Is Phil Collins Making A Comeback? Miami Fillmore Concert Marks ‘Genesis’ Frontman’s First Live Concert In Six Years

Phil Collins seems happier now than he’s been in a very long time. This comes as no big surprise, in light of the fact that the 65-year-old erstwhile drummer recently reunited with his favorite ex-wife and pulled off a solo singing performance for the first time since 2010.

According to Rolling Stone, Collins’ seven-song set in Florida on March 11 was part of the Dreaming on the Beach benefit concert. He performed five original songs, including “Easy Lover,” “In the Air Tonight,” and “Another Day in Paradise” along with covers of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” and the Temptations’ “My Girl.” Collins also served as emcee of the gala event.

Held at the former Miami Beach Convention Center, now renamed the Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater,the Dreaming on the Beach benefit concert raised awareness and funds for the Little Dreams Foundation. Co-founded in Europe in 2000 by Collins and his then-wife, Swiss-born Orianne Cevey (more about her later), the charitable foundation relocated to Miami, Florida, three years ago. The mission of the foundation is stated below, according to the LDF website.

“To fulfill the dreams of young aspiring talents without financial means to achieve their goals. Children are selected by auditions within 3 Dreams Worlds: Music, Arts and Sports. A group of handicapped children in these fields is also selected each year in the frame of LDF’s ‘No Difference’ program. In each specific world, the LDF Foundation helps the children thrive by supporting them with personalized training and supervision by godparent mentors, providing them with optimal opportunity for success, and potentially advance toward a professional career in the field of their true passion. In order to reach its mission, LDF is helped by numerous godparents, sponsors and technical advisors.”

Last Friday’s benefit concert was not exactly the first show in Phil Collins’ long-anticipated comeback. In March 2014, he sang two of his hit songs on stage at Miami Country Day School. The event was at the request of his sons, Matthew and Nicholas, who are students at the school. His backing band comprised an enthusiastic group of young musicians, also students at the private educational facility.

After the semi-surprise songfest at his kids’ school, Rolling Stone quoted Phil Collins.

“I’m no longer officially retired. The horse is out of the stable and I’m raring to go. My kids are now 10 and 14 and they want to see what their dad does. They were in nappies when I was last on the road. They love my music and I’d like to take them out so they can enjoy it.”

As reported by Associated Press, the former Genesis frontman was slated to appear at the first Miami benefit concert for the Little Dreams Foundation in 2014. Collins’ appearance at that show was cancelled due to “illness and a poor soundcheck,” says Rolling Stone magazine.

Phil Collins keeping the beat for Genesis in 1977

Why did Phil Collins retire in the first place?

According to sources at The Guardian, Phil Collins suffered a viral infection in 2000 that left him with a serious hearing deficit. For a percussionist of Collins’ magnitude, hearing loss can be devastating. Collins apparently believed so. “In a way, I felt like I was a slave to the thing [his career.] This was like: ‘Sorry man, I can’t do it.’ That’s God saying, ‘Time to stop.’” In February of this year, The Guardian reported that Collins’ hearing issues were resolved.

In the years since Phil Collins more or less vanished from the public eyes and ears, reports pegged him as unable to play drums due to dislocated vertebrae that originated during the last Genesis tour. In 2009, Collins posted confirmation of his inability to “grip the sticks” on the Genesis website. Earlier this year, the seasoned musician told The Guardian that he’d undergone successful back surgery and that although use of his left hand is limited, his physicians had advised him that if he practiced, he might regain his chops.

And now a word about Phil and his favorite ex-wife

During the course of their nine-year marriage, Phil Collins fathered two sons with Orianne Collins. After their highly publicized (and very expensive) divorce in 2008, the couple remained cordial. Just a few weeks ago, Entertainment Tonight reported the twosome’s merry reconciliation. Will they remarry? That remains to be seen, but Orianne did tell Swiss newspaper, SonntagsBlick the following.

“I call Phil now again as my husband. We are so close that it actually makes no difference whether we are married. But we are determined to get married one day a second time.”

After the starry-eyed former spouses were spotted together at Friday’s benefit concert in Miami Beach, Phil Collins told ET the following.

“It’s lovely. I’m back with her. We never really wanted to split. I mean, we did, but we stayed in touch, and we were so close because of the kids, and we kept it sensible. We didn’t go the way that a lot of couples go, and that obviously is evident because we are back together again.”

In this three-month-old year that’s been so hard on the world of rock ‘n’ roll, the news that at least one senior rocker seems to be on the comeback trail with the mother of his sons at his side is a pleasant change, indeed. Maybe something really is in the air tonight.

[Photo via Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images]