Review: Tears for Fears at Red Butte

Who comes to Tears for Fears concerts at Red Butte Garden?

The people behind me in line spent most of their time talking about how, though self-employed and wealthy, they worry when they feel like their bank account is too low. I really wanted to turn around an make an “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” reference. Then, the guy who set up his blanket behind mine kicked my wine glass into the walkway and when I asked him why he did it, he said it was because he thought it was trash—and I guess that’s what we do with trash in a garden environment. I really wanted to turn around and make a “Mad World” reference.

Middle-aged privileged people behaving badly, ladies and gentleman. We become what we hate most in the world. And these are the people who sold-out this show in 10 minutes when tickets went on sale in April.


So, it seemed fitting that Lorde’s haunting version of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” filled the air last night before the headliners took the stage. Perhaps it was a nod to youth—the only people who can really pull off angsty (take note, neighbors mentioned above).

Or maybe the opposite is true and it was meant to serve as a reminder to the crowd that Tears for Fears is still relevant—as the original emo-pop group—a point that was both made and unmade throughout the night.

And so, when Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith took to the stage last night, singing along with Lorde to what was arguably their biggest hit, only to follow their walk-on music with a live version of the real thing, the crowd went wild. It was a rocky start. Orzabal’s voice seemed about an octave higher than I remembered it and his harmonizing with Smith seemed less seamless than before, except when members of their four-person supporting band joined in to smooth out the edges.

Both Orzabal’s voice and the harmonies seemed to be hit-or-miss throughout the night, leaving me to wonder if the real problem was not the band, but in the sound booth—even after Orzabal made a reference to his “hay fever medication,” so allergies may also have contributed.

For their part and despite technical problems, Tears for Fears left no hit unsung and tore through their catalog, to the crowd’s delight. “Sowing The Seeds of Love,” “Break It Down Again,” “Mad World” and “Pale Shelter” all made appearances during the main set, along with a slowed down and super-downer of a “Billie Jean” cover. They closed their set with “Head over Heels”—which had the best sound quality of the night—but without the payoff of the shouty “Tiiiiiiiime fliiiiiiiiies” lyric at the end, in it’s stead, an encouragement for the audience to sing it. They then returned to the stage for a one-song encore of “Shout.” And they finished the set with 45 minutes until the city’s noise ordinance took effect.

Lorde would have played until 10:30.

Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy is a former managing editor at Salt Lake magazine. Though she writes about everything, she has a particular interest in arts and culture in Utah. In the summer months, you will find her at any given outdoor concert on any given night. In the winter, you will find her wishing for summer. Follow her on social media at @whynotboth.

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