Review by Adrian Peel with Photography by Michael Sibbons

Two iconic acts of the 1980s – both of whom looked and sounded great – treated enthusiastic, nostalgia-hungry London fans to a heartwarming trip down memory lane in the grand setting of a packed out O2 arena, performing timeless classics that certainly got the crowd on their feet.

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Up first was Alison Moyet, looking younger than her 57 years. Backed by a keyboard player and a drummer, the smoke machines and the 80s-esque background display happily evoked memories of Top of the Pops, circa 1987.

“It’s a complete delight to be here,” said the star after opening number, ‘I Germinate’, adding: “This next song is a song I wrote when I was 16,” ahead of Yazoo’s ‘Nobody’s Diary’ from 1983.

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Alison’s vocals were solid – and her dancing was very entertaining too – as she ran through songs which have definitely stood the test of the time. “Now you can shuffle like it’s 1982,” she said, before performing another Yazoo tune, ‘Situation’. Further highlights included ‘Love Resurrection’, the gorgeous ‘Only You’ and Alan Partridge favourite, ‘Don’t Go’.

Taking the stage to Lorde’s bleak version of ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’, the two Tears for Fears main men, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, also 57, followed their three-piece backing band – a keyboard player, guitarist and drummer – out from the wings. They were joined by female backing singer, Carina Round, and all were dressed in black.

The band launched into their worldwide smash from 1985, ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’, one of this writer’s favourite songs of all time, and it was an absolute privilege to hear it played note perfect and ‘in the flesh’. It was followed by the very enjoyable ‘Secret World’ from 2006, and then the sextet wheeled out another stone-cold classic, ‘Sowing the Seeds of Love’, from 1989, which featured snippets from the memorable video on the screen behind.

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Looking sprightly and full of energy, his long hair tied back, Orzabal noted that the O2 was “the biggest venue we’ve ever played in the UK” and expressed both gratitude and his and the group’s pleasure at being there.

After such an impressive opening three-song burst, some of the other tracks lacked the same ‘punch’, although a great number of the still-dancing ‘die-hards’ would clearly disagree with that opinion.

‘Everybody Loves a Happy Ending’ has a pleasant ‘Sgt Pepper’-era Beatles vibe about it and ‘Change’ is likeable enough, although they’re not quite up there on the same pop perfection pedestal occupied by ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ and ‘Sowing the Seeds of Love’.

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‘Mad World’ was powerful and ‘Woman in Chains’ was utterly sublime, while Carina Round was given the chance to unleash her beautiful voice on ‘Suffer the Children’. Smith commented on a recent study by Goldsmiths University which concluded that “watching a live show is better for your mental health than doing yoga” (there may well be some truth in that!). “What about performing a live show?” asked his musical partner of nearly 40 years. “No,” came the response.

After the band had gone off stage, a section of the audience began singing the chorus of ‘Shout’, a number one hit all over the world in 1984. “What’s that you were singing?” inquired a humbled Smith, after he and the others had come back out for the encore. The crowd began singing it again, the trim singer/bass player describing the moment as “really special” as he took a photograph with his phone to send to his two children in the US, where the band still regularly tour.

‘Shout’ was the final song of the evening and its infectious chorus and explosive accompanying pyrotechnics ensured no one would have left the venue unhappy. This tour, postponed from last year, is Tears for Fears’ first tour of the UK in more than a decade. Judging by the reception they received, it’s pretty safe to say that it won’t be that long before they’re back again, as new generations continue to discover their music.

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