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Tears for Fears Review: All Around Me Were Familiar Faces
What happens when Manila's 80s kids congregate at the Big Dome to party like it's 1985?
By: Tata Mapa  |   Published on: May 4, 2010 - 8:30am

The crowd belts out "Saaay that you'll never, never, never, never need it!" in perfectly-timed syncopation

...and not a single one of them looked worn out. At least not on the evening of May 2 at the Araneta Coliseum, where long-time Tears for Fears fans gathered in droves all set to party like it was 1985. The venue was packed to the rafters and it was next to impossible to walk through the corridors without bumping into a former classmate, ex teammate, or someone you met at a party when '80s dance moves had yet to be considered ironic, campy, or (God forbid) retro. A sense of anticipation hung thick in the air, and people beamed with excitement and just a little bit of sheepishness (read: Nakakahiya–I couldn't believe I was swimming in this sea of nostalgia) as they waited to bust out their slicing-of-arms-through-the-air motions. We could only hope that the actual concert would live up to the hype that was nearly two decades in the making. Would they sing all our favorite songs? Would Oleta Adams make a surprise appearance? Would Roland Orzabal spell out T-E-A-R-S-F-O-R-F-E-A-R-S as he danced? By 9 p.m. it was time to find out.

The lights dimmed, and a roar swelled as the familiar yet reworked strains of a haunting, acoustic (and to anyone uneducated–or born after 1990–Lambert-esque) version of "Mad World" floated out to greet us. From the moment Curt Smith (traditionally known as "the cute one") stepped into the spotlight and uttered its famous first lines, the madness commenced. They played right into "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" (only one of those songs at the top of everyone's wish list) and both Curt and Roland came face to face with the karaoke-concert style of their Filipino following. The crowd belted out "Saaay that you'll never, never, never, never need it!" in perfectly-timed syncopation–as one only can when the soul of a lyric has been seared into your heart.

Araneta Coliseum karaoke: Tears For Fears hardly had to sing as the audience supplied the words

A surprisingly buff Roland then addressed the audience for the first time. Visibly overwhelmed by the fanatic reception, he admitted that they should have come to Manila years ago. We couldn't have agreed with him more. The next two songs were from their Everybody Loves a Happy Ending album. "Secret World" and "Closest Thing to Heaven" were far less familiar, but were nevertheless given a rousing round of cheers–possibly due to the revelation of Roland's solid onstage persona. To quote a friend, "He moves like a classic rock god–swaying and using his guitar like it's an extension of his di*k". And for the first time on these shores, Roland Orzabal was slowly but steadily building his reputation as "the hot one." Musically these two songs seemed most linked to the sound of the Seeds of Love album, and they served as the perfect segue into the next number. What else, but "Sowing the Seeds of Love." With the crazily apt, famous last words "An end to need, and the politics of greed," well, needless to say it brought down the house.

Next came Roland's introduction to, "Call Me Mellow," which was a song about approaching middle age (tsk tsk). A playful tune akin to Sixpence None The Richer's "There She Goes" paired with Axl Rose-like outbursts and dry wit, the number prompted many to consider adding Everybody Loves a Happy Ending to their current TFF collection.

Then it was "the cute one's" turn to address throng, starting with the requisite "Mabuhay!" And we lapped it up like a bunch of puppies. Playing the part of the tease, Curt (who looked cut, lean, still quite cute, but a little worse for wear) mused over whether we'd prefer to hear the original version of "Mad World" over a newer one. Hello?! Is the girl swimming in the "Pale Shelter" video wearing a red bathing suit? Our wish was their command and all hell nearly broke loose as the throbbing crowd was once again on its feet just waiting for Roland to break out into his signature TTF moves so that we could finally do the same without shame. But alas, he never did.

They played "Memories Fade" which, just like "Mad World," was from The Hurting–though many wished that they had performed "Change" instead. Things quieted down as they moved on to the newer songs they came to promote in the first place "Raoul And The Kings Of Spain," "Quiet Ones," "Floating Down The River," "Everybody Loves A Happy Ending," "Seven of Sundays," and a slowed-down version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" were all appreciated. And it was good to know that their newer work sounded current, yet still very TFF. But the verdict all around was the same: Cool–but can you please just get to the songs that we've known and loved since we were in grade school/high school/college?

Manila couldn't help but "Shout"

Things finally picked up again when "Pale Shelter" came on and boy, did we give them some love. The anthem-like drum beats of "Break It Down Again" roused the entire audience into a united frenzy and by the time "Head Over Heels" came around our lungs were bursting as the Big Dome reverberated with our collective "Don't take my heart, don't break my heart, don't, don't, don't throw eet away!" The palpable energy had reached ridiculous levels and the band took this opportunity to play the Fake End of Concert Card, leaving the stage as we stomped our feet and called out for more. I mean, how could the concert possibly be over? They hadn't even sung "Suffer the Children," or "Mothers Talk," or "Advice for the Young at Heart" yet. Or "Shout"–the song they always end a concert with.

Tears for Fears Gallery: Photos by Ana Goyena Ching

After just a bit more stomping and screaming, they were back on stage again. Roland introduced the band members, and their male backup singer–promising that said male backup singer was about to shock us with his abilities. The unmistakable opening bars of "Woman in Chains" began to play, sending a flutter though the masses. "No way," we all thought, "he's going to sing the Oleta Adams solos?" And sing and shock he did. The crowd was worked up with a new intensity and let it all rip when the telltale first notes of "Shout" echoed from across the stage. Roland didn't have to shout this song to pump things up a notch. He barely even had to sing it. As each and every voice in the audience displayed a nearly die-hard appreciation for the place this song will always hold in a time of our lives that we never really left behind.

And just like that, it was over. Nearly two decades worth of nostalgia all whittled down to a one hour and forty minute concert. Funny how time flies.

"Doesn't happen very often but.......I'm speechless. Manila, what a night! Thank you so much, we've now officially peaked. Thank you, Manila for being an unbelievable crowd!!"
-Curt Smith on Twitter after joining the ranks of Rick Astley who also realized that Manila is the place to be. Mabuhay, baby! wants to know: What song did you wish they played but didn't?

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  • olivia
    I just love Tears For Fears, too bad I was not in the Philippines when they came. I love Curt Smith to pieces!
    May 30 2011 @ 02:27pm     Reply  
  • cricket 168
    @Soli Bayad: I agree with you but it is really impossible not to sing and dance along. Great review Tata!
    May 19 2010 @ 01:25pm     Reply  
  • TFFpixel
    The awesome backup singer’s name who sang** the Oleta Adams part in Woman in Chains is Michael Wainwright
    May 18 2010 @ 08:29pm     Reply  
  • TFFpixel
    The awesome backup singer's name who shang the Oleta Adams part in Woman in Chains is Michael Wainwright.
    May 18 2010 @ 08:28pm     Reply  
  • TIT
    i just missed half of my life!!!i've been waiting for 26 years and now the time has come i was not in the country to watch it!!!!darn it!!!
    May 14 2010 @ 10:07am     Reply  
  • Soli Bayad
    This was indeed a karaoke night rather than a TFF concert :-( You watch a concert to hear, see and appreciate the artists' performance and not to sing-along with them all throughout the songs!
    May 11 2010 @ 06:35pm     Reply  
  • pierre
    excellent review, tata! i vote for "advice for the young at heart" as the song i would have liked to hear, but "pale shelter" was awesome!

    "i can't operate on this failure, when all i really want to be is completely in commaaaaaaahaaand"
    May 07 2010 @ 01:37pm     Reply  
  • Roland Gal
    Ever since Head over Heels in 84/85 I have always seen Roland as the the "hotter one". And to think he writes most of their songs....then came Break it Down Again (from Elemental without Curt) and I saw he is sizzling. But Curt helps in balancing that strong brew of Roland.
    May 06 2010 @ 10:15pm     Reply  
  • Denise
    From distant Brazil, I read the nice description of May 2 TFF show in Manila and it made me feel I was there! I can almost feel what you people felt, reading all the messages to Curt, his own msg on Twiter and Facebook and, thanks to YouTube, seeing some videos of that night. And I am also learning something about your interesting country. Mabuhay!
    May 05 2010 @ 02:08am     Reply  
  • vixena
    I think part and parcel of the experience was precisely running into old high school friends in the halls outside and giggling at each other. TFF is a shared experience of a time that, as you so aptly said, we never really left behind.
    May 05 2010 @ 01:09am     Reply  
  • Princess_T
    Great article Tata. You captured what we all felt. I am still high from the concert. No words can describe the MANILA Vibe that night. IT was definitely a night to remember.
    May 04 2010 @ 11:48pm     Reply  
  • cherry blossom
    daquiri: is there really a repeat??
    May 04 2010 @ 08:53pm     Reply  
  • igeramos
    80s nostalgia, suddenly I'm 18 again. But I'm a Duran Duran ghel.
    May 04 2010 @ 07:38pm     Reply  
  • Anna_bells
    a repeat on May 10? I'm there! Any way to confirm this?
    May 04 2010 @ 06:48pm     Reply  
  • mary_ann_lei
    Is it true that when audience Korina Sanchez's face was shown on the screen and upon making the L/Laban sign, she was booed?
    May 04 2010 @ 06:04pm     Reply  
  • Daquiri
    for those who missed the concert, i heard that there will be a repeat on May 10, 2010 same venue.
    May 04 2010 @ 06:01pm     Reply  
  • Ting C.
    Nice post, Tata. I could relate to everything you said. Glad to see you seem to be doing well and shame I didn't run into you at the concert. Best wishes anyway and keep up the excellent writing!

    Ting C.
    Publicis AdSchool
    Batch '97 =)
    May 04 2010 @ 05:17pm     Reply  
  • Shoyks
    That sounds like an awesome concert. Come back! Come back!
    May 04 2010 @ 03:55pm     Reply  
  • bambi
    thank you for giving us a blow by blow account of what happened during the concert! i am soo jealous, but also happy for those who were able to see TFF in the flesh. thank God for YouTube!
    May 04 2010 @ 02:43pm     Reply  
  • TFF Fan
    I am so jealous of you guys who had the chance to see them :-(

    I wanted so much to see them both, but more specifically Curt Smith...I'm in love with him!
    May 04 2010 @ 02:33pm     Reply  
  • JV
    Great article Tata!! You really captured the experience! And you were right about Roland Orzabal - his stage presence was awesome... so HOT! His vocal range is still in tip top shape too!
    May 04 2010 @ 01:23pm     Reply  
  • Chie
    Tata!!!! This is an excellent way of putting together everything that I felt that night:) Thanks- hindi ko kasi ma "words." Too bad they didn't sing Advice for the Young At Heart and Mother's Talk. But still, all in all, a super cool night!
    May 04 2010 @ 12:30pm     Reply  
  • quot unquot
    i have always loved roland orzabal more than curt smith..
    May 04 2010 @ 11:25am     Reply  
  • quot unquot
    ahmm... somebody?
    May 04 2010 @ 11:23am     Reply  
  • myra_p
    great article tata, this is exactly how I felt too :)
    May 04 2010 @ 11:13am     Reply  
  • Glad
    It's "Billie" not "Billy Jean". =)
    May 04 2010 @ 10:21am     Reply  
  • Pol
    Bitin! But they really looked overwhelmed by Manila's reaction.
    May 04 2010 @ 10:17am     Reply  
  • Tanga ko
    arrrggggh sounds like it was so much fun! i'll never forgive myself for missing it!
    May 04 2010 @ 09:54am     Reply  
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