Tears for Fears with Garbage at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Last night I went to see Garbage and Tears for Fears at Merriweather Post Pavilion. It was a real 90s throwback in a lot of ways except of course the fact that had it been the actual 90s I highly doubt these two bands would have been on the same bill together. Now they both tap into old people nostalgia all lumped together. I say it’s a 90s throwback concert because it was like the olden days when I first started going to concerts where you would have a single opening act that played for an hour and then the headliner would play for about 2 hours. Now bills are jammed full of multiple acts and even if there are only 2, they start later and it’s rare for the headliner to play for longer than 90 minutes.

It was Father’s Day and I think there were a good number of people in the crowd who were there as a father’s day present as there seemed to be lots of families with kids of all ages from babies to adults. Most of the audience as is to be expected were people approximately my age or older unless they were clearly there with people of that age group. There was one group of three twentysomethings that showed up for Tears for Fears and sat near us and I was like how did you get here?

There was a family inside the pit right up against the rail with two little girls one 13 and one 8. You may wonder how I know this, but it’s because the 13 year old was crazy excited and singing along to every song. The camera people kept panning to her during both sets, and at one point Curt from Tears for Fears talked to her and said I have to know how old you are and said that she’s been down here singing the words to every song, even the ones off the new album and said it was making his night. Then he asked how old her little sister was and apparently their father must have also said his age because he was like I don’t care that you’re 54 sir. But obviously you are raising your children right. Right before the end of the concert he asked her name and again told her that she made his night. What an exciting concert experience for that kid. I love that she’s going to have that story to tell for the rest of her life.

I was less enthused about the tween aged child in front of me who stood and clapped off beat over her head for almost the entire Tears for Fears set. At one point her parents pulled her down and were talking to her and then when she got back up she was just doing more rhythmic arm movements, so I thought maybe they had asked her to stop clapping. I was fine with the arm movements. It was really the off-beat clapping that was annoying me especially during slow songs that did not need anyone clapping along to them. Alas, that did not last long and she went back to the clapping. As a fellow rhythmically challenged human I’m not trying to denigrate that as much as say if you can’t clap on the beat then don’t spend two hours at a concert doing it non-stop. Someone needs to teach that kid how to channel her enthusiasm for the music into some dancing in place. Other than that it was a great night though.

Garbage was the opening band. Shirley Manson was so excited. She was like this is the best night. Things don’t get any better than this if you’re me. The weather is perfect and not the 100 degree heat we’ve been playing in. She said she couldn’t believe how many people came out to see them open. I would say the majority of the crowd was there for their set. I only saw a few people wander through our space in the lawn that were clearly looking for a place to sit right before Tears for Fears played. She said they haven’t played a crowd that big (~19,000 people) in this area since the HFStival back in 1995. HFStival being a big music festival in these parts back in the day that was attached to the radio station WHFS that has been defunct for almost 2 decades now. I’ve seen Garbage play a couple of times around these parts and they were playing in clubs that hold about 1,200 people so this was obviously a huge jump in crowd size as she said.

They were great. Shirley Manson is still the coolest in my opinion. She’s like the person I always secretly wanted and still secretly want to be even though I’m like 100% opposite of her. They of course played all their hit songs along with some other stuff. I had completely forgotten that they had a Bond song until she said they never play it, but that they were going to do it and we should enjoy it because they’re not going to do it again for a long time. They are still such a fun band to see live.

This was my first time seeing Tears for Fears live. I was too young to have seen them back in their hay day. They broke up just about the time that I was going to my first concerts. They have been back together off and on since 2004 and I guess have done some touring in that time, but never around these parts. Last night they said that the last time they played a concert in Maryland was 1990. So it’s not really like I’ve had much opportunity to see them. It would be easy to write them off as a legacy act, but they’re actually still writing new music. This tour is supporting their new album The Tipping Point, which came out earlier this year. It’s actually really good. They played a bunch of stuff off of it along with all of the hits that people came to hear, so I think everyone left happy. I was happy to get both because I do really like the new music as well as their old stuff. Though honestly I could have left happy after the third song when they played “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. It’s by far my favorite Tears for Fears songs and quite honestly one of my favorite songs ever. I fell in love with it as a little kid when it came out and have never stopped loving it. I’m very happy I finally got to hear it live. All in all a great show.

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