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Sometimes fiction is better than truth. Phil Collins says “In the Air Tonight” is about his divorce. Yawn. Legend, on the other hand, says it’s about Collins watching someone stand by as another man drowned. Admittedly, this begs the question, why wouldn’t Collins just help since he’s clearly standing right there? But no matter. He later invited the guilty man to a concert, then threw the spotlight on him while he sang this accusatory song. Fantastic, brutal tale. I’ll take fiction over truth.
So let’s make up a new legend! Here goes… Brooklyn quintet Takka Takka attended a Collins concert a few years back. During the encore, the band started “In the Air Tonight” with Phil at piano. About two minutes in, the drummer grabbed his chest with one hand (ever a professional, he continued playing with the other). He began to shake, eyes slowly rolling back, even as he kept ticking away. Phil’s piano faced the drum riser and the concerned look in his eyes indicated he saw this. But the band was only thirty seconds from the drum break – the break that every member of the crowd, Takka Takka included, had been waiting for all evening – and Phil was damned if he’d stop the band before they got there. Even as the drummer began to turn green, Phil pressed on. The drum break finally arrived. The drummer executed it perfectly. Then he spontaneously combusted.