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Paul Mann: Tears for Fears Mixes Up ‘80s Mega-Hit Magic

English pop duo play for a sold-out crowd in the Pacific Amphitheatre

The English pop duo that is the heart of Tears for Fears brought their 1980s mega-hit pop magic to the Pacific Amphitheatre in Orange County, which by their own account was their sixth appearance at the venue since 1985.

The band played a triumphant two-hour set to the large, enthusiastic crowd on hand. The 8,000-or-so seats in the venue were sold out, and the large general admission lawn area in the back was opened to accommodate the overflow crowd.

The band wasted no time launching into the ‘80s hits, opening with “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” from their 1985 album Songs from the Big Chair.

The band released three albums in the 1980s, all of which were huge platinum-selling hit records. The Hurting was released in 1982, with the mega-hit song “Shout.” This was followed by their 1985 album, and a third album released in 1989, The Seeds of Love.

After their phenomenal success in the ‘80s, singer and bassist Curt Smith left the band and settled in Los Angeles, becoming an American citizen. His partner, singer and guitar player Roland Orzabal, continued touring with the band into the 1990s, but the magical harmonies between the two were missing and the band fell out of favor with most music fans.

The pair reunited in 2000 and recorded a new album, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, in 2004. This album spawned the band’s first hit single since the 1980s, “Closest Thing to Heaven.”

The band played a pleasing version of the hit as well as a few other songs from the last album. But it was the mega hits from the ‘80s albums that fans flocked to the outdoor venue to hear, and they were not disappointed.

As the group toured through 18 songs, including a double encore, the gleeful crowd sang, danced and shot bubble guns toward the giant stage, with hundreds of tiny bubbles glistening in the massive lighting array. Two huge video screens kept the crowd on the back lawn engaged with a close-up view of the band, and the gargantuan sound system fed thunderous sound to the very back of the venue.

The band finished their two-hour-plus set, about 10:30 p.m., with their biggest hit, “Shout.” A small choir of young girls was brought on stage to help sing the chorus, but they were mostly drowned out by the audience — most of whom sang along to one of the most beloved anthems of the ‘80s.

It may have been 27 years since Tears for fears first played the Pacific Amphitheatre, but with crystal clear vocals and a tight new group of talented musicians, Smith and Orzabal sounded as fresh and as optimistic as they did on their first tour.

Tickets to the concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre include admission to the huge Orange County Fair adjacent to the Amphitheater, and even a free ride on the Ferris wheel.

The last concert in the fair series will be Friday, Aug. 11 and will feature none other than Duran Duran.

Setlist

Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Secret World
Seeds of Love
Change
Call Me Mellow
Everybody Loves a Happy Ending
Mad World
Memories Fade
Closest Thing to Heaven
Falling Down
Advice for the Young at Heart
Floating Down the River
Badman’s Song
Pale Shelter
Break It Down Again
Head Over Heels

Encore

Woman in Chai
Shout

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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