May 6, 2010

Mad World

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The resident Froggie invited me to join her for a concert tonight.  Tears for Fears were in Hong Kong for the first time, and I thought it'd be good to listen to some of my old favorites live.

As I left the office this evening, I mentioned to my new colleague that I was going to see a concert.  I hesitated about telling her the name of the band, since she was born just a few months before "Shout" was released as a single... I was pretty damn sure that she'd never heard of these guys, and I was right!  Yes, I feel old...

After being on foot in the standing section in front of the stage for more than 45 minutes, the hall went dark and a choir recording of "Mad World" started playing.  When they turned on the lights, I could see Curt singing while Roland played the guitar.  The first thought that came to mind was how old these guys looked... I of course still remember how fresh these guys looked back in 1984, but that was more than 25 years ago... These guys are pushing 50, and then I remembered how old that made me...

The follow up was "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", which got the crowd going early.  They band mixed up the set and played some of the songs I didn't know so well, and the crowd calmed down a little.  A second, more "original" rendition of "Mad World" came and was an instant crowd-pleaser.  One of the surprises of the evening was a low-key cover of "Billie Jean", which we liked a lot.

The band left the stage at the end of the regular set, and the crowd started chanting the chorus to "Shout" as we waited for the encore.  I've never been to a concert where the crowd used lyrics from a particular song was the chant for the encore...  As the band returned to the stage a couple of minutes later, Roland stood in front of the mic and said "Enough!"  Was he cringing at the way we mangled their song, and just wanted us to stop?

I had long given up hope of hearing my favorite Tears for Fears song, which unlike many people isn't "Shout" but "Woman in Chains".  Oleta Adams wasn't here, and I didn't see any female backup singers on stage.  Michael Wainwright to the rescue... I didn't think much of his singing when he was on stage before the main show started, but for this song he sang in falsetto, and the result was pretty impressive.  If I closed my eyes I could almost believe a woman was singing...

The final song of the concert was, you guessed it..."Shout".  The guys almost didn't have to sing any of the chorus, since the whole crowd was chanting it.  It was a pretty good way to end the show, and for the first time during the concert I didn't mind having the crowd around me sing along with the song and drowning out the vocals of the band...

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