Gig Review: Tears For Fears at Leeds First Direct Arena, 9th February 2019

I’d been looking forward to this one for a long time.

I first became aware that Tears For Fears were doing a tour when they appeared on the Strictly results show during the 2017 series. To my disappointment, I couldn’t get tickets at the time (see my longwinded story about that here), but when the tour was postponed from 2018 to 2019, my ticket hunt had a happier outcome.

A major bonus was that Alison Moyet was supporting. I’ve loved her stuff since I was a kid, ’cause Mum and Dad had her Singles compilation and used to play it in the car all the time. As such, I made sure that Geth and I were at the venue promptly, ’cause I knew it would take a while to get in (security at big arenas has been understandably beefed up ever since the Manchester attack, so it takes longer to get into gigs these days).

(There was a bit of unintentional comedy thanks to Geth’s utter astonishment that this huge concert arena had ‘suddenly appeared’ in the middle of Leeds! He spent a lot of time in Leeds when living in York between 2000 and 2004, but the First Direct Arena was only opened in 2013.)

After grabbing a Tears For Fears badge pack from the merch stand (I love badges and have collected loads – I need to do something with them at some point) – we found our seats and settled in for the show!

Alison Moyet
Alison Moyet. Gig photography only semi-blurry for this one ’cause we had quite good seats!

Alison Moyet’s set had been advertised as an electronic set, but overall it was probably a fifty-fifty mix of Yazoo classics and her more modern blues-type tracks. I would have liked to hear more of her post-Yazoo ’80s electro stuff, but I really did enjoy the modern songs even though I wasn’t familiar with them, so I can’t complain.

My absolute highlight was obviously Only You. It’s one of my favourite songs of all time, to the extent that I walked down the aisle to it in 2012. Getting to see Alison Moyet perform it live was a really, really special thing for me.

Alison Moyet setlist:

I Germinate
Nobody’s Diary
Do You Ever Wonder
Beautiful Gun
All Cried Out
The Rarest Birds
The Sharpest Corner
Situation
Only You
Love Resurrection
Don’t Go

An interval and some more drinks later, it was time for the main event!

Tears For Fears
Tears For Fears. It was so awesome to see these two live!

Tears For Fears were doing a shameless greatest hits set – signalled from the start when they came onstage to Lorde’s cover of Everybody Wants To Rule The World and then launched into the original version – and they have a lot of hits, so there were very few tracks I didn’t recognise. It was all enjoyable singalong numbers from start to finish, which was exactly what I wanted to hear.

It’s hard to choose a highlight, but I’m going to go with Mad World, which has been a favourite of mine for decades now (it was on the first ’80s nostalgia playlist I created back in the ’90s, and I remember in 2003 trying to convince my brother that the original was better than the Michael Andrews version). Again, it was such a nice moment to hear it live at long last.

Unusually, there was only one track played as part of the encore – but it was Shout, and it went on for ages, so it was a suitably epic finale!

Tears For Fears setlist:

Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Secret World
Sowing The Seeds Of Love
Pale Shelter
Break It Down Again
Everybody Loves A Happy Ending
Change
Mad World
Memories Fade
Suffer The Children
Woman In Chains
Advice For The Young At Heart
Badman’s Song
Head Over Heels
Shout

Overall a great gig to start the year’s live music, and it will take some beating. A bonus was that Geth was really impressed by the First Direct Arena, so he’s now very happy to join me in my endless ’80s musical indulgence when bands play in Leeds. We’ll be back there for A-ha in November!

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