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Music DVD Review: Tears For Fears – Secret World (Live In Paris)

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The name Tears For Fears was inspired by Primal Therapy, a trauma-based form of psychotherapy that was created by American psychologist Arthur Janov in the mid-1960s. Janov, and his method, gained tremendous publicity when in 1970 John Lennon and Yoko Ono became his most famous patients. In 1983, Tears For Fears released their impressive debut album, The Hurting, which peaked at #1 on the British charts, and featured some of the heaviest lyrics you may ever encounter. Most of the songs focus on main songwriter Roland Orzabal’s traumatic childhood and the primal therapy he turned to to exorcise his childhood demons.

Secret World was filmed at Le Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, on June 18th, 2005, while the band was on tour in support of their impressive comeback album, of sorts, Everybody Loves A Happy Ending. The DVD is disappointing in that the running time is only 46 minutes, and the production quality is not exactly something to “shout…shout…let it all out” about, but it does feature some excellent performances of nine of the band’s best songs.

The performance includes songs from each of the band’s first three albums, as well as three songs from Everybody Loves A Happy Ending. I really enjoy the music of Tears For Fears and they do a great job at reproducing their often complex and very layered songs live. I was actually expecting some of the live versions to sound quite different from the originals, but with few exceptions, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference from the album versions. That’s a compliment.

They kick off the concert with two of the best tracks from the new album, “Secret World” and “Call Me Mellow,” before following with their unashamedly Beatlesque hit “Sowing The Seeds Of Love,” which is one of my personal favorites. Between some of the songs, Orzabal speaks fluent French to the appreciative crowd, and also interprets for Smith, who readily admits, “I’m afraid I don’t speak French…I’m stupid,” before he takes the lead vocals on “Mad World.” Smith also sings lead on “Pale Shelter,” and although his harmonies with Orzabal sound superb, his lead vocals here are very weak.

They close out the show with the three smash hits from their 1985 breakthrough album, Songs From The Big Chair, which reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard album chart. “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and “Head Over Heels” are pure pop perfection, and “Shout” is a real tour-de-force that was reworked into a more loose and rocking version that is even better than the original.

The picture is presented in 4:3 full screen and is very soft and lacking much detail. It doesn’t help that the performance was filmed in bright sunlight which often shines directly into the camera. There are a lot of different camera angles employed, but most of the shots consist of either extreme close-ups of one of the band members or of someone in the crowd, or these very wide, slowly sweeping, shots of the whole stage; hardly anything in between. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and PCM stereo audio mixes are provided and they are both nicely done. There are no special features included, not even a booklet inside of the case.

Secret World – Live In Paris is a pretty good teaser that ultimately leaves you wanting more. I’d love to see Tears For Fears film a full-length concert at a more intimate venue like a large theater. Let’s get another new album out first, though.

Track List:
01. Secret World
02. Call Me Mellow

03. Sowing The Seeds Of Love
04. Pale Shelter
05. Closest Thing To Heaven
06. Mad World
07. Everybody Wants To Rule The World
08. Head Over Heels
09. Shout

Ratings:
Performance – 7/10
Production – 6/10

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