On Friday, Tears for Fears played their biggest hits from the 1980s blended with new songs tinged with a certain amount of future nostalgia, and harmony was king at Place Bell for The Tipping Tour.
Two songs in and we had “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, and it still sounded as fresh and emotional as it did when it was first released nearly 40 years ago.
It might be conventional sense to reserve such a classic hit for the encore or the second portion of the performance. However, Tears for Fears are more than just a nostalgia-fueled legacy act for Gen Xers. How many people start filming on their phones during the most well-liked songs can be determined. Deeper cuts, however, like the epic multi-part “Bad Man’s Song,” had an equally powerful effect. Additionally, the transitions between songs were so seamless when their classics repertoire were played that the audience hardly had time to cheer for one before another started.
There was no better instance of Tears for Fears still being able to affect their audience with the most unguarded of honesty than during their premiere performance of Tipping hit “Rivers of Mercy.” Live performances of “Long, Long, Long Time,” “My Demons,” and “End of Night” were also made. Everyone in the audience was seated as Orzabal spoke of figurative cleaning waters in a voice that sounded like the missing piece between Peter Gabriel and Sufjan Stevens while drenched in blue light. Tears for Fears are equally skilled with restraint as they are with the bombastic, even though it’s not the standard karaoke option.
Even if it is acknowledged that it is the journey and not the end point that matters, the quest for self-actualization nonetheless continues. Furthermore, if not harder, the harmonies are powerful. It also helps that Orzabal’s appearance is reminiscent of a wizard, what with his long white hair and beard.
Some songs like Sowing The Seeds Of Love, Woman In Chains (with special mention for Lauren Evans’ outstanding performance), and Badman’s Song played. The latter, performed in a very jazzy manner but lacking the listening and playing required for it to be in excellent taste, is regrettably not very convincing live. However, their new album’s songs, including my favourite song, Break the Man, were superbly performed. When Tears For Fears perform their new music, it seems as though they are just going with the flow.
Even if Tears for Fears were no longer active and producing outstanding music, their ongoing impact on so many contemporary synth-pop artists or any artiss who finds beauty in being as direct as possible would ensure their place in our cultural memory. It is simply amazing how they can make both new and classic songs sound unique both on records and live.
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