Tears for Fears review: Eighties legends still rule the world

Tears for Fears kicked off the weekend series of gigs in Telford on Friday night as their Tipping Point world tour touched down in the UK.

Tears for Fears in Telford Town Park
Tears for Fears in Telford Town Park

After spending six weeks touring the USA, where they have been even more successful than in the homeland, the band took to the stage at the QEII Arena in Telford Town Park.

And the duo - who will always be inexorably linked with the 1980s - brought to Shropshire the memories of those smash hits from albums like Songs From the Big Chair and Seeds of Love, all of them interspersed with tracks from their February release Tipping Point which itself has topped the charts in the USA and reached top 10 here.

Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith sounded as good as ever, and at 60 and 61 respectively, their voices showed little side of ageing, whilst their guitar playing was top draw. They surrounded themselves with a transatlantic line up of stellar musicians - Smith himself is now based in LA - as befits a group who have achieved massive success on both sides of the pond.

Tears for Fears: Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith

In backing vocalist Lauren Evans they had a perfect replacement for Oleta Adams on the hauntingly beautiful Woman in Chains, one of their best known and best selling singles, although there are many contenders.

Surprisingly maybe, the song they are possibly most associated with - Everybody Wants to Rule the World - was played early, third up after two opening numbers from the current album.

This was a hit worldwide hit twice over in the 80s, being revamped for the Sport Aid campaign in 1986 after the band had surprisingly turned down the chance to perform at Live Aid the year before.

Tipping Point has Orzabal and Smith's trademark pop-rock style all over it, and they joked how they had thought of recording something that was down with the kids and that today's audience would relate to, and then decided to do what they wanted to anyway.

They certainly gave tracks from the album a good airing but of course it was the older songs that still get played regularly on classic hits radio stations that the audience had come to see, Mad World and Pale Shelter certainly being very well received as was Sowing the Seeds of Love and the aforementioned Woman in Chains.

In Head over Heels, yet another worldwide smash released in 1985, they have a song that pulls you in from the second you hear the opening bars of the familiar keyboard intro and another one that almost begs the crowd to join in the chorus.

The Brand New Heavies replaced Alison Moyet as support for Tears For Fears at the last minute

They saved this song till the last one before the encore which the crowd didn't really have to 'Shout' for, preceding that blockbuster with Change, again with an incredibly catchy hook from the moment it starts.

It was wonderful to see the duo looking fit and well, particularly Smith, and still clearly enjoying playing the music after all these years. The chemistry between all the band and the crowd enjoying a fine summer's evening reminiscing in a sea of musical nostalgia was also pleasing.

Somebody who did play at Live Aid in 1985 was Alison Moyet, but she couldn't play Telford as she had tested positive for Covid, disappointing many of those present who again wanted her to relive her 80s hits delivered with that distinctive voice. Brand New Heavies (pictured), more associated with the 90s, stood in at short notice and produced a soulful and energetic performance.

Second up in the series of live shows tonight is Tom Grennan, with Bryan Adams headlining tomorrow. Tickets are available from tickettelford.com

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