June 27, 2023

Tears for Fears played Madison Square Garden

Following 2022's The Tipping Point, the first new album from Tears for Fears in eighteen years, the band has continued to tour in support of the record and made their first-ever appearance at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.

The legendary synth-pop rock duo Tears for Fears has been making hit records for forty years and despite going to number one in the U.S. and abroad and cracking the top ten just last year, the band had somehow never played the world's most famous arena. The night started off with the folk-inspired "No Small Thing" from their latest record, a surprising move from a band so entwined with the electronic elements of the '80s that was backed with black and white images of running horses and stark white lighting that played up more of the traditional English musical notations and not so much the empowering synthetic hums of their aching hits, but quickly the band progressed into the the groove that felt much more fitting. Their smash "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" made an incredibly early appearance in the set (too prematurely in my mind) and immediately raised the stakes of the night. As the undeniable riff began to echo out across the arena, the crowd gathered and rose to their feet in a unified joy, the elasticity of the guitar melody holding reeled things in tight and kept everyone engaged with pure delight. The chorus soared and the lights dazzled as one of the best tunes from the '80s created a rush as the breakdown hit with absolute synth-pop nirvana that revealed the highlight of the night, one that wouldn't be felt again until the very end of the show. "Rivers of Mercy" was another new track that reinstated the band's groove and brought more catchy moments to the night before the band jumped into their history, explaining how they stared out in a heavy metal group before parting ways only to be united later in their teen years due to the power of the synthesizer which opened them up to the god of electronica. From there, the band dove into "Mad World," their early hit that helped register them as big names in the genre and set them up as one of the biggest bands in the U.K. The rest of the show was dedicated to some of their older and bigger numbers like "Pale Shelter" and "Break It Down Again," a track Roland recorded under the moniker in the '90s after Curt Smith had parted ways that still reached the top of the charts. The main set ended with the radiant "Head Over Heels," a track with yet another undeniable hook that pulled everyone in and gave the band another chance to display stunning kaleidoscopic moments on stage. For the encore, the band returned and delivered "Change," from their 1983 debut record The Hurting, which again had everyone on their feet waving their arms and cellphones in celebration. As the opening bells of "Shout" began to loop to create the iconic opening to the track, we once again reached the emotional heights from earlier in the evening and the band cranked things into full gear for one more epic moment from their landmark album Songs from the Big Chair. After four decades, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith still have a knack and a passion for delivering moving songs that capture massive emotional moments that feel timeless and we're lucky enough to be able to see them bring those tracks to life and to see their joy of being able to do it in such a remarkable room was something rather special.

Set list:

01 "No Small Thing"
02 "The Tipping Point"
03 "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
04 "Secret World"
05 "Sowing the Seeds of Love"
06 "Long, Long, Long Time"
07 "Break the Man"
08 "My Demons"
09 "Rivers of Mercy"
10 "Mad World"
11 "Suffer the Children"
12 "Woman in Chains"
13 "Badman's Song"
14 "Pale Shelter"
15 "Break It Down Again"
16 "Head Over Heels"
17 "Change"
18 "Shout"

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