s an English joke; you’ll laugh on the way home.”

Collins also sang his 1984 hit “Easy Lover,” with Tony Award-winning actor Leslie Odom, Jr. of Hamilton performing the duet that Collins recorded with Philip Bailey.

Among those performing with Collins was his longtime solo and Genesis collaborator Daryl Stuermer. ESPN used Collins’ “Take Me Home” to promote the start of the 2016 tournament.

The tournament’s top-seeded men’s player, Novak Djokovic, even channeled his inner Phil Collins with an impromptu impersonation. (See below.)

Rumors about a Collins comeback tour had been swirling for quite a while. The longtime Genesis singer and drummer was forced to delay his comeback in 2015 due to emergency back surgery. But as he tested the waters in March with a performance for his charitable foundation, and with his memoirs scheduled for fall release and a significant reissue campaign of his solo work, the classic rock legend was ready to shine once again for his millions of loyal fans.

The Opening Night ceremony celebrated the stadium’s new retractable roof, which at more than 6,500 tons of steel, is the largest retractable roof in tennis and took three years to complete.

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After six years away and a “retirement” that (thankfully) didn’t quite take, Collins returned to performing on March 11, 2016 with an eight-song set at The Fillmore Miami Beach to benefit a good cause. Although health issues prevent him from playing drums – which Phil’s son Nic instead did handily – and he needs a cane for walking as he recovers from a broken foot, Collins showed himself in fine voice and spirits at the rescheduled Little Dreams Foundation’s Second Annual Dreaming on the Beach Gala Concert 2016.

Related: Collins’ March 11, 2016 performance in Miami

The one-off appearances led to a burst of solo tours.

Related: Recap of opening night of Collins’ “Not Dead Yet, Live!” comeback tour from June 3, 2017

The musician’s solo catalog received a significant overhaul from Rhino in 2016 which charts his entire solo career from his smash hit 1981 debut “In the Air Tonight” to the title track from his most recent studio album, 2010’s Going Back. It encompasses seven U.S. #1s for Atlantic Records, including “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now),” “Sussudio,” “One More Night,” “Separate Lives,” “A Groovy Kind of Love,” “Two Hearts” and “Another Day In Paradise.”

Genesis ultimately held their final reunion tour in 2021 and 2022.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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