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Warner Home Video presents
Phil Collins: Finally...The First Farewell Tour (2004)

"If all has gone according to plan, you have in your hand more than just a memento of my last full tour. You will have a broad overview of a lot of what I've done for the last 25 years."
- excerpt from liner notes

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: April 29, 2005

Stars: Phil Collins
Other Stars: Brad Cole, Daryl Stuermer, Ronnie Caryl, Chester Thompson, Luis Conte, Leland Sklar, Amy Keys, Lamont Vanhook, Lynne Diffmont-Lindsey, Connie Jackson-Comegys, Bill Cantos, Harry Kim, Gerald Albright, Dan Fornero, Arturo Velasco
Director: Hamish Hamilton

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 02h:12m:00s
Release Date: January 25, 2005
UPC: 603497039722
Genre: music

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

I'm not what you would really classify as a huge Phil Collins fan, in fact you could probably hardly classify me as a fan at all. Dislike him? No. Familiar with the guy yes (hard not to be), but not what you would consider a fan, really. I may have always secretly liked the gentle percussive wandering of Take Me Home, and it's not like I don't know most of his work; I did go through an experimental Genesis period back in the day, bailing just after Trick of the Tail, though over the years it has been damn near impossible to remain oblivious to his string of solo hits.

We're talking a lot of hits, and though he seems to have jumped onto the cliched "ballad bus" a number of times, by and large Collins makes (or at least made) clean, cross-generational pop that was neither too simple or too complex.

Recorded at the Bercy Arena in Paris on his 2003/2004 tour, this two-disc set is a crammed to the gills "best of" concert. The whole thing is given a clever reverse spin by the inclusion of music videos for just about every song here, available either on their own or via the angle button, which allows one to toggle over from the live version to the video, and back again. And when the choice isn't a music video (as with Come With Me, which just offers an alternate angle of the Bercy show), there is also the choice of seeing a completely different live rendition on two of the tracks (Against All Odds and In the Air Tonight). In short, every song offers song extra little feature, so there is plenty of options to keep you busy.

This is a well-coifed big arena rock show—a neat multi-tiered stage with elaborate lighting—and even though much of Collins set is slower-paced "lite" stuff, the massive crowd seems to gobble it up. The camera work is active, moving around extensively, offering all sorts of different angles and closeups of not just Phil, but the entire large band. As expected, Collins has assembled an extremely first-rate band, with familiar faces like guitarist Daryl Stuermer and drummer Chester Thompson joining rank alongside a genuine bass legend like Leland Sklar; in short: tight, polished and very professional.

Disc 1 set list (01h:18m:52s):
Drum, Drums & More Drums
Something Happened on the Way to Heaven
Against All Odds
Don't Lose My Number
You'll Be in My Heart
One More Night
Can't Stop Loving You
Hang in Long Enough
True Colours
Come With Me
Groovy Kind of Love
I Missed Again
Another Day in Paradise
No Way Out
Separate Lives

Disc 2 set list (53m:53s):
In the Air Tonight
Dance into the Light
You Can't Hurry Love
Two Hearts
Wear My Hat
Easy Lover
It's Not Too Late
Take Me Home

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer of the concert footage (the videos are largely presented in fullframe) is extremely well done, offering impressive levels of detail under the typically troublesome stage lighting; it is even possible to examine the finer points of every indentation on Chester Thompson's drum kit or count the beads of sweat on Phil's noggin, if you're so inclined. There is no smearing or blocking to be found, making this one of the finer looking concert discs I've come across in recent months.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Warner has negated the remote control option for selecting an audio stream (2.0 stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS) while viewing the concert, so choose wisely during the opening menu screen. The stereo track is acceptable if that's the capacity of your system, but the real showboating money is split between the active 5.1 and DTS tracks, where the spatial feel of a large arena is dramatically more pronounced and the sub channel really perks up with heavy percussion (exemplified wonderfully by the opening battle between Chester Thompson and Collins on Drums, Drums, & More Drums).

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 25 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 25 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in :English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese with remote access
31 Multiple Angles with remote access
3 Documentaries
Packaging: 2 disc slip case
Picture Disc
2 Discs
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: If you're into Phil you should appreciate the extras, because there is just a whole lotta Phil here. Even though this set incorporates the multi-angle option to allow viewers to toggle over to the music video (or in some cases an alternate live version) for a given song on the live set list, the videos are also available independently as a separate menu item, minus a much needed Play All option.

Disc one features videos for:
Against All Odds (03m:27s)
Something Happened on the Way to Heaven (05m:56s)
Against All Odds: Live Aid Philadelphia (04m:18s)
Don't Lose My Number (06m:08s)
You'll Be in My Heart (04m:18s)
One More Night (05m:08s)
Can't Stop Lovin' You (04m:13s)
Hang in Long Enough (06m:10s)
True Colours (04m:33s)
Groovy Kind of Love (03m:58s)
I Missed Again (03m:38s)
Another Day In Paradise (04m:51s)
No Way Out (04m:09s)
Separate Lives (04m:20s)
Pick Up The Pieces (22m:43s), a special live tribute to Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records recorded at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1998

Videos on disc two are:
In The Air Tonight (04m:44s)
In The Air Tonight - from Secret Policeman's Other Ball (04m:55s)
Dance Into The Light (04m:29s)
You Can't Hurry Love (02m:50s)
Two Hearts (04m:08s)
Wear My Hat (04m:41s)
Easy Lover (04m:47s)
Sussudio (05m:36s)
Take Me Home (06m:09s)

Under the heading of Phil's World on Disc 2 there are a pair of short docs: A Bit of a Parking Problem (17m:47s) and Finally...The First Documentary (30m:10s). The first is sort of a Phil-gets-wacky bit as he impersonates a parking officer (complete with uniform) and wanders around the concert venue interviewing various members of the crew, while the longer of the two is a more traditional backstage look, featuring the usual pastiche of concert footage and interviews. The Phil's World segment ends with Phil's Flash Gallery, your basic photo gallery made up largely of concert shots.

The curious jewel, for diehard Collins fans, is the so-called Long Lost Network TV Special (47m:40s) from 1990, featuring the likes of Jeffrey Tambor, Weird Al, Gilbert Gottfried, Don Johnson and Vanessa Williams, among others. It's a mock network special, with Collins performing his hits in an assortment of different styles (big band, rap, country) in order to make a perfectly designed mass appeal television special. Collins always seems at ease working the comedy angle, and while this isn't necessarily roll-on-the-floor funny, it is definitely handled better than most pop stars taking a stab at acting.

Lastly, a small booklet of concert photos is also included, as well as a promo insert of Collins' Love Songs CD.

Extras Grade: A-


Final Comments

Surrounding himself with some stellar musicians, Collins puts on an elaborately slick and professionally casual set of radio-friendly pop here, made more enjoyable by a super clean audio presentation led by one mighty fine DTS track. It's almost a nice enough package to give me new appreciation of Sussudio, a song I just plain don't like.

You like post-Genesis Phil? Odds are you'll love this.


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