Everybody loves a happy ending–and that is without a doubt what British band Tears for Fears gave to fans last night during their concert at the Broward Center for Performing Arts. They also gave everybody a happy beginning and middle–the group delivered all the energy, talent and musical dexterity that diehard fans could hope for during their hour and a half performance.
Two of the founding band members Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith were at the forefront, and it was both a pleasure and relief to hear both talented singers had retained the quality and clarity of their distinct voices, even 30 years later at nearly 50 years old.
A friend of mine joked “Were they using walkers?” Far from it. Energy was high, and the duo entertained us with spot-on showmanship–their stage was simple, the lighting outstanding without being over the top, and special effects were minimal. And honestly, with talent like that, you don’t need all of the flash and glitz to hit a home run.
From the moment Curt Smith emerged, the audience was on their feet. Being at Broward Center, I was happily shocked. BCPA isn’t one of my venue of choice for a concert due to the “usher Nazis” (as another friend lovingly refers to them) who like to restrict dancing and movement and demand that you sit down. No chance of that last night, folks, They would have had a mutiny on their hands.
TFF opened their set with an abbreviated version of “Mad World”, backed by pre-recorded music and vocals. I was hoping they would play the entire song later in the evening, being my favorite. And they didn’t disappoint–apparently the mini-rendition was only a teaser. Though not quite as haunting as Adam Lambert’s slower version on American Idol, there’s nothing like the original and it was my pick of the night.
I was also impressed that their set list included “Pale Shelter”, also a favorite of mine, but certainly not as mainstream. They impeccably performed so many of their classic hits, including “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, “Head Over Heels”, “Sowing the Seeds of Love”, “Advice for the Young at Heart“. Hearing so many hits from the ’80’s, it made me nostalgic for those days–and I’m pretty sure most of the audience felt the same way.
There were a few surprises thrown in, like a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” similar to the Chris Cornell/David Cook versions, which I really enjoyed, as well as Curt Smith performing “Seven of Sundays” from his 2008 solo album, halfway, pleased. And although I didn’t care for opening act Michael Wainwright much–he fell a bit flat and belonged more in a coffeehouse setting, not as an opener for TFF–he provided outstanding background vocals for the band, especially during “Woman in Chains”. His falsetto worked well for the parts originally sung by Oleta Adams, as well as on “Shout”.
TFF brought the concert to a crescendo with “Break it Down Again” and closed the show with “Shout”. The audience was of course still on their feet, hands in the air, their voices nearly drowning out Curt and Roland as they sang in unison with the band.
My only complaint? It was over too soon. It was the first time I’d seen them in concert, and I would absolutely go see them again. I was also tickled to see my British husband stand up for almost the entire concert and–ahem–“dance” for the first time at a show. It takes a lot to motivate him to do that–so Tears for Fears definitely got two thumbs up from him as well.
It may be nearly 30 years since TFF formed–but they’re still going strong, and here’s to 30 more.
Did you go to the show? What did you think? “Shout it” out below.