Fan Life – Reflections by Cindy P.

Planning to travel is an emotional, physical and financial commitment to drop your life and go out to these healing ceremonies aka Tears for Fears concerts for long stretches at a time.

The comforting twist in this year’s plans were the postponed shows were already re-booked and online with lightening speed while many pondered and tried not to panic upon hearing the Good Sir needed some rest. Crazy thoughts went through our heads. People panicked more from “are they okay?” than anything else. Let’s face it…we don’t literally follow this band for no reason. It’s become a rejuvination ceremony as much as it is a love fest of support and dedication. We rather “need” these shows because they are healing as much as they are fun. The mere idea of something happening to a band member can raise one’s blood pressure to levels unknown. If Curt doesn’t tweet at least once a day there’s a note in our inbox…”is he alright?” People care. People. Care.

In sort of a passionate pull toward fandom’s gate, several fans called, reached out, gathered, and some even travelled to Europe anyway, to be together and just wish the guys well…continuously sending happy thoughts. It’s all one could really do.

We often ask others to tell us their raw thoughts after the show. Many times, Andye will sit with fans and write down their words as they wipe off their soaked brows from sweating during the concerts. It’s air conditioned but there’s some other physical thing that takes place, a literal detox of all that ails you. Andye then sits up half the night collecting stories, videotaping and creating digital files from fellow fans and travellers to capture these moments because they are so important in the scope of what this band does and what type of effect they have on their followers and newcomers to their music. We got a chance to ask Cindy P to give us her raw, unedited thoughts about preparing for shows, what it feels like to take a crash course in TFF fandom plus her worries and fears when the shows were postponed. So many may be able to relate. We were shook to the core.

Read her story here…

Why am I even here? …”I Believe

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Why am I writing this?

They asked me to be raw and honest. Am I brave enough to be raw and honest? I marvel at how any artist can really put it all out there. Mr. Orzabal has been particularly honest expressing his own life and emotions both in his music and writing ..perhaps more than he ever intended. Although I think this vulnerability may be the secret to his appeal. It does seem that he closed down a bit after Raoul and the Kings of Spain. When the Tomcats album was released, he claimed in interviews that this one was only about the sound, the lyrics were secondary (or irrelevant? ) “Music that had no meaning. Vocal is part of the decoration” I read somewhere. But if you listen to those lyrics… They are some of the most searing yet. Poor man, I think he had just reached a point where he wanted to be able to exorcise a few demons in private without everyone speculating about what it all really was about. –

Another Postponement
My imagination is running wild about this: what kind of condition leads to a doctor’s order to wait 9 months until you can perform again? I hope this long postponement represents the difficulty of getting all the venues lined up at the same time while avoiding intervening holidays, etc. and not the severity of the medical condition that warranted it. Or maybe they just did not want to miss the royal wedding? Or got tickets to Hamilton?

Emotional Reaction
So I think it is apt to say that this band is taking us along on an emotional roller coaster ride these days. I may be more sensitive because I have been taking a crash course on the band. Having arrived late to the party, I had to do an “audio binge” to absorb over 35 years of creative output. I feel like I have been carried along on the emotional journey of the band at warp speed as a result. I was out to lunch with a good friend a few days after the postponement was announced when Head over Heels started to play in the background. Although I bought Songs from the Big Chair in 1985 because of Shout, Head over Heels ended up being my favorite song. – It is so joyful!.. But that afternoon, I was swept away by a wave of sadness as the opening bars played.

I am going to go there anyway!
I like to travel alone and often have during my adult years, but now it requires far more draconian effort than you might expect. The planning of the actual travel is the easy and fun part. The challenge is getting all the ducks lined up at home. Who is going to watch my children? What events do I have to schedule around? Luckily this year there were no major religious sacraments, or school or extracurricular functions to compete with my time. – I usually have to write several pages of play by play instructions to ensure everyone gets to the right place at the right time. At least my daughters are teens now, so they have to start accepting some responsibility for their own schedules, but it is really is comparable to air traffic control, this balancing of soccer games and dance classes, music lessons and baseball practices and the odd doctor or dental appointment. By the time this tour was postponed, I already had everything organized. That was-way too much work to let go to waste. Besides, I was planning to go overseas this spring anyway, the tour dates just helped me pick which week.

A Pilgrimage
I feel like I no longer go on just a vacation. Everyplace I go to now seems to require some mystical cosmic supernatural relevance- a pilgrimage, an epic journey. Okay, maybe I am just overly dramatic. – This time I felt like I was embarking on a pilgrimage a la the Canterbury tales: I was going to England- and was finally going to make it out of London for the first time and due to a bit of an overcorrection at the orthodontist last month, I even had a new gap tooth smile 🙂

April 27
I only had tickets for two shows: Dublin and Leeds. I was worried that the authorities in Dublin were going to arrest me for that unpaid speeding ticket incurred on my last visit there- but I managed to slip in and out undetected. My outgoing flight was delayed, so I missed my connecting flight in Dublin and ended up in Leeds about 6 hours late. It was a good day to be stuck travelling since it pretty much rained all day anyway and without the stress of crabby spouse and tired children, I did not let it get to me. I did visit the Direct Arena before going out for dinner. The rain had finally ended and the sun was breaking out from under the cloud cover as it descended to the horizon. We ran into a few unhappy campers who, unfortunately, never heard that the concert had been cancelled/rescheduled. “I am not on social media” one irritated woman told me. Apparently, she had even been on the arena’s website earlier that day to check parking or security I presume and saw no indication there that the show had been cancelled.

The next morning, we took a trip to visit the Bronte parsonage. It was a suitably wuthering: cool, windy, and gloomy. I could not help but muse about Roland as a Heathcliff like tragic Byronic hero. I feel like I am being haunted.

Speaking of haunting, my cousin could not sleep that night in her room in the old manor house we stayed in just outside Haworth. I asked her if Cathy’s hand was knocking on the window. She was not amused. I was glad I had taken the smaller room. I needed a good night’s sleep since -I was the one driving the next day- on the wrong side of the road, mind you, (somebody stole the bloody steering wheel!) so I did not need to be worrying about poltergeists, real or imagined. Although being still in jetlag recovery, I probably would not have noticed them.

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May 2-the night of the Dublin gig

Due to previously arranged travel commitments, I still had to go to Dublin that night. In honor of the band, I called up my Tears for Fears playlist (all 101 songs) and listened to it in my car all day: first as I travelled around County Cork, and then later on my drive from Cork to Dublin. I noticed the music sounded different. This was not just due to a different sound system. I realized I was hearing the stereo splits differently. – At home I sit on the left side, but in Ireland, I was on the right. I was noticing detail from the right speaker that I must usually miss.

Interesting to ponder the philosophical implications of this: how does my
experience of the music differ from someone across the pond just because I
sit by the left speaker in the car and not the right?

It has been awhile since I listened to the entire oeuvre straight through like that, and was reminded of the recurrent motifs of water, drowning, being engulfed by waves: Fires, embers and sparks and full on conflagrations; Light and darkness; Butterflies and angels (people who report out of body experiences will often feel as if they were being carried by or were butterflies as they left their bodies).

And now for the raw and honest part…
So why do I care so much about the emotional ups and downs of the members of this band? Ok I t think we all know by now, that the one struggling here is Roland. It is all about the music isn’t it/ The music has touched some deep dark place in my soul and a connection was forged. Sometimes it seems that he is confused by the effect that he has had upon his listening audience. I have recently read a book about the power of music that is aptly called The Power of Music and it tried to articulate what is happening to us when we listen to music. What parts of the brain react and when. Why certain patterns seem to affect us more than others. Is it instinctual? Or is it learned? Like most physiology, it is far more complex than you expect. Has he inadvertently or purposely found some secrets to music composition? Or has he planted some subliminal messages into the music designed to drive otherwise intelligent and rational people into a frenzy?

Emotional reactions to music certainly have a precedent. Women and girls swooned or were driven into a frenzy when Beethoven performed, or even when they played the music themselves (I love the scenes in Room with a View, when Forster mentions the effect playing Beethoven has on his heroine) and there were similar responses in different times and places for Chopin and Liszt. By the 20th century this phenomenon continues: Frank Sinatra, and then Elvis Presley  (“You Gotta Be Sincere”… oh wait that was Conrad Birdie ) followed by the Beatles.

My friends and family, people who have known me all my life, cannot fathom what has happened to me –  and maybe it is just an irrational midlife crisis. But why am I suddenly so interested in this band? Why am I travelling across the country and even the ocean . “How many times do you need to see the same band?” “ Didn’t you already go to that concert?” Although I have pointed out to my questioners that the playlists have been different from one concert to the next. How many times have I heard the Tchaikovsky piano concerto performed? or the new world symphony? Or travelled to see another Matisse exhibit? No one gives me a hard time about that. This is, after all, just another art form.

Is it a midlife crises?. Irrational or otherwise? In keeping with this pilgrimage thing: As I am growing older, and hopefully wiser, I have allowed myself to trust the right brained intuitive side of myself much more. Now I just follow my instincts on some things. I try to resist that need to analyze it all. Okay, so maybe I am still analyzing, but I now throw caution to the wind and do seemingly crazy things that my younger and far more serious self would never have permitted. I am balking at years of scientific training, and have become more accepting of that which is unexplainable of serendipity, of the possibility that somethings that happen might not be just by chance, but that there really might be some unseen forces that will guide us if we let them. I do not think it is a random thing that I rediscovered this band when I did, but that this new interest is serving some, as yet not completely defined, purpose in my life.

I think the emotional journey of Roland’s life- which he has unwittingly and on occasion, unwillingly, opened up to us interests us, not because we are nosy or looking for gossip but due to its honesty. His journey is relevant because this mirrors all our own journeys. Don’t we all have some variant of dysfunction in our lives? I feel that he has proven that one does not have to be a victim of your circumstances. He shows us a way to move beyond a troubled beginning, A way to rise above it all. By honestly defining our feelings, they will no longer control us and in the end we can escape the negative forces and evolve to a better place… I admire his dedication to his marriage and parenting in the face of his own father’s failures. The way he has met the challenge of making something work when you lack an ideal role model. I think I searched his songs for inspiration in managing my own life and in the process found myself just as invested in the outcome of his life as in my own. When his wife passed last year, it almost felt like a personal loss. The day I heard the news, I mounted my bike and took off for the lake front. I stopped at one point and stared out into the vast blue as water met sky and listened to Freddie Mercury sing The Show Must Go On – and it did. Roland bravely returned to America and finished the tour. And I made a pilgrimage to California to cheer him on. My husband shook his head at me: They will be fine without you there, you know. Yes I know, but I guess I just want to be part of the collective.  My yoga instructor likes to include background info at every class and a few weeks ago she shared the concept of Tonglen with us “also known as ‘taking and sending,’ it reverses our usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. In tonglen practice, we visualize taking in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out whatever will benefit them on the out-breath. In the process, we become liberated from age-old patterns of selfishness. We begin to feel love for both ourselves and others; we begin to take care of ourselves and others.”

Tonglen- this may sum up perfectly what I hope we, his fans, just ordinary people who care, can do for him. We can all take a deep breath and help ease his suffering, help him through this tragic time, even if only for a little while.

When I said I was brought here by I believe, it probably is not what you think.
It was almost exactly two years ago, when I was working late one night packing up the contents of a bookcase in a house I sold later that year, that a line from the song popped into my head: “every time you hear a newborn scream, you just can’t see the shaping of a life.” I mulled it over. I don’t think that is what the lyric meant, did it? So I took a break, and went to my laptop and looked up the song. Ahh, there was a double negative that started in the line that preceded it. And as I watched the video that night, a few thoughts popped into my mind 1) they were much younger than I thought 2) that guy singing had a really good voice (I found out later that the audio of the video was different than that version that appeared on the US album, in fact I think in general the power of Roland’s voice was toned down for that entire album) and 3) what ever happened to them? And 4) yes I noticed the physique. But a) he looked a lot like my brother did in those days– (maybe it was the curly mullet and the teeth?) and b) I am now old enough that young man’s mother– so the whole potential visual appeal is sort of ruined for me.

The important part of this little earworm is that it led to a complete rediscovery of the band and the several albums I had somehow missed in the crazy crush of education, career and motherhood. And the postponement of the tour that summer, which I think had just been announced, meant that I was going to be able to attend one of the concerts that was rescheduled for the fall. And since I am an overachiever, I felt an obligation to research the band before making the commitment to attend this concert (because it was going to a pilgrimage in its own right- at a location a few hours from the large metropolis that I call home). So I spent the summer of 2016 working my way through the albums as I drove my children around. And spent evenings, listening to, and sometimes even watching, you tube videos of more recent performances as I worked —just to make certain they still had it. I had been on a search that year for the artists of my generation. David Bowie and Glenn Fry had passed a few months earlier, and I was realizing that the soundtrack of my life had mostly been written by artists who were quite a bit older than me. Where were the artists of my generation? Did I have a generation? I have felt that those of us born in the sixties are really just sandwiched in between other generations. We were really too young be baby boomers and too old to be Generation X. When I discovered the song, Closest Thing to Heaven, that line “act like a generation” really resonated with me. I realized that Tears for Fears was of my and for my generation.

I think it is too bad that the shows did not go on. I had a particularly busy day that Wednesday. I had not even been online all day but when I had to check the status of a meeting that evening I ended up on Facebook looking for a message and was shocked with an alert about the postponement of the tour. It was a cold, gray day and as I walked home, my mind was reeling-. not again? What could have happened?

I found myself seriously worried about his survival. The medical literature has defined the “widowhood effect.” A bereaving spouse has a much greater chance of following his or her deceased spouse. There has been more rigorous research into this phenomenon lately and with better studies and more exacting statistical analyses, they are now identifying gender and socioeconomic predispositions. Men are more likely than women to follow their spouses to the grave. The risk is the greatest in the first three months, but it does still exist well into and beyond the first year And now there is some evidence to suggest that there can be genetic reasons for increased health problems due to grief: mediated by inflammation, affecting the cardiovascular system, giving credence to the old adage “dying of a broken heart.”

I feel like this has already been stated over and over, but ultimately, the most important consideration is his health. We have already lost too many artists in this generation. So I join the ranks of those who will patiently wait for his recovery and hopeful return to his life work. He makes all of our lives better by sharing his creativity and talent.

Cindy P.

*We’re grateful to Cindy for putting her heart and soul out there, displaying her passion for the band. We’ve also collected the details of her refund process and how that went. Email us if you have any questions. It’s good to know we’ve got concerts to look forward to (aka some band time) because they’ve come to mean so much to us and we enjoy the up close and personal glimpses. See you all on the road…upcoming concert dates for 2019 coming right up.

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