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An excellent Box Set but not quite definitive
on 25 October 2013
I bought the original on vinyl in 1983 (and the cassette for the New Version of 'Change'!) and its been a favourite ever since. This 30th anniversary box set won't disappoint... but if you're a long term fan it might (ever so slightly) rankle with what's missing.
The box set: nice A5 cardboard box packaging containing 3 cds and one dvd in card gatefold sleeves (the ones where you have to grip the side of the disc to slide it out, not ideal but ok) nice 'hurting' era fonts and great photos and 2 A5 booklets.
Disc 1: The original album. Exactly as you'd expect, great sound and the picture on the inner gatefold sleeve appears to show Roland recreating the moment the paper arrow speared him in the 'Pale Shelter' video ;)
Disc 2: B-sides and remixes. Would have worked better if they were in chronological order to bring back memories of flipping the disc to hear the b-side but everything you'd ever want is here with the notable exception of 'Saxophones As Opiates' (b-side to the 12" of 'Mad World') - Roland and Curt apparently had track listing approval and didn't want it on here which is a shame. Personal favourites are the original versions of 'Pale Shelter', the instrumental version of 'Suffer The Children' and (who'd have thought it) 'Wino'! Time has been kind to the bastard child of the back catalogue. At the time I thought it was an ironic joke of a song at odds with TFF's cutting edge synth technology and definitely not one to play to impress your mates but its matured better over time (or is that just me?) and really makes you wish they had released more early songs of just acoustic guitar and vocals (sadly no demo versions are included in the box set - do any even still exist?)
Disc 3: live sessions. 4 songs from the Peel sessions and 4 songs from the Jensen Sessions (The Hurting and The Prisoner appear twice and because the recording sessions are weeks apart there isn't a great deal of difference between the two). Also has the live versions of 'Change' and 'Start of the Breakdown' from 'The Way You Are' double 7". They are the only songs in any way connected to 'The Way You Are' that you'll find in this box set. 'The Way You Are' being the bridge between 'The Hurting' and 'Songs From The Big Chair' and, I think, more connected to 'The Hurting' but not a view shared by record company executives.
Disc 4: In My Minds Eye DVD. I remember getting the VHS video of this for Christmas in 1984 and although the computer graphics are dated and sometimes intrusive the overall quality of the production is a lot better than I remember it. The excitement at the time came from the inclusion of new songs 'The Working Hour' and 'Head Over Heels' and despite a repetitive and flat sounding early version of 'Mother's Talk' its a good concert. This concert is very much from 'The Way You Are' period which is ironic as although 'The Way You Are' was part of the set list it was cut from the video!
The definitive concert from 'The Hurting' period is undoubtedly the Rockpalast concert (found on youtube) as that concert features live versions of all of the Hurting tracks ('Watch Me Bleed'!!!! and also 'The Way You Are').
A glaring omission from the DVD are the promo videos for the 3 hit singles (and the hard to find 'The Way You Are'), their inclusion would have made this more of a definitive collection.
Tears For Fears On The Road tour booklet: a reproduction of the 1983 tour programme, a nice curio and typical of all tour programmes with photos but not a great deal of content.
The Hurting booklet: very nicely put together. Some photos were previously featured in the sublime 'tales from the big chair' book but the majority are previously unseen and some are also reproduced in the gatefold sleeves of each disc.
It makes for very interesting reading but it's quite sparse considering Roland and Curt contributed to it. The previous re-issue of 'The Hurting' had liner notes which had a couple of quotes from Roland and Curt on each song. I had hoped that would have been expanded upon here, but most songs don't even get a mention (there is more information in the tour booklet about their support band on their 1983 tour than there is about the majority of songs on 'The Hurting'). I'd have liked to have read more anecdotes from the recording sessions and reminisces from that period of their lives, and also more information about their choice of artwork for single covers and the reasons why the fishnet cover was withdrawn, the story behind Caroline Orzabal's art work on the 'Pale Shelter' reissued single and why the European cover of 'The Hurting' was different to the UK release...
Also why 'Watch Me Bleed' was the song chosen to be dropped from the live set.
The lyrics were on the inner sleeve of the original vinyl but, unfortunately, haven't been included here. Now, where did I put my original vinyl copy?
Overall: a fitting tribute to one of the best and influential albums of the early 1980s.