EIGHTIES hitmakers Tears For Fears head for York Racecourse on July 26 when they play the Music Showcase Friday as the climax to that evening’s race card.

The open-air concert forms part of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith’s Rule The World 2019 tour and follows on from Bath band’s first British dates since 2005 earlier this year.

“The scale was much larger than we had ever been used to,” says Orzabal. “To go back and play the O2 Arena and sell it out and have screens behind us, screens above us, to see the audience and hear the audience reaction, people who are now our age, and younger, it just felt like this huge acceptance.

“It’s something Curt said recently, that when you first start out, you get acceptance, then when you’re successful everyone hates you, and now finally coming back aged 57, having toured virtually every year in America, never in England, to get that welcome that we got from all the audiences was absolutely heart-warming.”

Explaining why it has taken so long to return to the British concert platform, Orzabal says: “The thing is, firstly, the whole band apart from me are based in LA [Los Angeles], so the logistics of flying everyone in and putting them up in hotels to play shows in England was always costly. So it was always going to have to be a big tour before we did it. I think we played Hyde Park a couple of years ago and it was 100,000 people; I think people were surprised, pleasantly surprised, by us.

“That was good, and then we put the Albert Hall on sale and it sold out in minutes. Then we did BBC Radio 2 Live special, which is so often on the red button, but people started to realise, ‘Oh, Tears For Fears are alive. Tears For Fears can play their instruments. Tears For Fears sound pretty good. We might have to go and see them!’

“I think that’s what it was, a few odd events over the years. We’ve been very, very lucky with artists like Gary Jules, Lorde, and Kanye West, covering our songs.”

Assessing the impact of artists of this generation paying homage to Tears For Fears, Orzabal has noticing a younger fan base coming to their shows, discovering them for the first time.

“That’s exactly what’s happening,” he says. “In fact, we just played Coachella, which is like the American Glastonbury, as guests of Weezer because Weezer have done a cover of Everybody Wants To Rule The World, and they wanted us to play with them on stage in front of a much younger audience.

“We also did The Jimmy Kimmel Show a couple of days later with Weezer. I don’t know, we just keep getting lucky, I guess.”

Orzabal first reunited with Smith in 2000, but had he ever expected to work together again? “I make music on my own, I produced other artists, and I kind of got sick of the sound of my own voice,” he says. “There was some piece of business I had to do for Curt, and I had completely forgotten about it. I had to go and visit a notary in Bath; it was to do with one of his properties, and he was nervous.

“He thought I’d be a b*****d and not do it, but I did it and then he sent me a fax – in those days we had faxes – and he said: ‘Thanks a lot for doing that, let’s get on the phone at some point’. So, we got on the phone, and he had a mid-Atlantic accent from living all those years in America, and like all of the sort of bad feeling and resentment just wasn’t there anymore. We decided to try and make a song.”

Recalling the first time they sat down together again, Orzabal says: “It was different, because in the old days I used to work on my own, and we were now in LA, it was winter and we were working with a guy called Charlton Pettus, who’s our guitarist now, and had made a couple of Curt’s records. So it was three of us sitting around drinking coffee, not really knowing what to do, until about a week or two when I hit a chord on the piano, and it became Closest Thing To Heaven and we were off really.”

Tears For Fears have been working on a new album for many, many years, reveals Orzabal. “We were going to come out on Warner Brothers. Then our manager, in his wisdom, decided that if we changed label to Universal, they have access to all our old material and we could marry the new with the old, which is what is happening on streaming services.

“They took two of the songs from the new album, I Love You But I’m Lost and Stay, put them on a Greatest Hits and released the greatest hits, for Christmas as you do, and we are now probably two songs short.

“I’ve been working various people, including Mark Foster, from Foster The People, to try and get a couple of news tracks for the album just to finish it off.”

More immediately comes Tears For Fears’ evening at the races in York. “You will know virtually every song that we play,” says Orzabal. “There may be a couple of surprises and different arrangements, for instance, our backing singer Carina Round sings a haunting rendition of Suffer The Children. We do pretty much everything that people want to hear, and it’s excellent.”

Given that Tears For Fears have a played a couple of racecourse shows previously, does Orzabal have any interest in horseracing or has ever placed a bet? “I got very lucky with the Grand National one year, very, very, very lucky! Purely going by name, number, and form and all that kind of stuff. Apart from that, no,” he says.

When Tears For Fears played Leeds earlier in the year, guess where they stayed the night? York! “It was the choice of the band because York is so beautiful. Nothing against Leeds, but York is a special historic city, very much like Bath where we grew up. Seeing flashes of the castle [Clifford’s Tower] as we drove by was very inspiring.”

Good shout, Roland.

Tickets for York Races’ Music Showcase Friday, featuring Tears For Fears, are on sale on at yorkracecourse.co.uk or on 01904 620911.

Charles Hutchinson