“It’s so good to be back in St. Louis, it’s been 6 years, that’s way too long,” Roland Orzabal says midset. He goes on to explain that in those 6 years, a lot has gone on, both pandemic and personal, that inspired the writing of their new album “The Tipping Point.”
A band well known for groundbreaking 80s synth-pop, a breakup, and then a long hiatus, filled the Hollywood Amphitheatre on a sweltering hot July night. Tears for Fears plays 6 tracks from their new album at this show, their first release since 2004. This might seem like a gutsy move, but as good as these songs are, as aurally and visually pleasing as this show was, it paid off.
The band opened with the intimate acoustic “No Small Thing”. The audience was entranced with black and white moody footage in slow motion that Orzabal later quipped was “filmed on our iphones”. “The Tipping Point” title track followed, demonstrating how the early synth-pop the band made in the 80s has now grown into almost meditative feel, but still maintaining the hint of gallop in the driving feel of the song. Additional songs included from the new album invoke dystopian dreamlike sequences, written over 3 lockdowns as referenced by Orzabal.
Classics were all included. Early in the night, the band busts into “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” with singalongs and hand waves, Charles Pettus providing sweet telecaster moments on guitar. “Sowing Seeds of Love” provided psychedelic floral imagery borrowing from the MTV video that flooded Gen-X’s youth. The crowd went wild for “Mad World”, what went from being an early cult hit for the band now is a dark wave/goth staple.
Carina Round of Puscifer joins the band as a backup singer and is featured on “Suffer the Children” holding the amphitheater captive with her silky vocals, vulnerable and poignant. The band isn’t including her for support, her talent is showcased and the entire set is rich with her lush harmonies.
The intro to “Head Over Heels” brings cheers and a massive singalong, the perfect setup to the pending encore. Curtis Smith’s pop/funk basslines bringing the dance to the show. People have been out of their seats most of the night, loving new music, hearing the hits peppered in. This is one of the fullest, best sounding live shows you might attend this year, complete with crowd interaction, in between banter, plenty of eye candy of a stage show. Some bands step off stage for a few seconds with a plan to be back out for their encore quickly. Tears for Fears makes you really ask for it. As they came out to end the night, the band was introduced-Charles Pettus on guitar, Jamie Wollam on drums, Doug Catfish Petty on keys, Carina Round on Vocals, and of course, Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal. Orzabal teases the first few chords of the encore while introducing the band before launching into Radiohead’s “Creep”, a full song singalong and crowd lit up with waving phones. “Shout” closes out the night, it’s ominous lyrics “In violent times, you shouldn’t have to sell your soul…I hope we live to tell the tale.” Both relevant and almost a prophecy for what the band would endure throughout their career and a lengthy pandemic lock-down.
Singer, multi-instrumentalist, half of Social Butterflies, concert enthusiast, BA in Instrumental Music! Catch me gigging, working promotions, gogo dancing, hosting events, or petting cats & dogs. Pineapple on pizza, fight me!