Faith No More Reunion

It was 1997 and I was standing in the Paris subway system.  I noticed posters for Faith No More on the walls at many of the stops.  The band had just released “Album Of The Year” and it would be their last studio effort until officially disbanding in 1999.  Upon further travels in Europe and after returning to the USA; I realized how loved this band is/was overseas rather than in their own home country.  FNM was way ahead of their time.  Ignorantly, they are called a one hit rap-rock wonder due to the commercial success of their song “Epic”.  The band didn’t score a major hit after that, but they did get better and better with each subsequent record.  They also got weirder and weirder…in a very good way.  This was a group that was very hard to classify or put a label on.  They drew from a myriad of influences and genres.  In my opinion, they never got “big” because they were too cerebral for the majority of the brain dead American listening public.  Listening to an FNM record requires patience, intelligence, open-mindedness, and a versatile ear.  Whether it was cacophonous instrumentals, metal-tinged riffs, Mike Patton’s vocal acrobatics/lunacy, or off the wall cover song selections; the band always kept you guessing.  Fast forward to 2009 and FNM announced they were reforming and touring.  They played all over Europe, Australia, and New Zealand to hundreds of adoring fans.  However, when it came time to play in America, it would only encompass six dates – two in San Fran, one at Coachella, two in Brooklyn, and one in Philadelphia.  I heard through the message boards that the band would have played more cities, but promoters weren’t interested.  Wow.  Americans didn’t care then and they don’t care now.  How sad.  Another incredible and under-rated/under-appreciated American band gets the shaft by their own country.  Luckily, my brother scored tickets for one of the Brooklyn shows and I was there this past July 4th weekend to witness this monumentous event.

 The show was at a fairly new venue called The Brooklyn Waterfront.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  A huge outdoor stage and in front of it the waters of the East River and the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.  When the sun was setting, Mike Patton told the crowd to look behind them because that was the sight to see.  I can just imagine how awesome the view was from the stage.  A sea of people against a sun dipping into the water and the city that never sleeps.  One of the t-shirts at the merch-booth had “Happy Birthday Fucker” on the front.  A befitting shout out considering it was July 4th weekend.  Here’s the setlist…. 

  1. Reunited (Peaches & Herb cover)
  2. From Out of Nowhere
  3. Land of Sunshine
  4. Caffeine
  5. Evidence
  6. Surprise! You’re Dead!
  7. Last Cup of Sorrow
  8. Cuckoo for Caca
  9. Easy (Commodores cover)
  10. Midlife Crisis
  11. The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
  12. Ashes to Ashes
  13. I Started a Joke (Bee Gees cover)
  14. King for a Day
  15. Epic
  16. Just a Man

Encore: 

  1. Chariots of Fire (Vangelis cover)
  2. Stripsearch
  3. Be Aggressive

Encore 2: 

  1. We Care a Lot

It was a flawless set and I thought it was very balanced across all their albums.  I had seen FNM twice back in the day and on this night they didn’t miss a beat and sounded better than ever.  Mike Patton’s voice is like velvet and at a moments notice it is brutal as all hell.  He is one of the most talented and profound artists around.  The amount of work, bands, and projects that he has been involved in/with since FNM disbanded is very impressive.  It was a joy to watch the left handed Mike Bordin wail on his Yamaha drum kit.  Fluid, precise, hard hitting, yet full of finesse.  Billy Gould’s bass was upfront and menacing.  This guy has always been one of my all time fave four string slingers.  Roddy Bottum (keys/back up vocals) and Jon Hudson (guitar) flanked either end of the stage and held it down.  The cover songs were cheeky and very well done.  The heavy songs were pummeling and rooted in pure Metal.  And the ballads were smooth mellow perfection.  These guys do it all and do it with superior skill and execution.  It was an exhilarating performance and even cooler was the fact that I got to experience it with my three brothers and closest friends – Irfan, Zaid, and Asad.  We had an incredible time and I’m so jazzed to have been able to travel out of town again to see one of my favorite bands of all time.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Chris says:

    I saw FNM four times. All spectacularly good shows.

    1) Early on ‘The Real Thing’ at the Bayou in DC. They were at the bottom of a three-band bill headlined by Voivod and with Soundgarden (equally early on Louder Than Love) in between. That’s how early.

    2) Post ‘Epic’ on TRT at RFK Stadium in DC opening for G n’ R/Metallica I remember standing there with Cindy, still daylight, telling each other ‘the stadium is supposed to do that right?’ as the upper deck literally bounced up and down over our heads as everybody got their buttrocking on during ‘We Care A Lot’.

    3) Sometime between 2 and 4 at the Unicorn in Houston (maybe with Kyuss and Babes in Toyland opening?…but maybe that was Living Colour at the same venue? hmmm.) Hung with Mr. Gould for a bit afterwards being regaled by tales of then label-mate Frank Sinatra.

    4) On ‘Album of The Year’ at Numbers in Houston. Dined with Cindy and the band beforehand. Much pleasant converation with Puffy about organic farming in Northern California. Patton said not 4 words. About 3 songs into the set, however, while in full voice, he whipped out his johnson, pointed it upwards, and took an evidently much needed leak all over himself, with no acknowledgement whatsover that it was even happening. just sang all the way through.

    NONE of this, however, eclipses the music itself. they are one of the few bands ever for which each show, from beginning to end, could simply not have been better. a collective energy forms that successfully eclipses the musicians themselves and creates a new time and place.

    they could truly play forever and I would still be standing there.

  2. Cindy S says:

    I know jealousy is a sin. I will have to go to confession and spend a long time there to counter my jealousy over your trip to NYC for the FNM show. I wanted Chris to take me to Prague last summer to see them when they first reuinited. Needless to say, that didn’t end up working out. ‘m so glad to hear they were in top form. The set list is all that I could have asked for. Sounds like a fantastic show. And I think I have forgiven you for going without me. 🙂

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