Tears For Fears and Alison Moyet
Brighton Centre, touring to Wed
We may have to start being nicer to the Eighties. A new four-disc compilation, Gary Crowley’s Lost 80s (Demon, out Friday), digs up half-forgotten bands such as Pigbag and Funkapolitan to take you back to the days when record shops were not just flourishing but overflowing with quirky talent.
Many better-known names from the Eighties are about to go on the road again, from The Specials to The Human League, Midge Ure and even Blancmange. After decades of elusiveness, Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal of Tears For Fears are doing two UK tours this year, one now, and another in the summer.
They have a classy warm-up act in their fellow 57-year-old Alison Moyet, who started out in synth-pop and ended up in the musical Chicago.
Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith of Tears For Fears are once again touring the UK. Their sound has aged better than most from the Eighties so let’s hope they’re writing tracks on the tour bus
Tonight, accompanied by two blokes with keyboards, she sings songs ranging from the Yazoo classic Only You to The Rarest Birds, a love letter to Brighton and its diversity that could be by Dusty Springfield. Moyet’s voice is so powerful, and her presence so likeable, that she receives a compliment paid to few support acts: a standing ovation.
In another twist, Tears For Fears come on stage to the sound of a cover of their greatest hit – Everybody Wants To Rule The World, as revamped by the New Zealand prodigy Lorde for one of the Hunger Games movies. Slow and spooky, it easily outshines the underwhelming new version by Trevor Horn and Robbie Williams.
TFF follow it with their own take on the same track, which is majestic. Unlike them, it has never gone away, making friends throughout its 33-year life with its soaring chorus and prescient subject matter, from surveillance to the environment. It sets the tone for a show in which angst-ridden lyrics keep turning into great big heart-warming singalongs.
With her powerful voice and likeable presence, Alison Moyet receives a compliment paid to few support acts: a standing ovation
Orzabal’s vocals are impassioned, Smith’s are serviceable, and their backing singer, Carina Round, is so commanding that she could almost be Moyet. The music is crafted and lush, with Smith’s bass and Orzabal’s rhythm guitar bolstered by session men on drums, keys and lead guitar.
Between songs there’s some wry humour. ‘Brighton,’ says Orzabal, ‘how can you afford to live here?’ This may be the first case of a pop star teasing his audience about their wealth since 1963, when John Lennon advised spectators at the Royal Variety Performance to rattle their jewellery.
IT’S A FACT
The name Tears For Fears was inspired by the primal scream therapy techniques of psychologist Arthur Janoy, who treated John Lennon.
‘I was trying to think when Tears For Fears last played Brighton,’ Orzabal continues. ‘I had to Google it – 36 years ago.’ Most of tonight’s crowd would have been around then, but quite a few weren’t even born in the 20th century. Orzabal and Smith have the knack of making songs that are subtly layered while still being direct enough to appeal to kids.
Their sound has aged better than most from the Eighties because it’s steeped in the Sixties and Seventies. Sowing The Seeds Of Love could be a lost out-take from Sgt Pepper, and Mad World would not have been out of place on Aladdin Sane. How did David Bowie not write the line ‘The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had’?
It’s been nearly 15 years since Smith and Orzabal made an album together. Let’s hope they’re writing tracks on the tour bus.
THIS WEEK’S CD RELEASES
By Adam Woods
Bob Mould Sunshine Rock Out now
At 58, former Hüsker Dü frontman Mould turns on the ultra-melodic tap and adds and 18-piece orchestra for good measure. He still reflects on ageing and loss but the tunes are bright and the trajectory ever upwards
Jon Fratelli Bright Night Flowers Out Fri
Fratelli has always had a smart songwriting head on his shoulders and this, hes second solo album, spells it out. These are mournful, stately songs about break-ups and girls with names like Evangeline, infused with country and soul
Ryan Bingham American Love Song Out Fri
Ryan Bingham’s first ambition was to be a bullrider, and he was getting somewhere on the rodeo circuit when music called. His sixth album combines rollicking, rough-edged roadhouse rock and blues and dusty-booted acoustic laments