Tears for Fears reach ‘Tipping Point’ at Philly show

The iconic group are currently on a world tour supporting their latest studio album

Legendary synth-rock duo took the stage Wednesday night (June 21st) at TD Pavilion at The Mann Center outside center city Philly. This week of shows marks the last week US dates on their Tipping Point world tour before heading to Europe.

Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith began the show with “No Small Thing.” And indeed, it is a pretty big thing to have this group together for their first headlining trek in five years. In 2017, they shared top billing with Daryl Hall and John Oates.

This time, they are headlining solo while supporting a new album, Tipping Point. Several songs, including the title track, were a part of the set. The new songs fit in well with classic Tears For Fears: equal parts prog-rock, soft-rock, and full of life as only Curt and Roland (they insisted on using only first names during the show) can create it.

Roland pointed out early on that their 19-song setlist spans five decades of music. While Curt pointed out that the album release and tour were delayed two years because of, well, you know. Their catalogue is expansive and the feel to each song deliciously unique. Curt took lead on hard rocker “My Demons.” While Roland had a soft and nuanced touch during new song “Rivers of Mercy.”

The most poignant moment of the night was “Suffer the Children,” sung by featured vocalist Lauren Evans. A solo spotlight and a tender drawing of a child in a fetal position highlighted Evans’ sorrowful vocal. The number spoke to me personally as an only child.

The stage set up for this tour deserves mention. A circular screen several stories high in diameter with was held in place by a truss with a a ring of lights around it. That ring of lights danced to each song, creating unique and dimensional patterns on the large white circle. Two more trusses on each side, packed with lightbars and Veri-Lights radiated out from the center like the rays of the sun (and sometimes blinded like it, too.)

Of course, there was plenty of room in the setlist for fan favorites. The crowd seemed shocked to hear “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” so early. Later on, a string of mellow songs was broken up by Tears For Fears’ high-octane rendition of “Mad World.” But the song most associated with the group was saved for last. It seemed as if the famous refrains of “Shout” would never end. And the crowd didn’t want to stop letting it all out.

The longevity and consistency that Tears for Fears has had throughout their career is unmatched. Not only have they performed together in each of the last five decades (give or take a break or two), they have stayed true to their musical style — even amid label pressure to work with younger producers and writers. As Curt Smith put it, “We decided it is okay to be our age.”

Tears for Fears wraps up the US leg of their Tipping Point World Tour with a trek up the Northeast this week. The last North American date is June 25th at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater. Million-selling rock group Garbage is the opening act.

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Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.

Email: matt@themusicuniverse.com

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