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Faith No More – 21/10/1997 – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney

HockneySun, 24/02/2019 - 12:25

My first Faith No More gig and among the last of the final tour (although we didn’t know it then). Faith No More are one of those bands with more legend than output. Was Courtney Love in the band before they (or she) made a record? Did singer Mike Patton really eat/drink [a number of things at various times] on stage? And so on. Rising out of the LA gutter in the late 80s, they mixed together punk, metal, funk, rap, country & western and indeed any musical form that didn’t run away fast enough. ‘Epic’ was the breakthrough hit, but it was the ‘Angel Dust’ album that took off around the world, and the inexplicable cover of the Commodore’s ‘Easy’ that made them stars and nearly broke up the band.
I’d failed to see FNM at Phoenix Festival in ‘93, having had all my camping gear stolen at Glastonbury and not had a chance to replace it. This particularly sucks as it was the final show with Jim Martin on guitar. After that, I’d been travelling too much to catch concerts. However, when the Australian tour was announced while we lived in Sydney, I bought a ticket despite the loathsome acoustics of the Hordern Pavilion; a massive brick barn built for showing cattle as part of the Sydney Showground. Sydney concert promoters are, it seems only interested in capacity, not quality.
Apparently Shihad were the support band, but I don’t remember them, and can’t say I liked them on record. I do remember that the gig was videoed by ABC for ‘Rage’ and thus I spent too much time watching the overhead camera swinging around.
The band wore suits, which disappointed me, but that was the tour uniform. They started with ‘Midnight Cowboy’, Mike Patton blowing into one of those plastic toy keyboard jobs I can never remember the name of. There were a few songs like that during the night – The Bee Gees ‘I Started a Joke’ which was the final single and a Burt Bacharach song, that night’s recording of which ended up as the b-side. I could never work out if they were taking the piss or not. After ‘Easy’, it was hard to tell.
Then, they crashed into ‘Collision’ and all was good. Patton seemed a little distant and the guitarist seemed disengaged but the rest of the band were having fun. Keyboard player Roddy Bottum especially seemed to be enjoying himself, sending up the massive walls of greasy cathedral tones that made me fall in love with the band.
The sound was a blur. My hearing has its bad moments but this was abysmal – just a wall of undifferentiated sounds. Could have been the mix, or the room, or my ears, but I think this was the Hordern gig where I complained to the sound man and got the “fuck off” look.
They played my favourite songs of the latest albums and most of the hits I wanted, so I couldn’t really complain, but for the sound. I kept moving around in hopes of hearing better, but never managed it. As a result I never quite got thoroughly into the moment. However, to this day Faith No More are one of my favourite bands, who straddled the meta/rap/alternative genres and made it sound easy.
[The set list, as per SetList.FM]( https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/faith-no-more/1997/hordern-pavilion-sydne...)

Not for sale or trade
1997
5
Band(s): 

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