It has been two years since Faith No More last played a live show. In fact, most believed that FNM 2.0 (the reunited band from 2008 onward) had called it a day. However, here, in front of ~80,000 people the band were back, and playing live again.
The massive Hyde Park stage was bedecked in white, and lavished with rows and rows of flowers. The band arrived on stage dressed in black. Black trousers, shirts, and Priest dog-collars.
Mike Patton walks to the front of the stage and blesses the crowd as he crosses himself and prays. My immediate thought was, “Is this a funeral for Faith No More?” Certainly the stage setup and clothing suggested it.
The band started ‘Zombie Eaters’ and battled a little bit of ropey sound as the wind picked up. It was soon sorted and by the time ‘From Out of Nowhere’ was ripping across Hyde Park everything was perfect. ‘Epic’ came next giving us an opening trilogy from The Real Thing, an album which is 25 years old this year.
It was hot in London today and the band looked hot, but also looked like they were beginning to loosen up too. Angel Dust favourite ‘Caffeine’ was next, but it was King For A Day‘s ‘The Gentle Art of Making Enemies’ that got the first massive roar from crowd. It sounded ferociously perfect, and reminder of just how many great – and different sounding – songs the band have.
When ‘Easy’ was played Patton quipped, “It’s ok metal heads you can sing.”, and then after the song, “See that wasn’t so bad was it!? It feels like all your balls just collectively dropped.” ‘Midlife Crisis’ and ‘Everything’s Ruined’ were up next, the latter with another amusing quip from Mike Patton, “Enjoying this wonderful holiday right!? 4th of July right? Oh wait, wait, oops. That’s when we kicked your ass!! Sorry guys.”
Later in the set Patton addresses the crowd in a deep devilish voice screaming, “You will all burn in hell.” and other demonic phrases, over and over again. Keyboardist Roddy Bottum chimes in with “Evil spirit I compel you to leave this man….” Patton replying, “The power of Christ compels you. The blood of the Martyrs it is he who compels you. Let Christ command you…” So not so much a funeral of Faith No More as their exorcism then!
‘King for a Day’ and ‘Ashes to Ashes’ bring things almost to a close with the line “…this is the best damn party I’ve been to” seeming more apt than ever in today’s blistering sunshine, as we are witnessing the return of Faith No More.
To finish the set the band play a new song. A new song! They’ve not publicly shared new material in over 17 years. At the start, Mike is at the front of the stage uttering the words, “By the power of Faith No More I bless you.” before turning to the band and saying, “You got any holy water? You guys go on and play and I’ll do this.” as he steals Mike Bordin’s bottle of Evian. The song itself has vocal from both Roddy and Mike and has that signature heavy piano sound.
The band encored, much to the pleasure of the crowd. With dog collars removed Patton walks to the front of the stage and proclaims, “Right the priests are off work, no more bullshit.” before adding, “What do Priests drink mate?” in a heavily affected London accent, before adding “Something stiff!” as he pointed to his groin.
We get a second new song, with the (already classic) lyrics of “Get the motherfucker on the phone.” mostly shouted by Roddy before Patton also sings them in a lower, more tuneful tone. By this point the band look like they’ve been in the sun all day, with Mike Patton looking particularly red and flustered. But that mattered not a jot as the opening bars of the brilliant ‘We Care A Lot’ rang across the park.
A faithful and rocking rendition brought the set to an end and then they were away. Faith No More are back, they’re still as wacky as ever, and the new songs sound crazy, and very much like you would expect from Faith No More. Let’s hope today was an exorcism of the hiatus and not in fact a funeral. Can’t wait to see what happens next.