Not a lot of people took Phil Collins seriously when he announced his "First Final Farewell Tour" in 2003. Beyond the fact that the tour's title was clearly tongue-in-cheek, performers from the Who to Cher to Frank Sinatra have said "farewell" over the years, only to go back on the promise just a few years later. Also, Collins was just 53 and in fine health. It seemed unlikely he'd just disappear.
Doubts aside, the tour was a huge success. The set list focused on his large catalog of solo hits, from "In the Air Tonight" to "Sussudio" and "Another Day in Paradise." "Misunderstanding" was the only Genesis song, and he only performed three songs from his new 2002 LP, Testify. As always, the show ended with "Take Me Home." (Here's video of "In the Air Tonight" from Paris in 2004.)
Just two years after the tour wrapped, Collins reunited with Genesis for a 40-date world tour. In 2010 he fulfilled his Atlantic Records contract with the Motown covers disc Going Back, and he promoted it with a handful of gigs in America and Europe, but those shows didn't feature a single one of his original compositions.
It's now been 11 years since Collins released an album of original material, and he's been very clear he has little interest in getting back into the game. "I've kind of put that side of my life on hold mainly because I feel like I've earned this opportunity to do nothing," he told Rolling Stone in 2012. "And I have young children, so I don't feel the drive to go out there and compete . . . I can't be what I used to be. I can't play like I used to. And I don't want to go out there and do it half-assedly. "
This article originally appeared on Rolling Stone: Flashback: Phil Collins Says 'Farewell' - And Actually Means It