We have become inured to the sight of decrepit Pontiffs being trundled out onto the Vatican balcony probably held up by a steel brace on wheels hidden by their baroque robes. It was hard to tell if they were sentient or dead. Such a sight confronted rock fans – some as young as 50 – for the sell-out final concert of Genesis on the 26th of March. With a combined age of 214, the O2 Arena in London was appropriate as it looked like Phil Collins needed O2. Thank god all the musical instruments are wireless these days so we wouldn’t have the embarrassing sight of Collins with his walking stick tripping over a cable and doing his hip in on his way to his chair on stage. One could palpably sense the tension in the audience – will he make it. He was like Capt Tom Moore who got the world to follow him during lockdown as he zimmered framed his way across his garden 100 times. To the audience’s relief, Phil made it to his chair. Many rockers of old used the microphone and its stand as a supporting act. Who can forget Freddie Mercury imperiously colonising the stage with his phallic half mic stand. Phil Collins also used his mic stand as a supporting act but more in the walking stick sense.
Whilst not the greatest fan of Genesis and Phil Collins, it is difficult for me to gainsay his influence. He is one of only three musicians who have sold more than 100 million albums. The others are Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. There are many others in the Rock and Role of Geriatric Honour Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.
At 78 we have the spritely Rodger Daltrey Who still sings My Generation. I’m not sure if it’s the Beat Generation anymore or rather the retirement home and false-teeth-glue generation. I think it’s time for This Song is Over. Also at 78 we have Jagger whose sensuous child-bearing lips will soon become drooling lips. What about the sylphlike Debbie Harry and her bewitching lips? She is now 76 and while her lips can still do a stage act all on their own, she is not quite so sylphlike and performs as Platinum Blondie. Robert Plant is 73 and it is a competition between the Stairway to Heaven and the #MeToo movement catching up with him and sending him to prison for sex with underage groupies, a perfectly natural Rock and Roll phenomenon of the time along with loads of drugs and eccentric behaviour. Then again what has changed.
Among the real oldies, we have Cliff (over the hill) Richards, the Peter Pan of Rock. Unfortunately, he is a wrinkled Shadow of his former self. Joining him on 81 is Tom Jones who used to wear pants so tight that you could see if he was circumcised. Now It’s Not Unusual that he has to wear a strap on, sort of like a bodybuilder’s or a ballet dancer’s posing pouch. We also have a relative youngster in Paul McCartney at 80. He is now Sir Paul or perhaps Sore Paul, what with his cranky hips, but still manages to headline at Glastonbury.
What have we got to look forward to? What about a snappy Goodbye to U2 at O2 – Bono is a pensioner at 61 after all. Or maybe Cher (75 going on 42) appearing in her gilded Botoxed plastic sarcophagus at Las Vegas. By the way, when will Boy George drop the boy bit – he is 60 you know.