A night of European mysticism filled Abravanel Hall when Tears for Fears stepped into town Thursday. The music held all those who attended in a dreamlike trance and had them cheering and dancing in the aisles.
The mixed audience that filled the hall erupted into deafening applause when the house lights dimmed. A Spanish aura was emitted from the small candelabra and satin cloths that were strewn as backdrops on the stage.Tears leader Roland Orzabal and his band - which featured co-writer/guitarist/keyboardist Alan Griffiths - played a dynamic two-hour set that featured many songs from the new album, "Raoul and the Kings of Span," and filled the gaps with other tunes from earlier albums. There were not, however, any hits played from the band's first album, "The Hurting."
Still, with such radio-friendly singles as "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and the obligatory (and somewhat vocally weak) "Shout" from the smash album "Songs from the Big Chair," the band could not go wrong.
Newer cuts included the pulsating "Sorry," "Sketches of Pain" and "Falling Down," as well as the whoop of the title cut from "Raoul and the Kings of Spain."
The audience cheered for more as Orzabal slung around his guitar during "God's Mistake" - an ode to lost love - and "Woman in Chains" from the album "Seeds of Love."
Tears even gave a tribute nod to Led Zeppelin as the band ripped through the intro of "Lemon Song," during the final bars of "Don't Drink the Water."
An elaborate light show highlighted the set with roving colored spots, flashing strobes and smoky back lighting, which seemed to frame the band as Orzabal gestured to and serenaded the audience with "Humdrum and Humble."
The energy level rose during the encore when the band re-emerged and pumped out the moody "Elemental" from the album of the same name. And after an acoustic reprise of "Raoul," Orzabal grinned and the band pounded out the Beatles-like "Sowing the Seeds of Love."
It fit having Tears for Fears at Abravanel Hall. Orzabal and his band played well and tight, and the acoustics, although the bass at some points did drown out the rest of the mix, carried the music well.
Aside from no songs from "The Hurting," another major gap in the set surrounded the absence of the hit "Head Over Heels." But no one appeared to mind. All the tunes, whether old or new, contained the staple Tears style and Orzabal's baritone brought things home.
Opening the night was a 45-minute set by newcomer Amanda Marshall. Deep blues and Midwest rock blended well under her command as she belted out tunes from her self-titled debut album.
"Fall from Grace," "Dark Horse" and the single "Birmingham" were some of the songs this restless, soulful Canadian performer sang. The moody "Beautiful Goodbye," the carefree "Sitting On Top of the World" and the driving "Let It Rain" were among the other spicy ditties sung.
Marshall apparently developed her delivery and stage presence in the Janis Joplin school of stance. He whipped her head like rock 'n' roll's Iron Lady and captured the raspy vocals with chirpy enunciation, though not as gritty.
The set seduced the crowd with soothing arrangements and energetic singing. Marshall was the perfect opening act for Tears for Fears. Next year, she should do the headlining.