Live Report - Faith No More - 24th June 2009, Kaisaniemi Park, Helsinki, Finland
Live Gig
Live Report

Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Aleksie

Eleven years after one of the most versatile and “out there” rock bands ever to make it considerably big initially called it quits and just about the same amount of time since they last toured, the masters of genre-slalom, Faith No More, returned to grace Europe. I was fortunate enough to catch the mighty FNM on it’s reunion jaunt of European summer festivals and select headlining gigs when they made a stop of the latter kind at the Kaisaniemi Park in Helsinki.

Seldom have I seen the kind of dedication from fanboys and -girls alike then the ones that rushed towards the prime rows as the gates of the park were opened on this sunny Wednesday afternoon. A clear sense of celebration was brewing within the colourful crowd, which was only amplified by the very stylish stage set of the backline surrounded by large red curtains that made the stage look like that in a large outdoor theatre.

The Finnish prog rock veterans Waltari and CMX plowed through very pleasing warm-up sets but were adequately quick to exit the stage as the anticipation for the re-conquering heroes was mounting higher than a thousand stacked RV’s. Finally, one by one they came: Mike Bordin on drums; Billy Gould on bass, Jon Hudson on guitar; Roddy Bottum on keyboards – the instrumental section of Album of the Year was fully present as they started to dabble with something shocking – not even their original material!

Well, if you gotta choose one band in your life to do covers, make it Faith No More. The crowd was cheering already when the first few bars of Peaches & Herb’s 70s soul-hit Reunited had been played, but the expected eruption came when the man with the inhuman vocal machinery, Mike Patton, hobbled over to the microphone in a delightfully self-ironic manner – with the very apparently necessary aid of a walking cane. His voice was so smooth and sleazy while doing the opening cover song that coupled with Bottum’s equally nice croon, the song was simply filthy – filthy good! Most of all it was fantastic hear the band sing in unison how they were “reunited and it feels so good” and they genuinely looked real happy being there playing and saying as the song mandates.

After this sultry opening it was a headlong dive into the band’s vast back catalogue. From Out of Nowhere and Land of Sunshine (one of my personal favourites) was a lethal one-two-punch that got the blood streams open real good. LoS was also the first song where Patton started to exhibit his wide array of vocal effects from the howling laughs to the pig squeals and salesman-pitches. His semi-opera in the bridge was sheer magnificence. To think that this was just the beginning of the versatility…we’ll one just had to think. On sheer stage presence and charisma the guy could’ve cheated his way through the set, thrashing around like a maniac, but no. He sings what he wants. The softer clean vocals were spot on in Easy and Just a Man. The beatboxed couple-o-minute-cover of this latest flash in the pan-song, Lady Gaga's Poker Face, was hilarious and actually lead well into Chinese Arithmetic. Clearly a case of "cover topping the original". The harsh shouting in Caffeine, Surprise! You’re Dead! and Cuckoo for Caca (adore those organs, by the way) were intense as hell. The raps in Epic still didn’t miss a beat and seemingly just for the heck of it, he sang Evidence entirely in Spanish. Anybody wanna give the guy a vocal challenge he can’t beat?

While the man on the mic understandably stole the show, props must be given to the “players” as well. Bottum and Gould took part in some brilliant between-songs-banter that showed that they aren’t taking themselves too seriously at all – a very commendable quality in my books. I also have to admire Mike Bordin’s eternal dreadlocks. They were very visibly grey but dammit if they didn’t otherwise look exactly the same as over 15 years ago in the old FNM-videos or during his stint in Ozzy’s backing band. They grey actually makes them even a little more majestic.

Speaking of majestic, that is the only word of their encore-starter. Who would come up with mixing Chariots of Fire with an original tune and make it work? Faith No More. The Vangelis-classic, a little rocked up, segued wonderfully into Stripsearch for a beautiful, atmospheric number. This was followed by what I thus far have noticed was the tour premiere of Digging the Grave. My neck is still feeling those shakes. Not to leave their glory too early, the fierce fivesome came back for a second encore with I Started a Joke (yup, the Bee Gees-song) and wrapped it all up with We Care a Lot. All in all, I don’t care too much for the tunes from the two pre-Patton albums, but in the live setting, they worked pretty fine as well. Here’s the complete set list for completists:

1. Reunited (Peaches & Herb cover)
2. From Out of Nowhere
3. Land of Sunshine
4. Caffeine
5. Evidence
6. Poker Face-intro/Chinese Arithmetic
7. Surprise! You're Dead!
8. Last Cup of Sorrow
9. Cuckoo for Caca
10. Easy (Commodores cover)
11. Ashes to Ashes
12. Midlife Crisis
13. Introduce Yourself
14. King for a Day
15. The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
16. Be Aggressive
17. Epic
18. Just a Man

19. Chariots Of Fire-intro/Stripsearch
20. Digging the Grave

Encore 2:
21. I Started a Joke (Bee Gees cover)
22. We Care a Lot

Overall I would deem the show phenomenal. The band played brilliantly, Patton is still the man when it comes to vocals across the board, the sounds were surprisingly good for an open space (kudos to the mixing crew) and even the occasionally rigid Finnish crowd was seriously into it, even if the singalong-parts of Midlife Crisis could’ve gone a bit better collectively. Setlist-wise, I thought the gig was nearly perfect. If anything, I would've taken Chinese Arithmetic and Introduce Yourself out and replaced them with A Small Victory and Take This Bottle. Uuuh, and added a third encore with RV closing the show. But now I'm getting greedy. Awesome setlist as it was, definitely.

It would really seem a crime if these guys don’t end up in the studio with some new music. It seemed so much fun for everyone! It can’t stop here! For the sake of everyone not-European, I hope that Faith No More will at least tour somewhere else as well within the year or so. If you get the chance to go and see them – Do it! Do it now!

Killing Songs :
All of 'Em!
Aleksie quoted no quote
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