For the first time in their 30-something-year history as a band, Tears For Fears finally stopped over in Tulsa last night for an explosive career-spanning set. Setting up camp at the historic Brady Theater, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith (along with a little help from their band and Carina Round, who doubled as opening act and backing vocalist) ran through 16 songs in quick succession, touching on nearly every part of their impressive discography.
As the lights dimmed and Lorde’s booming cover of Everybody Wants to Rule The World blasted out of the sound equipment, a nearly sold out crowd rose to their feet to greet the band for their first show in Tulsa. Things immediately took a turn down the greatest hits path, the band picking up their original version of Everybody Wants to Rule The World just as Lorde’s version ended. From there it was straight on to Secret World and then the very Beatles-esque Sowing the Seeds of Love, setting the pace for the rest of the evening.
For the most part, Tears for Fears kept arrangements of their material close to the original recorded versions. Classics like Pale Shelter and Mad World reminded the audience of just how many big hits these guys had throughout the years, and the band couldn’t have sounded any tighter than they did. Vocally, both Roland and Curt were on point, trading off lines and harmonizing perfectly with each other. Roland seems to have absolutely no problem still nailing the falsetto sections of songs as they pop up, and the crowd seemed pleasantly surprised each time this happened.
The guys also had a secret weapon in tow — Carina Round, also known for playing with Puscifer, served as the band’s female backing vocalist. She had also served as the night’s opening act with a small but engaging acoustic set, but it was her vocal performances during Badman’s Song and Woman in Chains that really sealed the deal. What a voice.
While Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Shout are typically the two tracks most people think of as Tears for Fears most memorable songs, it was Head Over Heels that seemed to get the absolute loudest reaction of the night. You couldn’t shift your eyesight more than an inch without seeing someone singing his or her heart out, something that surely means so much to a band who’s been around for so long.
The band also pulled out a solitary cover – Radiohead’s Creep. Performing the track with far more emotion than Thom Yorke’s robot heart is capable of these days, Roland and Curt broke the song down into a much less aggressive version, slow but incredibly powerful. A peek at their setlists proves this happens frequently, but it still surprised the audience, who quickly started singing along after gasping at the realization of what the band was playing. It was a pretty great moment in a show filled with great moments.
The band doesn’t seem to tour extensively these days, but with several shows still lined up and even a few festival appearances (including last weekend’s Bonnaroo), fans of the group should make every effort to see them on this tour if they can.
A special note to those lovely TFF fans in the front row who let me get in their way for the first few songs to nab photos. Thanks so much.
Check out a few more selected photos followed by our full gallery: