Taking the stage a few minutes after 9:00pm, co-leader Curt Smith took the stage and launched into one of the bands biggest hits "Mad World" accompanied by a pre-recorded orchestral arrangement of the tune. It was easy to determine that Smith was in fine voice as he crooned along with the backing tape with great command. Soon he was joined by the other half of the duo, Roland Orzabal as well as the rest of the five-piece band and in an unprecedented move they tackled their most well-known composition, "Everybody Wants To Rule The World". Was it a clever move? Or did they dip into the catalog too soon? My personal thought: you know that song HAS to be played...why not get it out of the way early on? And that was just fine with me.
The rest of the setlist was cleverly balanced with more of the obvious hits as well as some real obscurities. It was curious that recognizable hits from the bands 1983 debut album The Hurting, "Change" and "Suffer The Children" were omitted and instead deep album cut "Memories Fade" was performed. More unusual was the inclusion of the traditional version of "Mad World" making that the second time that one was played on Wednesday night.
Material from the bands last studio album, 2004's Everybody Loves A Happy Ending, was greeted with equal fanfare as the more well-known material which proves that Tears For Fears have managed to retain a dedicated fan base for most of their existence.
Between-song banter is obviously not where the bands strengths lie. Although slightly humorous, Orzabal's attempt at witty repartee between songs was met with lukewarm reaction. But hey, at least he took a stab at it. Smith said very little besides letting the crowd know that he missed his children's first day of school to be here with us. But where the band struck out as engaging speakers, they more than made up for it by delivering a tight, blistering 90-minute set which sounded note perfect. The mix was particularly clear and pristine and the vocal harmonizing between Smith and Orzabal was downright stunning. An unexpected surprise was the bands eerie, moody take on Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". The normally bass-pumping dance floor anthem was transformed into a haunting ballad.
The night ended with the other monster hit from the 1985 smash album Songs From The Big Chair, "Shout". And after treating the crowd to a clever, unusual mixture of old and newer material, Tears For Fears more than pleased their loyal followers and gave them plenty of reasons to shout about all night long.
- Everybody Wants to Rule the World
- Advice for the Young at Heart
- Floating Down the River (Once Again)
- Everybody Loves a Happy Ending
- Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover)