Concert review: Tears For Fears give locals something to shout about at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater (complete setlist and photos included)

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.


  • Mad World (Intro)

  • Everybody Wants to Rule the World

  • Secret World

  • Sowing the Seeds of Love

  • Advice for the Young at Heart

  • Call Me Mellow

  • Mad World

  • Memories Fade

  • Quiet Ones

  • Floating Down the River (Once Again)

  • Everybody Loves a Happy Ending

  • Seven of Sundays

  • Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover)

  • Pale Shelter

  • Break it Down Again

  • Head Over Heels

  • Woman in Chains

  • Shout

It's hard for me to think of the music of the 1980's in nostalgic terms. I often hear the term "classic 80's" thrown around as a legitimate genre. Part of my inability to embrace that concept lies in the fact that I am still so enthralled with so much of the true cutting edge music that was released during that notorious decade. It's hard to look back on an era of music when that era is still such a prevalent part of my daily playlist.  I'm still as enchanted with the ground-breaking work of bands like Echo and the Bunnymen and Devo as I ever was and I still listen to them with the same enthusiasm I felt the first time I heard them. I can also remember the enthusiasm and elation I felt when I first heard Tears For Fears. Beneath the layers of snazzy synthesizers lay some deep, heady lyrics that forced me to stop and really listen.  The bands unusual choices for subject matter to sing about set them apart from most of their contemporaries. As unlikely a pairing as it seems, the band was able to create danceable singles about primal therapy and isolation. No easy task. And their message still seems to resonate with many who grew up listening to their music. Just ask any of the 1,955 boisterous fans who attended the bands performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Wednesday night.


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Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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