July 26, 1992 – Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA
I had to sneak out to see my first concert. My parents expressly forbade me from attending what, in my mind, was sure to be the greatest musical event since the US Festival. Forget Lollapalooza ’92. Guns N’ Roses and Metallica were sharing the bill on a North American stadium tour and I had to be there. So, with a good cover story (and a complicit adult) I was able to make the trip downtown with a group of friends to witness the extravaganza. We had to get there early, though, because the opening band – Faith No More – was the act we really wanted to see.
With a new album released just weeks prior, Faith No More (or FNM to the initiated) had proven themselves to be more than a one hit wonder. Angel Dust, their second record with vocalist Mike Patton, solidified the band as the real thing (get it?) and made true fans out me and my mostly mullet-ed cohorts. Combining elements of rock, metal, funk, prog, hip hop, and more, FNM sated the off-beat, idiosyncratic sensibilities of music fans searching for something truly different. I knew all the songs and couldn’t wait to hear them live.
They looked tiny in front of the monstrous stage set up for the headlining groups. Rainy weather had forced equipment to be covered in tarps and plastic sheeting to remain dry, but the band didn’t disappoint. From the opening sounds of “Caffeine” to the gloomy, dejected “Midlife Crisis” to the set-ending performance of their biggest hit “Epic,” the group made the most of their time on stage in front of nearly 50,000 concert-goers. Frontman Patton rolled around on stage, wrapping himself in plastic and flopping around like the dying fish from their music video. I was thrilled to be able to see it.
Click HERE to see the show’s setlist.
July 30, 2015 – Masquerade Music Park in Atlanta, GA
I was even more thrilled to find out that this year they would be touring again to promote Sol Invictus, their first new album since 1997. It goes without saying that much has changed in the 23 years since I last saw FNM perform live. No need to sneak out this time, permission to attend was approved by my wife. (Thank you, Love! I’ve got the twins next time.) One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is my deep appreciation of their music and musicianship. And once again, they didn’t disappoint.
On a stage draped completely in white and strewn with flowers (no joke, the stage hands spent 15 minutes setting out boxes of flowers everywhere) the band took the stage dressed completely in white, as if they were performers at a luau-themed wedding. The addition of a disco ball provided the necessary gravitas to the event and came in handy when they played covers of the Commodores’ “Easy” and “This Guy’s In Love With You” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. But these were mere interludes, change-of-pace breaks, between their catalog of new and old tracks from their discography. Bassist Billy Gould and drummer Mike “Puffy” Bordin provided the framework for guitarist Jon Hudson and Roddy Bottum on keyboard to fill out the Faith No More sound. Vox virtuoso Patton on top of it all showed no signs of slowing down. He may not be flopping around like a fish anymore, but his instrument is as dominant as ever.
This time around, songs like “Midlife Crisis” and “Caffeine” take on new meaning. When the lyrics intone, “Relax, it’s just a phase, you’ll grow out of it,” there is a distinct smirk behind the voice. And when the familiar chords of “Epic” come blasting out, one can’t help but wonder what the reaction would be if they didn’t play it at one of their shows. But the music holds up, it’s aged better than everything else, and is a credit to the musicians on that stage. They likely never will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame like Metallica or Guns N’ Roses, but Faith No More has earned its place in the Pantheon.
See that setlist HERE.
– Submitted by Craig Lentz, Audio Production