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Saturday Deluxe / 28 October 2017


Curt Smith and SDE Editor Paul Sinclair after last nights RAH show

Live Review: Tears For Fears play triumphant show at the Royal Albert Hall

Thirty two years after they last played at London’s Royal Albert Hall and 12 years after their last headline show in the capital, Tears For Fears returned to West London last night to entertain an ecstatic capacity crowd with a 100 minute set that included all the hits and more.

24 hours on from their In Concert performance at the BBC Radio Theatre and with a newly announced 2018 UK and Ireland tour, there is definitely a feeling of momentum right now, especially since the new single I Love You But I’m Lost remains on the ‘A-list’ of BBC Radio 2’s playlist and the Rule The World greatest hits is only a couple of weeks away from release.

Last night’s setlist was effectively an expanded version of the one-long shows they have been playing of late, and everyone was on their feet almost immediately after Lorde’s version of Everybody Wants To Rule The World faded from the PA system and made way for the actual Everybody Wants To Rule The World, played live. It’s quite unusual for a band to perform their biggest hit right at the beginning of a show, and my theory is that the Roland and Curt aren’t necessarily as keen on this rather atypical TFF song as many of their fans and are quite happy to get it out of the way early! It also helps that they have their other US number one Shout in the back pocket for encore duties.

I thought the sound mix was an improvement on the what had been achieved at the BBC and the atmosphere was incredible. I’ve been lucky enough to go to quite a few shows at the Royal Albert Hall in the last few years, but can honestly say I haven’t seen a reaction like this. People were standing up and cheering virtually the whole way through. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Because the evening was about Tears For Fears’ fans and not fans of Hall and Oates, or The Killers, or whoever, the band could dip slightly more deeply into their back catalogue and pull out a few gems. The title track of their last studio outing, Everybody Loves A Happy Ending is a case in point. It starts out (in my wife’s words) “like Pink Floyd” switches to stompy, parpy, psychedelic pop and then has a brilliant middle section which is pure early solo McCartney (“The darkness of the day...”). Please hand a P45 to the compiler of Rule The World who chose The Closest Thing To Heaven above this (they were both singles).

Another undoubted highlight was Badman’s Song from their third album, The Seeds of Love. That song is a thing of beauty. A highly complex, eight minute album track that was received last night like a hit single. Woman in Chains was equally impressive – one of two tracks played as an encore (you can guess the other).

The joker up Roland’s and Curt’s sleeve is the difference, musically, between the songs on The Hurting, Songs From The Big Chair and The Seeds of Love. The joy and exuberance of Sowing The Seeds of Love live is a thrill, but a concert just full of songs like that probably wouldn’t work. Cutting into the set with the intensity of The Hurting tracks, especially Memories Fade – possibly the best thing they ever did – really keeps the blood pumping. Of course, it helps that their debut delivered angst and hits. Mad World, Change and Pale Shelter (all played at RAH) were consecutive top five singles in the UK.  For all the world-dominance of Songs From The Big Chair, they never managed to repeat that again in Britain.

Talking of which, we just got the three big hits from Songs, albeit Head Over Heels did segue with Broken (they’d skipped that at the Beeb).

One very obvious omission was the new single, I Love You But I’m Lost. Only Tears For Fears would not play their new single at a concert and it perhaps demonstrates that despite the aforementioned ‘momentum’, the boys from Bath are still capable of being a bit contrary and not playing the game. Alternatively, it could be just bad timing. Certainly, when I saw Curt after the show, he told me that they just hadn’t had the time to rehearse it. He also confirmed that the plan is to release the new album in Spring next year. No word on the Seeds of Love reissue though!

In 2018 Tears For Fears will play Arenas around the UK and Ireland with Alison Moyet in support. You can read details of the dates (which go on sale on 3 Nov) on their website.

The Rule The World greatest hits is out on 10 November. Read more about that here.


Bye, George. SDE reflects on the career and achievements of George Michael

SDE ChartWatch George back at number one

Congratulations go to Sony and George Michael’s team for getting the reissue of Listen Without Prejudice to number one in this week’s UK album charts.

For any reissue to get to number one is a rare achievement. The BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band did it in the summer of this year, with sales of around 36,000 units (across all formats) but George eclipsed even that landmark album, since Listen Without Prejudice sold 56,000 copies.

A combination of music fans still mourning George’s death, coupled with well-timed broadcasts of the new Freedom documentary and the airplay that Nile Rodgers’ reworked Fantasy achieved were all undoubtedly contributing factors to the success.

The Smiths / The Queen is Dead / 3CD+DVD box setThe media were busy comparing this to Pink’s album at number two (LWP sold 20,000 copies more) but the better comparison is The SmithsThe Queen Is Dead, which entered at number ten. Both are available as four-disc box sets and both are priced around the £30 mark. No figures have been released for the The Smiths, but I’d be surprised if it achieved sales of more than about a quarter of Listen Without Prejudice. Still not bad given that Morrissey and Marr aren’t actively promoting it.

Another reissue of note was The Jam‘s 1977 box set which entered the chart at number 49

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57 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 28 October 2017

  1. Ian Hicks says:

    Paul, I was there last night, and I’ve seen hundreds of gigs over the last few years, many at the RAH and I have to say for me it was one of the best. I was front row at Wembley for the Seeds of Love tour and I didn’t quite top that but last night was special I think, because it’s been so long since they last played here. For me Badmans Song was a true highlight and from where I was sitting in Stalls M, the sound was spot on!

    • Ian Hicks says:

      Sorry should have said ‘standing’ which I waa all evening, unlike some of the boring old darts around us

    • Nuno Bento says:

      Ian, I was at Stalls M too and stood and sang and screamed my lungs out al the way through. It was really one of the best concerts of all fucking time.

  2. Bruce says:

    Thanks for the TFF review, Paul! Sounds like it was a wonderful show. Hopefully the Seeds deluxe edition will finally be released at some point next year. Ideally at the same time they will reissue the deluxe editions of the first two albums as well. Both are going for ridiculous prices on eBay.

  3. Alan says:

    I watched the Tears For Fears concert on the BBC Red button. I was quite shocked at how Curt looks. He looked like a singing skeleton, so gaunt and nothing like he looked in the 80s. Contrasts with Roland who basically looks the same as he did in 1989, only older.

  4. Bruce says:

    A nice review of last nights Tears for Fears show. I too have been too a fair few shows at the RAH over the last few years and last nights was the first time I have seen people literally cheering and singing all the way through.

    The sound was excellent, the band were very good and both Curt and Roland sounded to be in very good voice. It was a surprise to hear ‘Everybody wants to rule the world’ first, but if they aren’t keen i can understand why. ‘Shout’ as the final song was perfect. Loved to hear ‘Secret World’ too. Lovely bit at the start of ‘Shout’ with Roland going into the audience.

    A triumph…

  5. Schu says:

    Damn, that sounds like a great show . . . Glad you were able to be there and experience it! Bring on the new album!

  6. mike says:

    They are contrary b*ggers as their interview with Fearne Cotton during the soundcheck for the R2 show showed, Roland was monosyballic and gave Fearne nowhere to go with the questioning – which she rather pointedly commented on the next day – not playing your new single is equally as strange, as the momentum can ebb as quickly as it arrives.

    Fantastic that George made number one, shows how missed he is and what a fine album it was. Fantasy in the singles chart at #49 too.

  7. KevinK says:

    Sales figures for last week (from Music Week):
    George Michael: 56088
    The Smiths: 6530
    Pet Shop Boys: Yes #37: 2515, Elysium #44: 2233
    The Jam: 2136

  8. Pierre says:

    And what about a real european tour? I mean, included countries outside UK ;-)

  9. Paul Murphy says:

    Morrissey and Marr might not be actively promoting ‘The Queen Is Dead’, but Amazon have had it as one of the lead promo items on their CDs & Vinyl page for quite a few weeks now. Hopefully The Jam might shift a few more copies this week on the strength of their 2 blistering numbers on BBC4’s ‘TOTP 1977’ and ‘Punk Britannia’ shows last night.

  10. Pete says:

    Excellent show last night. Acoustically superb. My only surprise was the omission of Mother’s Talk.

  11. Alan B says:

    Morrissey is opening two pop up shops next month (London and LA) and they are going to be selling 200 (100 in each) test pressings of the new LP!
    I have been noticing a trend recently where a lot of artists are selling “test” pressings on their website at very high prices. It’s just a new way of fleecing the punters. The clue is in the title. They are supposed to test the quality of the pressing and traditionally were pressed in very small numbers which meant they were highly collectable. 200 copies? There is no way they need 200 plus copies to test the quality of the pressing.

  12. Eamonn says:

    Is Musicweek worth the subscription fee? Can you scroll back through years to see album sales for an artist in the charts on any given week?

  13. Timothy Harrison says:

    Is it me or does Curt look unwell?! Old certainly, but painfully thin…

  14. baward says:

    I love Tears For Fears but after listening to all of the Songs From… I am all ‘Shout’-ed out! Too much of a good thing, so it’s great to hear a new song from them.

    Was Oleta Adams there for ‘Woman in Chains’?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      No

      • Chris Squires says:

        I went to see Peter Gabriel in late 2013 at the 02. I wouldn’t have normally made the effort, but a good friend asked so I went. I remember praying harder than I had ever prayed since 1977 when I wanted my lost Saab Top Trumps rally cars card to not be missing….I was praying that secretly that Peter had negotiated with Kate Bush to come along and just do one song. Just for that night. The suspense followed by disappointment that made me realize that I would NEVER see Kate bush in the flesh let alone EVER play live.

        I just wondered if anybody had ever been at a gig where a superstar duet was made real….you know that moment….Ladies and gentlemen….Mr……Elton……John…..
        Did Sting ever pop his head up at a Dire Straits gig for a chorus of “I want my MTVeeeeeee” Did anyone here ever see it if he did?.

        Some duets just need the original and right voice. The Scandinavian girl who was with Peter that night was obviously a great singer, But no Kate Bush.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          The male backing singer on Friday who was standing in for Oleta on Badmans Song and Woman in Chains was AMAZING. He had incredible range, especially at the high end.

        • Daran says:

          Well, I was there the night Elton John walked up on stage to duet with Prince during the purple one’s o2 residency. Also, Dave Grohl came up to do a song with Macca the night I went to see him on his Out There tour. I don’t quite qualify for a prize though, as I have no real love of either guest and had not dreamed about it! But I was there on the 2nd night of F Mac’s o2 stint when Ms McVie came up to join them for the first time since The Dance prior to her rejoining the band recently. That qualifies I think……

        • James says:

          Kate had been there, done that, with Peter 30 years ago…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6eR83sKmkY

          • Chris Squires says:

            Call myself a fan? I had no idea that this had happened. There is ALWAYS something to learn.

            Thank you James. I got goosebumps this morning. If that had happened to me in 2013 I think I would have missed it anyway as I would have been unconscious on the floor.

            Thank you Thank You Thank you.

          • Paul Sinclair says:

            Coincidentally, I was at Steely Dan last night at the O2 and someone in our group was at that gig! Envious!

        • Leslie Hanagan says:

          Yes Chris he did. It was The Princes Trust Charity Show on the ‘Brothers In Arms’ tour. I think Pete Townshend was also a guest that night.

  15. Hello Bongo says:

    Curt looks pretty darn good for a 50-something 80s popster in that picture. As Timothy Harrison and “Alan” are so image conscious perhaps they’d like to post pictures of themselves here so we can see how they measure up next to him?

  16. Dave H says:

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the review, away in Orlando at the moment so couldn’t attend the TFF show or apply for tickets for the BBC gig. My prediction from earlier in the year still looks good – new album 2018 and SOL 30th anniversary deluxe edition 2019.

  17. Shaun Hey says:

    Was also there on Friday night in Stalls M along with the boring darts, like you Ian we were standing/dancing for most of the show. This was the first time we had seen them live and when we read the flyer on arrival advertising the 2018 dates we were unsure if we would be making the trip to our local venue, Bournemouth, however we now cant wait. What a fantatsic night, Bad Man’s Song being one of many highs.

  18. Colin Harper says:

    Not playing your current single on tour? I think the Mahavishnu Orchestra trump TFF by 42 years – touring Britain/Europe in Jan-Feb 1975 and not playing a note of their new single ‘Can’t Stand Your Funk’. Thereby not allowing their concert audiences the chance to agree or disagree.

  19. Colin Harper says:

    …forgot to mention, that Mahavishnu tour also included the Royal Albert Hall. Spooky… :-)

  20. John says:

    Badmans Song and Woman in Chains were the highlights for me – thought the backing singer did a fantastic job on those two in particular.

  21. jon stevens says:

    Paul looks good in the photo ;-)

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Haha Please…keep me out of it!! :) Agree with the earlier comment, let’s not be unnecessarily rude, Curt was a nice guy, happily agreed to the photo, so I don’t want to see him ‘abused’ as a result…

      • Kauwgompie says:

        Always thought Curt looks super healthy. He seems someone who really watches what he eats, only organic, etc. I wish I had that discipline. Keep it up Curt and I hope to see you in NYC one of these days??

  22. John Lloyd says:

    I once asked Tanita Tikaram why she hadn’t played the lead single off the album she was touring (which if memory serves was We Almost Got it Together from ‘The Sweet Keeper’. She looked dead puzzled as if she’d not even thought about it, and said it would have meant bringing a brass section on the road with her. It really was a case of single, schmingle.

    • Gisabun says:

      Many bands/artists will work around the brass section. Some use a recording. Others “modify” the song to work around it.

  23. Andy says:

    Saw the “RAH show” (caption to photo) in the RSS feed, and excitedly thought this might be a post about a Rah Band reissue/SDE. I wish there was a Rah Band reissue/SDE.

  24. Andy says:

    Interesting to see these really positive reviews of the RAH show. Was considering getting a ticket for next years shows until the radio 2 concert, although the music was great I thought the vocals, especially Curt were poor. what were the vocals like at the RAH ?

  25. Colin Harper says:

    It’s interesting that some 80s pop artists have managed to make it to a kind of Indian summer/career revival involving deluxe box sets and RAH-type shows – special event sort of stuff – like Tears for Fears, whereas others have fallen into doing a few songs on 80s nostalgia tours.

    What’s your take on that, Paul? Is it down to basic talent in the first place or more career decisions over the long-term – i.e. choosing to stay away from the public for long enough, and having the long-game will to do that, to warrant then managing a kind of higher profile ‘comeback’?

    Maybe there are others doing lower-level gigs who *could* have had TFF-like reboots of careers had they held their nerve (or had the financial ability to do so) and stayed away from live performances for long enough. I could have imagined the Human League, for instance, creating a real buzz around an RAH-level comeback IF they had staywed away from lower level gigging for the past 5-6 years.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I think the likes of Tears For Fears are wealthy enough that they haven’t really had to engage much at what you call a ‘lower level’. They did some presumably lucrative touring in the far east in recent years, but the vibe I get is that it probably has to be a big pay cheque to get them up and out of the house! :)

      • Colin Harper says:

        I imagine if Talk Talk wanted to make a comeback they could do it at the RAH level – after years of mystery and enigma. Unless I’m out of touch and they’ve actually been playing Dave’s Bistro in Bognor every Thursday night for the past year…

  26. Daniel says:

    Sounds like a great show! I’m jealous that the UK will get to see them with Alison Moyet. Great bill!!! I saw TFF open for H&O in Nashville and was kind of disappointed. Sound was not good, though moments like Memories Fade and Creep cover were excellent. I was surprised that Curt took so many lead vocals. I saw them after Big Chair and after Raoul (sans Curt). The sound quality of both shows was much better than this year (could have been the venue). I agree with Colin that a Talk Talk reunion would be amazing (but VERY unlikely).

  27. Klaus says:

    I was lucky enough to see TFF perform on the original Seeds Of Love tour in, i guess, early 1989 at the Sporthalle in Cologne. The show was amazing, included of course only songs from their first three albums and was not only opened by Oleta Adams but naturally she played piano and sang on the main show as well. Would be great if they would come to Germany again next year but i doubt it, given that i don’t think they would be able to fill bigger venues over here.
    As for Talk Talk, i don’t see that happening either, because if my memory serves me right, standing on stage in front of audiences seemed to be seriously damaging to Mark Hollis’ mental health.

  28. Todd R. says:

    Never been to a “bad” TFF show….Looking fwd to the new in 2018…..perhaps the Anniv. of 30 years on in 2019 means we get the SOL box?

  29. Alan Wilson says:

    Just bagged my tickets for Glasgow this morning, long time fan of Tears For Fears but I’ve never actually seen them before, crazy I know for someone who does so many gigs. Managed to get 3rd row from the front as well, so we’ve got a tasty view.

  30. Neil McLaughlin says:

    Hi Paul thanks for letting us know about the tour would never have got a ticket otherwise and managed to get a ticket for Glasgow the Armadillo is a great venue probably about a quarter of the size of the other venues always wanted to see TFF and now I am

  31. Shaun says:

    I saw them when they were called Graduate, supporting Judie Tzuke on her 1980 UK tour.

    • Chris Squires says:

      Wow, how great is that! On a similar note I saw the Q-Tips around the same time (maybe just a bit earlier), by accident I was only 12 or 13 when they played at my eldest sister’s college and I just happened to be visiting. Been a lifelong Paul Young fan ever since. Hindsight is fabulous. In my mind it has become a greater event than it ever was at the time, I just wish I could have appreciated it more, there and then.

  32. Matt says:

    Does anyone know where I get the pre sale code from? ordered the best of album but never got any code

  33. Julian H says:

    “Only Tears For Fears would not play their new single at a concert”

    Hey, Status Quo have quite a habit of doing that…. :)

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