REVIEW: Tears For Fears still ruling the world after all these years

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With some bands, it’s quality over quantity - and that is certainly the case with Tears For Fears.

It is now 36 years since Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith broke on to the music scene with the hit single Mad World, and debut album The Hurting.

They quickly built on that success and achieved something approaching world domination with the behemoth second LP that was Songs From The Big Chair.

Classic singles Everybody Wants To Rule The World and Shout - both number ones in the USA - saw them dominate the radio airwaves in 1985, and four years later came the epic third LP Sowing The Seeds Of Love.

But the cracks were starting to show in the relationship between Orzabal and Smith, with the latter stepping away from the limelight.

The next two LPs saw Orzabal keep the band name but effectively go it alone, and although Elemental and Raoul And The Kings Of Spain were fine bodies of work, the volume of record sales started dwindling.

It was to be another nine years before the boys from Bath properly got back together to record the joyous comeback album Everybody Loves A Happy Ending.

And although they have been a regular live act ever since, fans are still waiting for the promised follow up LP - 15 years later!!

Still, when you have a body of work as good as Tears For Fears do, putting on a stunning 90-minute set will never be a problem - and it certainly wasn’t when their Rule The World tour hit the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham on Tuesday night.

From the moment the band opened the show with the stonewall classic Everybody Wants To Rule The World, through to the rousing encore of Shout 15 songs and more than an hour-and-a-half later, they had every member of the huge crowd in the palms of their hands.

There were songs from all of their albums bar one, Kings Of Spain the neglected son, with the underrated Break It Down Again the single offering from Elemental.

Otherwise we had a large dollop of offerings from The Hurting, with Mad World (played as it was originally recorded), Pale Shelter and Change the standouts for me, three from Big Chair, four from Seeds Of Love and a couple from Happy Ending.

It was simply a fantastic show from start to finish, and a pleasure to hear so many great songs performed so superbly.

My highlights were Rule The World, one of my all-time favourite songs by anybody, a stunning Seeds Of Love, Head Over Heels/Broken and an epic Badman’s Song.

Now that has never been one of my favourites, but hearing it live was inspiring.

Smith and Orzabal are both great musicians, both great singers, but the real magic happens when they double up and harmonise on the vocals, while the band, and third vocalist Carina Round, were absolutely top notch.

There were concerns a few weeks ago that Smith wouldn’t make this tour, which was postponed last year, with the man himself raising the doubts on Twitter. So is there still a bit of friction there between these old school mates?

Perhaps. But you would never know.

The pair certainly seem happy enough, both enjoying chats with the crowd, and Smith declaring the band ‘are not ready to retire yet’.

And that is great news, as it is pretty clear the band’s fans are not ready to stop listening either!

Indeed it was a doubly great night for the crowd, almost all of a certain 80s music vintage, who were also treated to a 45-minute set by Alison Moyet as the special guest support act.

It is rare for support acts play to a full venue, but I would say 90 per cent of those who turned up on Tuesday were in their seats to see Moyet - and that was a very wise move!

The singer formerly known as Alf played songs old and new, backed by keys and drums, and her voice sounded fantastic.

I won’t pretend to say I recognised the newer material from her recent critically acclaimed solo LPs, but they sounded great, as did her huge 80s solo hits All Cried Out and Love Resurrection.

But it was the songs of her first band, Yazoo, that really hit the mark.

Only You was stunning, while Situation and set closer Don’t Go had the place rocking, but it was the sublime Nobody’s Diary that stole the show for me.

Moyet introduced the track, taken from Yazoo’s second LP, You And Me Both, as a song I wrote as a 16-year-old’. Remarkable.

It was also one of many, many highlights from a great night of live music.

If you get the chance to see either Tears For Fears or Alison Moyet in the future, then take it

You won’t regret it for a second.

Setlists

Tears For Fears: Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Secret World, Sowing the Seeds of Love, Pale Shelter, Break It Down Again, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, Change, Mad World, Memories Fade, Suffer the Children, Woman in Chains, Advice for the Young at Heart, Badman's Song, Head Over Heels / Broken. Encore: Shout

Alison Moyet: I Germinate, Nobody's Diary, Do You Ever Wonder, Beautiful Gun, All Cried Out, The Rarest Birds, The Sharpest Corner (Hollow), Situation, Only You, Love Resurrection, Don't Go