Live Review: Tears For Fears, The Mann, Philadelphia, 21st June, 2022

Tears For Fears, putting the flat earthers to bed

TEARS FOR FEARS does not get the same respect that THE HUMAN LEAGUE, NEW ORDER, and DE{ECHE MODE get, because, unfortunately, due to constant album delays and dramas, they have produced little over the past 30 years.

However, The Tipping Point, their first full album in almost a generation, has finally came out, and it was worth the wait. Please ignore 2004's Everybody Loves A Happy Ending, as that was the true "revival" album, nearly two decades ago. However, Happy Ending sounded more like a hippy Beatles concept album. A huge disappointment to those old fans that know Tears For Fears for one thing: brooding new wave and synthpop.

Their first two albums are spot on classics. 1983's The Hurting laid out the blueprint of their sound and 1985's
 Songs for The Big Chair cemented it, with some synthpop classics. Somewhere during 89's Seeds of Love, they drifted into smooth jazz and improvisation, akin to THE THE or even TALK TALK.

A great album is their 1996 b-sides collection, Saturnine Martial & Lunatic, that should be considered a canon album. The dark synthpop and Berlin school tracks akin to THE ART OF NOISE or even TANGERINE DREAM shines here. Older fans grew up with the Depeche Mode synthpop similarities in Tears, before they reshaped themselves into a 60s throwback act.

I for one enjoy all the synth sounds and breaks found throughout their tracks. I enjoy tracks like "Gas Giants" and "Mr. Pessimist" on 1993's Elemental. If only Roland and Curt could craft albums more about synths and drum machines, they would definitely have taken more of a revival point of view against Depeche Mode.

Nonetheless, their new album does flirt with a good many synth lines and interesting musical tangents. Although short, at just over 42 minutes, there is some memorable tracks like "Long, Long, Long Time," "My Demons," "End of Night" "Master Plan" and "Stay."

The sad part is that this album should have come out in 2007!

I had the chance to see them live at The Mann in Phaildephia on June 21st. GARBAGE opened up for them, and I must say, I didn't expect the 90s Alt-Rockers to be any good at all, although the nostalgia of 1995 hit "Stupid Girl" was enjoyable. Even more embarrassing was that an old guy was sitting right next to me, as Garbage sung about "I'm queer." Right after, someone in the audience screamed: "LGBTQ my nuts!!"

But onto the headliners, Tears for Fears. I took a lot of pictures. Here are some of them.

Roland and Curt spent time playing the new album, and paid little attention to the tracks they constantly get pestered to play. "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" was the third song, and "Shout" was the last. My favorites honestly were "Bad Man's Song," "Change," and "Break It Down." Everything else was a mix from the new album and other singles.

The light show was fantastic. There was a theme based around a circle. I guess that makes sense, as they namechecked "the World" a couple of times and the band's logo is a sun.

The Tipping Point defintely has a softer sound. "No Small Thing" does not mimic the nostalgia of what they have done before. However, the title track does feel like something off of Songs For The Big Chair.

"Break The Man" has a nice dreamy alt-rock sound that can pass as "2000s"-esque by today's standards. But a better highlight is "My Demons," as it sounds like something Dave Gahan sung on Delta Machine.

"Master Plan" and "End of Night" have special synth hooks willing to grab your attention for a bit. The album concludes with "Stay" that feels more like an indie-tech ballad à la THE POSTAL SERVICE.

It's good to know Tears for Fears is still alive. The two decades without an album feels almost isolated. They have been resting on their laurels for too long, but The Tipping Point feels like they are back in business and might even put out another album without waiting for a couple more decades to go by. 

I hope they go back to their electronic roots and record some moody KRAFTWERK songs. Or at least practice the Berlin School type of melancholy found between the good parts of Elemental and Raoul. The hippy rock stuff gets on my nerves, as it totally does not feel like something they should aspire to be.

Revenge of Riff Raff
24th June, 2022

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