Tears For Fears @ The Universal Amphitheater, Universal City CA 11/23/04
I was very very pleased to have caught these guys at the Universal gig. I’m a little young to appreciate a band like TFF, but I remember my dad playing Song’s From the Big Chair nonstop and enjoying it, even as a kid back then. The music was exotic sounding, especially with those asian sounding scales, danceable and catchy. I was little, and remember being weirded out by “Broken.” Years later I can appreciate it and love it. I became a true follower once Elemental was released back in 1993, not realizing that Curt Smith (bassist/the sweet voice) left the group immediately upon the conclusion of the Seeds of Love Tour in 1990/91. I remember hearing “Sowing the Seeds of Love” on radio and liking it as a kid, but didn’t feel possessed to get the album. Back to 1993, I was very disappointed when I found out too late that Smith had quit. I couldn’t imagine Roland Orzabal touring without Smith…it’s like having milk WITHOUT the cookies. How the hell could he possibly have performed “Mad World,” “Pale Shelter,” “Change” or “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” without the other voice?
When I heard that the two had reunited and were releasing an album of new material, I jumped at the chance of seeing them live and scored great seats for my lady and I at a very reasonable price. It was a very good show with a great turnout. We were seated fairly close, lower Loge, stage left. TFF aren’t the most animated live act…but we were there for the music, and the music spoke for itself. Roland and Curt appeared subdued, maybe it was simply shock that they had sold out the house. It had been 14 years since the duo played together. I’m sure many consider TFF a heritage act or a nostalgia act, but the new album is strong, although it may not scored the same kind of “hits” that their previous albums did. Regardless, there’s a rich history regarding TFF and hopefully with some luck they’ll recapture that fire, that energy they had in the 80s/early 90s.
Nick D’Virgilio was great on drums, I only wished he could have done some flashy shit on the kit. I watched him intently on EWTRTW. Curt Smith’s vocals were a bit sharp, slightly higher pitched than on record. Roland’s voice was true to form. A reworked “Mad World” appeared in the set with a lengthy intro by Curt, explaining how he’d seen Donnie Darko and “…had rediscovered this great song.” The new material was executed well, with highlights being “Closest Thing to Heaven,” “Who Killed Tangerine” and “Quiet Ones.” Very austere stage setup, minimalist and free of clutter and distractions. The band played very well. Roland mentioned that Curt had turned 50. He said something like “can you believe this man is 50!?” Curt has indeed aged gracefully, aside from the salt and pepper, he looks like he’s still in his 30s. A strange incident occurred. There were a couple females sitting behind us along with their male, and very effeminate sounding male friend. I’ll just come out and say it, he was a gay man. Anyway, after Curt performed his solo piece, “Snow Hill,” the effeminate sounding gentleman said “Boooo, boooo! Ohhhh that was TERRIBLE!” The guy to our immediate left turned around and responded “SHUT UP! If you don’t like it then you can go home! I’ll kick your ass!” My lady and I were trapped in the middle of this odd show down. We turned and looked at each other and thought ‘WTF…at a Tears For Fears show??’ The complete set was as follows:
Call Me Mellow
Sowing the Seeds of Love
Size of Sorrow
Who You Are
Everybody Loves a Happy Ending
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Break it Down Again
Head over Heels
Woman in Chains (w/guest vocalist)