October 20, 2015 Tears for Fears Rule The Capitol Theatre Port Chester, NY 9-28-15
Heavily rooted in the New Wave genre of the early 1980s, England’s Tears for Fears would go on to become one of the most internationally successful bands of the era. Surrounded by a collection of talented musician through their career, masterminds Roland Orzabal (vocals/guitars/keyboards) and Curt Smith (vocals/bass guitars/keyboards) adhere the unique sound that is Tears for Fears combining a mixture of Synth, Rock-n-Roll, Pop, but most of all, two of the most distinctive vocals in popular music. Now almost thirty-five years since their initial formation, Tears for Fears remains actively touring around the world to fans delight. Announcing their first USA tour in over three years back in 2014, the band would hit the West Coast of the country in the Summer of 2015 for select dates, and in September, made their way across to the East Coast for a handful of shows in the New York Tri-State area, as well as Canada. Around for a limited time, the mini tour would see the band arrive in the town of Port Chester, New York at the historic Capitol Theatre on Monday, September 28th, for a nearly sold out show. Last visiting the New York area on August 19, 2010 when they performed at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, the excitement level was heightened as fans traveled from up and down the state for a chance to see Tears for Fears.
Setting the table for the evening was current Tears for Fears backup singer Carina Round. Also hailing from the England region, Round is a talented, charismatic musician who released her debut album, The First Blood Mystery, back in 2001. Since putting out a series of records, including 2014’s Tigermending, Round is best described as a blend of Alternative Rock with a Post-Punk flair. While writing and recording her own music, Round has also donated her voice to Maynard James Keenan project Puscifer on a series of records, including their 2015 single “Grand Canyon.”
Now given the spotlight for a brief set as opener for Tears for Fears, Round made the most of it and engaged the audience with her music. Under a spotlight, Round took center-stage with just herself and an acoustic guitar, at first, catching an unexpected audience off guard, but soon charming them with her soothing, honest voice, singing original cuts like “Put up The Phone,” “You and Me,” and “Backseat.” With a delightful mix of mellow, and sometimes dark music, Round lightened the mood with a variety of jokes that had the crowd cheering for more following her exit from the site. She recently released a new remix record entitled Tigermixes, so be sure to check out her music for something fresh.
Preparing the stage for headliners Tears for Fears, an anxious audience cheered anytime the music playing over The Capitol Theatre sound system faded out, thinking it was time for the show to start. Finally, that anticipation came to a head when the lights finally went down just after the 9 PM hour when Orzabal and Smith walked out with their touring band of Charlton Pettus (lead guitar), Doug Petty (keyboards), Jamie Wollam (drums), as well as Round on backing vocals. Greeted by an enormous welcome of cheers, they wasted no time and went into feel good hit single “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” With Smith on lead vocals, and the music’s rich sound, the acoustics of the theater complemented what was a magical beginning to a night that would be full of fun.
Having everyone smiling ear to ear, Orzabal and Smith also shared in the joy of the room and took a brief moment to greet their supporters. Keeping the chatter to a minimum for the length of the show, they moved on, mixing in a new millennium track with “Secret World” from their last studio album in 2004, entitled Everybody Loves a Happy Ending. A heavier Rock cut, the song fit nicely amidst the classics that came thereafter. Speaking of classics, shortly after, the 1989 hit “Sowing the Seeds of Love” resonated through the air as Orzabal sang flawless. A common theme in Tears for Fears music, talking of peace and love, the track still strikes a chord with insightful lyrics, as well as a positive tone. With the twentieth anniversary of their Raul and the Kings of Spain album looming, it seemed almost natural they would play a song off the record, and they did so with single “Falling Down.” Another more raw Rock piece, the thick guitars and drums lifted high during the chorus that shook the core of The Capitol Theatre.
Taking everyone on a ride to the beginning, they had everyone in a frenzy when they went into 1983’s “Pale Shelter” where the vocal lines were as mesmerizing as the original recording. Following with 1993’s “Breaking It Down Again” and 2004’s album title track, “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending,” the music kept coming at a rapid pace. Not allowing the audience’s interest to dissipate with their even song selection, they wowed even more with synth drenched favorites “Change” and ear-tinging “Mad World.” Sticking with The Hurting a little bit longer, they went into “Memories Fade” where Orzabal raised his hands and voice to the highest as his powerful inflection bounced off the mezzanine above, only to showered the audience on the floor below. Most of all, not only did both Orzabal and Smith sing with tremendous passion, the emotion was clearly displayed on their face, making for a more connective experience with their audience.
Switching gears back to newer songs, “Closest Thing to Heaven” came before Tears for Fears rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” The latter, a song which they have been covering for sometime now, the up-tempo feel of the original is exchanged for a more soulful, mellow rendition, which Tears for Fears make their own. This was the perfect way to flow into other soothing tones of 1989’s “Advice for the Young at Heart” and “Badman’s Song.” Coming from the band’s most successful international record, The Seeds of Love, their influence from The Beatles was even more apparent during the live performance of the songs. At this point it seemed they had already covered every corner of their glorious career, but there was still some tricks up the sleeves of Orzabal and Smith as they closed out the set with one of their biggest hits, “Head Over Heels.” Devoured by the mass of fans on hand, many were seen singing the chorus loud and clear, so much so that both vocals had to smile and adsorb the moment.
Exiting the stage, the packed theater did not have one soul move from their place as they awaited an encore. Naturally, the noise level overflowed to show appreciation for the show thus far, and, moments later, the band took their place back on stage for what could be one of Tears for Fears best songs ever, “Woman in Chains.” Captivated by the inviting sound of the keyboards and gentle drums, the voice of Orzabal closed the deal as everyone stood in silence, fixing their attention on the stage. Assisted by Round for a duet on the track, the performance was nothing less than perfect as the heartfelt lyrics could have brought some to tears. Tugging at the emotions of all, the pinnacle of the night came during the finale when they broke out “Shout.” Clearly a sentiment everyone can relate to, whether it be disenchantment with society, politicians, or even personal struggles in life, the song is as relevant as ever, with every voice in The Capitol Theatre rising to sing along for an epic ending.
Tears for Fears were nothing less than perfection and the fans who made it out to see their performance were in bliss from start to finish of the show. While Orzabal and Smith spread their visits to the eastern coast of the USA out over extended periods of time, each time they do visit, it is an experience to withhold. They have the voices, the songs, and, most of all, the passion to deliver a concert that is second to none. Sadly, the USA tour is now complete with the final two shows held on September 29th and 30th in New Jersey. What does the future hold for Tears for Fears? No one knows, but there has been confirmation that Orzabal and Smith are working on new material, so there is hope they will be back stateside sooner rather than later.