Monday, July 30, 2007

Tears for Fears blends old and new in stunning show

There were two great things that happened at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa on Sunday night (July 29, 2007).

First, Tears for Fears performed a dazzling mix of old and new material with a sophistication and ease fitting the band's brilliant blend of melodic pop and Beatles-tinged psychedelia. Secondly, all proceeds earned by the group were donated to tour manager Gordon "Gungi" Paterson to assist him with his battle against cancer.

The only magic ingredient missing from the night was an ill-fitting capacity crowd that at times seemed more interested in tossing around beach balls, chatting incessantly and making beer runs than listening to anything but the band's best-known hits.

When Tears for Fears performed at the Pacific Amphitheatre in July 2005, it proved to be a magical night on which Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal masterfully played 75 minutes before an enthusiastic and adoring audience glad to see the duo performing together again. But at more than 90 minutes, this week's longer showcase allowed Tears for Fears to provide a proper look at the group's most recent album "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending," truly one of the best albums of 2004.

To be certain, there were times on Sunday night when the group would break into one of the newer gems such as the joyous "Call Me Mellow" and "Quiet Ones" and a fan of the group would erupt and pound a fist into the summer sky. And when Tears for Fears noted how aptly the title track off "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending" fitted the spirit of the show, it would have been great to see everybody in the audience rise to the occasion.
But it was hits and hits alone that were able to move the masses.

An effective opening with only Smith lit on stage and singing "Mad World" before the entire group burst in with "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" worked well, as did the final five-song stretch when the group playing strong versions of hits such as "Pale Shelter," "Head over Heels" and the night-ending "Shout."

Smith and Orzabal each handled his lead vocals with confidence, but the outstanding harmonies they shared (notably during "Sowing the Seeds of Love" and "Call Me Mellow") and how their roles fit so well with an excellent ensemble around them, seemed to lift the performance to an even higher level than two years ago.

Opener Gary Jules performed a 45-minute set of literate and well-crafted folk rock highlighted by his original tune "Pills" and his best-known song, a sparse reworking of Tears for Fears' "Mad World."

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