Gig review: Tears For Fears and Alison Moyet at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Tears For Fears
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A previous Tears for Fears gig involved standing in a field with 120,000 other dripping souls watching them open Knebworth ’90, the heavens churlishly opting to do precisely the same; Roland Orzabal, visibly soaked, backing musicians sporting an array of waterproofs whilst fearing electrocution.

Only the intervention of Oleta Adams, her final appearance with the band and lured stage front to perform ‘I’ve Got to Sing My Song’; her dulcet tones seemingly halting the deluge, an ensuing plume of steam rising from the packed yet overjoyed field.

Luckily tonight we’re indoors, the prospect of a first encounter with special guest Alison Moyet swinging the deal for this rescheduled TFF show; chance to enjoy a clutch of Yazoo classics being too good to pass up. Needless to say the chanteuse from Basildon, flanked by Paul Jones and Sean McGhee proves spellbinding, stripped back electronic sound perfectly complementing Moyet’s rich sassy vocal, as ever tinged with vulnerability.

Buoyed by the chart success of recent release Other, we’re treated to sultry opener ‘I Germinate’, the expansive ‘The Rarest Birds’ and hard rocking ‘Beautiful Gun’. Informing us she penned ‘Nobody’s Diary’ aged just 16, this Yazoo treasure still sounds as fresh as it did when it first graced the airwaves back in 1983, as do the timeless ‘Only You’, ‘Situation’ and ‘Don’t Go’.

The Bath duo’s current ‘Rule the World’ tour, a first run of UK dates for over a decade, coincides with their latest greatest hits collection. Orzabal’s trademark corkscrew curls, admittedly a little greyer these days, secured in a bun whereas Smith, replete with Hollywood smile and matching Californian tan, resembles a negative of the male half of tonight’s audience. Hitting the stage to Lorde’s cover of ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’, we’re treated to the real thing, leaving one wondering whether they choose to get their signature smash out of the way as soon as possible.

Surprisingly, the opener is the only Songs From The Big Chair track in the main set before closer ‘Head Over Heels/Broken’, these two numbers always feeling slightly out of place alongside the darker, brooding nature of the remainder of the band’s biggest selling album.

Despite an almost three decade hiatus, each hit sounds familiar as ever, unlocked from a tucked away corner of the listener’s head. Predictably, Orzabal, Smith and the quartet of backing musicians are drilled to within an inch of their lives, every number a faithful recreation of the original recording, exactly what the audience wants.

After one from each of the four TFF studio releases to feature both frontmen, the rest of the show is largely divided between their introspective synth-laden debut The Hurting, and supremely elaborate opus ‘The Seeds of Love’, the band’s very own ‘Tusk’ moment, redolent of a then broader shift to a more organic sound, perhaps echoed by some of their peers including Depeche Mode and Talk Talk.

Naturally Roland and Curt are preaching to the converted, for most including yours truly it’s about hearing those first three albums again, played to death back in the day, and heartening to witness continued appetite after all these years.

Finally, an encore performance of confrontational anthem ‘Shout’, serves as the proverbial cherry on the cake for those revelling in their trip back as far as 1982.