Over three decades on from the release of their iconic debut album in 1983, Tears for Fears embark on a stadium tour of the UK with their extensive arsenal of hits. Their performance presents some new takes on old classics, which retain the kick that brought them to fame in the first place.
Before long, the 13,000-capacity Leeds’ First Direct Arena is packed out. Consisting mostly of older fans, the audience has been waiting since the Spring of 2018 to see the 1980s synth-pop big-timers, when the tour was initially scheduled for.
Though opening the set with a holographic display of Gen-Z popstar Lorde’s rendition of their seminal hit ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ feels a little cringe-worthy, like an old person’s attempt to stay relevant, the audience is immediately thrown into the good stuff as they crash into the original. Like most of their material, the track is bittersweet; buoyant synths are tinged with a melancholy edge, complete with forlorn lyrics and impassioned wailing. The moment is made especially emotional by the circumstances: the tour was rescheduled after “unforeseen health concerns” a year earlier.
Throughout the tour, the band is joined by special guest Alison Moyet. ½ of fellow synth-pop band Yazoo, Moyet lends her vocals to the already-strong performance. The band traverse the depths of their discography, including the menacing ‘Mad World’, and the moody yet anthemic ‘Sowing the Seeds of Love’. ‘Pale Shelter’, another peak of their early material, is a notable highlight of the show, which, even thirty years later, is still delivered in a tip-top falsetto.
From the start, the band are chatty and engage their fans with their thoughtful and reflective conversation. They balance out their exciting, big hits with their signature bittersweet undertones, both in song and in conversation; the set is both fun and emotional.
There is certainly something bizarre about seeing a legendary band perform live decades after their heyday, but the evening is overwhelmingly heart-warming and joyous, culminating with crowd-pleaser ‘Shout’. Tears for Fears’ performance was doused in sentiment, rendering me nostalgic for a band I have grown to love, and even more so for the older fans, I imagine.
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