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Tears for Fears at the O2 - 6.02.19

Even though their debut album ‘The Hurting’ was released in 1983, Tears for Fears are still making an impact in today’s music scene. Their influence has been visible across pop-culture since their first release, from Gary Jules’ well known rendition of Mad World to Lorde’s haunting cover of Everybody Wants to Rule the World; Lorde’s cover opened the set, creating a dramatic introduction, contrasting with the upbeat original version of the hit song.

Tears for Fears’ set showed just how many hits they have had. Every song was a crowd-pleaser, from the buoyant Sowing the Seeds of Love, to the stirring Mad World. Tears for Fears was created by Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal in 1981, and their vocals, musicianship and stage presence are as powerful and exciting as ever. Whether this comes from experience or a passion that still remains strong, they won the audience over from the first moments of the set.

The show was at the O2 Arena in London: a venue that caters for all types of audiences and acts. For this show, the arena was fully seated, which could puts doubt in your mind about how atmospheric the performance might be. However, it seemed as though the O2 staff had given themselves the burden of unnecessary set-up, as almost every member of the audience was on their feet from the start of the show until the lights came up.

Tears for Fears gave us everything we wanted and more; even though they performed many of their hit singles such as Pale Shelter and Change, there were still unexpected choices for the setlist that were integrated flawlessly. The performance of album-track Bad Man’s Song, featured vocals by Orzabal and backing singer Carina Round, who were powerfully battling against the jazz-rock melodies of the eleven-minute extravaganza.

The absence of much of the material from 'Songs for the Big Chair', their second album, released in 1985, was surprising due to the commercial success of this album. Songs such as Mothers Talk and The Working Hour were not included in the setlist even though they were featured on the acclaimed album. This proves to show that even if Tears for Fears decides not to play some of their biggest successes they can still put on an unforgettable performance and proves just how rich their discography is. From their performance, no one would guess that only four of their six studio albums featured both Smith and Orzabal.

Yet, of course, the songs that generated the biggest reactions from the crowd were those from their first three albums which were all released in the 1980s. Woman in Chains and Head Over Heels (the latter closing the show before the encore) were met with huge recognition from the crowd. The encore consisted of an effortlessly powerful performance of their hit single Shout, in which the audience was so loud that Orzabal and Smith barely needed to sing the infamous chorus. Even though Smith apologised for rescheduling the gig that was supposed to have been played in spring of last year, it seemed as though everyone had forgotten about this inconvenience and were blown away by the great performance.

Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor

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