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’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 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!
Day 20’s Now! compilation was released on 18th November 1991.
I doubt any of the following tracks will be as pleasing as my pompom dress, but let’s have a listen anyway.
Track 1: Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff – Dizzy
Big Wonder Stuff fan – have seen them fairly often – so I really like this cover of the Tommy Roe classic that they did with Vic Reeves. There’s enough folky instrumentals here to make it quite different from the original – good stuff.
Track 2: Belinda Carlisle – Live Your Life Be Free
Vocals are a bit overblown here for my liking, but I do like the track, especially the rockier edge.
Track 3: U2 – The Fly
Urgh, the ’90s, when U2 got boring. Dull tune, repetitive vocals, no fun anymore.
Track 4: Pet Shop Boys – Where The Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)
And speaking of U2…being a synthpop nut, I do actually prefer this cover to the original. Sorry, Bono & Co.
Track 5: Erasure – Love To Hate You
Another solid synth track from Erasure – gotta love that I Will Survive sampling. This is a good example of a sample from a classic tune being used in a track that actually suits it.
Track 6: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Sailing On The Seven Seas
I’m a huge fan of OMD’s stuff, and this is a good solid track, even though it’s not quite as synthy as their earlier work. Great chant-along vocals.
Track 7: Simply Red – Something Got Me Started
I know I said before that the ’80s are my favourite Simply Red era, but this is definitely my favourite individual song of theirs. Great instrumentals, wonderful atmosphere on the vocals, nice upbeat tempo, and that sax-into-piano solo is mega. Love it.
Track 8: Lisa Stansfield – Change
Dreary vocals, boring backing track. Not a fan of this one.
Track 9: Zoë – Sunshine On A Rainy Day
Something about the vocal annoys me here. I’m not keen on the tune either.
Track 10: Salt-N-Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex
This was a favourite for kids in my class to sing loudly in my primary school playground in 1991, probably because it was risque and hence kind of rebellious in the thinking of a six-year-old.
I think it was also popularised by the ‘Let’s Talk About Juice’ version in the Fruit-Tella advert (was it Fruit-Tella? Let me google that a minute. Um, googling was inconclusive, but it did tell me that it was definitely Fruit-Tella that did the ‘I’m Too Juicy’ takeoff of Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy, so I’m fairly sure they must have done this one too).
I will probably end up doing a whole post soon about how advertising doesn’t work in this respect. I remember pretty much every TV advert shown during my ’90s childhood, but I can hardly ever remember what the exact product was that they were advertising.
Track 11: Color Me Badd – I Wanna Sex You Up
Bit of a repetitive one, but I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for it due to it being another one that was used in Britain’s Got The Pop Factor.
Track 12: Kenny Thomas – Best Of You
It’s a nice upbeat tempo, but I find the song a bit dull.
Track 13: Prince and The New Power Generation – Gett Off
Prince is another artist who really went downhill in the ’90s as far as I’m concerned. Not enough melody or joy for me here.
Track 14: Rozalla – Faith (In The Power Of Love)
Nice upbeat dance track, and that sax solo is lovely. Some really interesting instrumentals here.
Track 15: 2 Unlimited – Get Ready For This
‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).
Absolute classic dance track from childhood – played at every birthday party in the early ’90s, often during pass-the-parcel in order to ramp the adrenaline up.
Track 16: Moby – Go
Nice epic atmosphere, though the track is a bit repetitive.
Track 17: The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu – It’s Grim Up North [Part 1]
‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).
This is another alias of the KLF, incidentally. Good brooding dance track, really like this one. That Jerusalem sampling is inspired.
Track 18: PM Dawn – Set Adrift On Memory Bliss
Okay a cappella intro, but then we’re straight into the misplaced sampling of Spandau Ballet’s True with awful spoken word and cacophonic clashing vocals over the top. Just terrible.
Track 19: Paul Young – Don’t Dream (It’s Over)
Utterly pointless cover of the Crowded House classic from a whole five years earlier. Why did people even buy covers like this? Surely the original was still available to buy on an album in the record shops!
Track 20: Enya – Caribbean Blue
Beautiful chillout track from Enya – lovely stuff.
Track 21: Julian Lennon – Saltwater
Really nice instrumentals, though the vocals are pretty dull.
Track 22: Paula Abdul – Rush Rush
Nice tune, but it’s a bit slow for me. Interesting violin solo, though!
Track 23: Jason Donovan – Any Dream Will Do
This was too cheesy for me even as a six-year-old, though lots of my classmates loved it, which meant we had to sing it in music class a lot. Blurgh.
Track 24: Cathy Dennis – Too Many Walls
Again, solid pop, but I’d prefer it if it were a bit more upbeat.
Track 25: Alison Moyet – This House
Obligatory ‘going to see this artist soon!’ squee. Well, if you can count next February as ‘soon’…
Beautiful slow ballad with an epic, dramatic atmosphere and gorgeous lyrics. Hope she plays this one when I go see her!
Track 26: Marc Cohn – Walking In Memphis
Classic, beautiful song – absolutely love this one.
(I even have a real soft spot for the later Cher cover, though that one really is pointless – it’s just this version with Cher’s vocals on top. Anyway, I won’t get ahead of myself in case it features later.)
Track 27: Glass Tiger – My Town
Cheesy pop-rock, pretty generic. Not a fan.
Track 28: Scorpions – Wind Of Change
Lovely epic atmosphere, great rock ballad.
Track 29: INXS – Shining Star
Nice interesting track from INXS – great vocals, good build to the song, nice sax towards the end.
Track 30: Roxette – Joyride
Another great upbeat bit of pop-rock from Roxette – great stuff.
Track 31: James – Sit Down
A classic bit of ’90s indie. When I saw them at Beautiful Days in 2009 they actually finished with this one, which is apparently not at all usual, because being their biggest hit it’s the one they’re sick of. I do like it, though.
Track 32: Voice Of The Beehive – I Think I Love You
Really like those guitar instrumentals, and the atmosphere is great. This is probably the best version of the Partridge Family track as far as I’m concerned – it’s so different and so interesting.
Track 33: Slade – Radio Wall Of Sound
‘Not on Spotify’ Type 1: lazy tribute version substitute.
Slade’s earlier stuff is amazing to me, but this track is a bit rock-by-numbers, though I do like that singalong chorus.
Track 34: Monty Python – Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
Not sure why this classic Life of Brian soundtrack song was back in the charts, but here it is. Pleasant diversion, but it’s a bit ‘novelty’ for me.
Track 35: Don McLean – American Pie
Often back in the charts since its original 1971 release, this is a great classic to end on! Beautiful lyrics, lovely tune, absolutely worth its eight-minute-plus running time.
Now! #3 was released on 23rd July 1984, so hopefully its summer release means that there won’t be any Christmas music on this one.
Track 1: Duran Duran – The Reflex
What was it I said yesterday? Yeah. Insert daily ‘I love Duran Duran’ statement here. This one, as ever, is brilliant from start to finish – the backing vocals, the slightly mad lyrics, the chant-along bits on the chorus. Love it.
Track 2: Nik Kershaw – I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
I find this one a bit repetitive. Not Nik Kershaw’s most exciting song.
Track 3: Sister Sledge – Thinking Of You
Not hugely keen on the disco stuff that was still kicking about in the ’80s anyway, and this one’s not even danceable in my opinion.
Track 4: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Locomotion
Love me some OMD. This one’s a bit bouncier and dafter than their usual stuff, but that’s no bad thing.
Track 5: Ultravox – Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
Good song – that short guitar intro is great, as is the tune in general – but the nuclear-war-themed video is really depressing!
Track 6: Howard Jones – Pearl In The Shell
Nice upbeat intro, nice synth line, nice vocals, and I do love a sax solo! Fairly standard Howard Jones.
Track 7: Blancmange – Don’t Tell Me
Great synthpop track – and I would expect no less from Blancmange.
Track 8: Phil Collins – Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)
Track 10: Grandmaster Flash and Grandmaster Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It)
A good head-nodder, with a great vocal, but not really my kind of thing. I do quite like the fact that ostensibly anti-drug songs were a big thing in the ’80s (especially in comparison to the endless, boring and crass drug references in modern-day chart music), though I’m not sure how tongue-in-cheek this song’s message was.
Track 11: The Specials – Nelson Mandela
Another one that was used to good effect in Britain’s Got The Pop Factor. This one always makes me think of the time in 1989 when my parents took me to the ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ march on Glasgow Green (I still have the badge).
Track 12: Womack & Womack – Love Wars
I wasn’t familiar with this one, but I like the atmosphere of the verse, before the chorus gets a bit haphazard.
Track 13: The Style Council – You’re The Best Thing
I find this one pretty dull, and the chorus annoys me for some reason.
Track 14: Bob Marley & The Wailers – One Love/People Get Ready
Classic sway-in-your-chair track. Love this one!
Track 15: Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
Wonderful synthpop – that stunning intro! A favourite, and also a regular feature of Geth’s DJ setlists.
Track 16: Queen – I Want To Break Free
I’m not going to call this one a ‘guilty pleasure’, ’cause I don’t feel guilty about loving it at all. Everything about it is awesome, from the epic intro to the Coronation Street homage in the video.
Track 17: Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
Now this is a good ballad – nothing dreary about this one. Beautiful tune, lovely instrumentals.
Track 18: Alison Moyet – Love Resurrection
This one reminds me of long car journeys as a kid with my dad’s Alison Moyet CD on the car stereo (I found out last Christmas that my brother vehemently hated that CD, but I really quite liked it). I love Yazoo – as I mentioned yesterday, Only You is my all-time favourite song. I’m not quite as keen on Moyet’s solo material, but it’s still good stuff.
Also, nowadays whenever I hear the lyric ‘show me one direction, I will not question again‘, I always think of One Direction. Thanks, 21st century, for ruining things yet again.
Track 19: The Bluebells – Young At Heart
Another song (following Relax yesterday) that was re-released in 1993 and hence ended up on my Greatest Hits Of 1993 compilation! Maybe it was 1993 that was the first true era of ’80s nostalgia. I don’t blame people for wanting to get going with that as early as possible.
Track 20: Bananarama – Robert De Niro’s Waiting
I quite like this one, but then I’ve never come across a Bananarama track I didn’t like. I remember knowing the title of this song for ages before I actually heard it, ’cause it’s mentioned in the blurb for Love In The First Degree on Now! #10 (we’ll get to that a week from today).
Track 21: Propaganda – Dr Mabuse
I wasn’t familiar with this one, but I like its dark, epic atmosphere and lyrics.
Track 22: Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
Not my favourite Tina Turner song, but I do like the epic vocals on the chorus and the snatches of synth during the bridge.
Track 23: The Flying Pickets – When You’re Young And In Love
It’s no Only You, but still a nice a cappella cover.
Track 24: Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
A classic! A perfect party tune, and then there’s the colourful video, which was one of those videos that really defined the ’80s, with the neon clothing and the Katharine Hamnett t-shirts (appropriately, I’m wearing her more recent Choose Love design today!)
Track 25: Thompson Twins – You Take Me Up
The harmonica instrumental annoys me, and I usually like harmonica. I’m not a huge Thompson Twins fan anyway, but I’m really not keen on this one.
Track 26: The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men
We’re at a wedding reception, and I’m on the dancefloor again! You can’t go wrong with this fabulous party track.
There have been various pointless ’90s and ’00s covers of this one. I’ll forgive them, as it’s always a banger no matter who covers it, but the original is far and away the best.
Track 27: Gary Glitter – Dance Me Up
Um, I’m quite surprised that I’m actually able to stream Gary Glitter on Spotify given what we know about him now, but I’m guessing he doesn’t actually get any of the streaming royalties. Um, right? I should probably look into that.
The song itself isn’t much to write home about, certainly not compared to his early ’70s glam rock stuff.
Track 28: The Art Company – Susanna
The Art Company, in contrast, haven’t put their stuff on Spotify, so I’ve done the uber-lazy ‘tribute version on the playlist’ for this review.
It’s a good song, actually. Maybe I’d better give the actual Art Company version another listen sometime!
Track 29: Madness – One Better Day
Bit of a slow one for Madness! Nice tune though.
Track 30: David Sylvian – Red Guitar
I was only previously familiar with David Sylvian’s stuff with Japan, not any of his solo tracks. This one’s a bit dull, but the instrumentals are nice.
*In my terminology (and, I imagine, that of quite a few other people), a ‘pointless cover’ is one that doesn’t change enough things from the original track to make it worth recording a new version, and is hence just a shameless cash-in. The ’90s were absolutely terrible for this, but it’s happened frequently in other decades as well.