Phil Collins’ long-awaited return from retirement didn’t include an on-stage collaboration with former bands Genesis or Brand X. Instead, he appeared this week with a group of talented school-age musicians from Florida.
Making a surprise appearance, Collins performed two songs — his 1981 favorite “In the Air Tonight” and Genesis’ 1986 smash “Land of Confusion” — on May 20 at Miami Country Day School’s middle school spring music concert. The complete video is attached.
“I was nervous, you know,” Collins admitted from the stage, just before being named an honorary member of the school’s Radio Ensemble. “I’ve been doing this all my life, but it’s still: How good can it be? All of these kids … they all made me feel like part of the band. They’re a bunch of great kids.”
Despite his time away, Collins made a low-key entrance: “How are you,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said, as if he’d never been gone. “We’re great now!” an audience member happily responds. Collins then added: “Before we start, actually, I just want to say: Hello, and thank you for having me. It’s a lovely school. I’ve been here a few times before. You’re all very lucky to have such great, committed staff.”
Collins sang, but did not play drums. He initially retired from performance in 2011 because of back problems. More recently, however, Collins has said he’s interested in returning to music.