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A Concert Review

June 16, 1998

House of Blues

Chicago, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
About a week before going to see Mayfield I was talking to a friend of mine explaining why the House of Blues in Chicago is not my favorite place to see a show. As I found myself there for Mayfield, as I stood trying to get into the music, I realized that the House of Blues is still not my favorite place to see a show. Now, Curt Smith, ex - Tears for Fears dude, and now leading the band Mayfield, doesn't come off as a huge crowd captivator, but he and the rest of the band had just about everything going against them at this show.

First off, it was a Tuesday night. Not that Tuesday nights are bad, but the House of Blues doesn't start concerts until 9PM, usually with an opening band or two, and that leads to the headliner, in our case Mayfield, not hitting the stage until at least 10:30ish to 11:00ish. For the college crowd that might work, but for the working stiffs, I don't care what kind of fan you are, it's tough to see a show, get home about 1:30/2:00 in the morning, and then be up in 4ish hours to get ready for work. So, I'll blame the pretty thin crowd on problem one.

Second problem, especially when the fan-base is thin at the House of Blues, is that a lot of times the place gets the tourist crowd who really aren't there to see the show, but to be able to say they were at the House of Blues. Such was also the case this night, for no matter where I tried to stand there seemed to be a lot of "Chatty-Cathy's" and "Mumbling Mark's."

"Alright, Dude, quit your bitching about the House of Blues. How was the show?" I can hear you saying now. Well, with all of that, I will give Curt Smith and the boys of Mayfield credit for putting all of the distractions aside and continuing on, although a band full of stage presence Mayfield wasn't this night.

Now, people remember Curt Smith for the Tears for Fears stuff, but Curt seems to be trying to keep his identity in Mayfield separate from the old days. This show accented this point. First off, it was a show of mostly Mayfield material, both off the self-titled Mayfield CD out there now, as well as new material they are working the kinks out of before they hit the studio again. Songs like "What Are We Fighting For?," and "Sun King" were well received by even those hoping for a Tears for Fears set-list, but the band lacked that power-punch to knock the crowd off its feet. The new songs are reminiscent of the Tears for Fears days, but with enough of their own originality to keep people from saying Mayfield is just trying to capitalize on the Tears for Fears past.

Now, don't get all in a worrisome mode thinking if you go see Mayfield you'll just be hearing songs you may not have ever heard before, because the show wasn't all about new stuff. Curt still seems to know that his past can't just go away, but he explained that just playing the Tears for Fears songs as originally written would bore him to death - so he added some new twists and turns, namely stripping them down and hitting the songs on a more acoustic feel. The crowd didn't seem to care - and seemed to like them just as much as if he had just played them in their original form, and even the tourists seemed to shut-up for a while and sing along.

This is a tough show to call because the band had so many things working against them, but they continued on, and Curt tried to explain where a lot of things were musically coming from. The new songs are coming into their own, the old Tears for Fears stuff is pretty cool in an acoustic tone, and Mayfield also did a pretty killer cover of "Fake Plastic Trees, although Curt at times had trouble hitting those high notes.

In the end I give Mayfield ONE THUMB UP! The show was good, but just didn't warrant that extra thumb, although I see the potential there. Next time I'm just hoping they don't play at the House of Blues on a Tuesday night.

That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!


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