by / August 28th, 2009 /

Faith No More – Olympia, Dublin

Well they kept us waiting eleven years so what harm could an extra hour do? The Olympia crowd is waiting and waiting, patiently at first, for the year’s other second coming. Adebesi Shank have already played out of their skin and expectation is high. After a while, though, the tension begins to build (a fight comes close to breaking out behind where State is getting increasingly hemmed in) and each time a track finishes over the PA, the murmurs of discontent start to rise.

To be fair, that’s probably how Faith No More like it. This after all is a band that spent a far too short career winding people up – other bands, the media but chiefly each other. Why should their comeback audience be any difference? When they do finally appear, however, they look and sound magnificent. Replete in matching suits (except Puffy, Puffy doesn’t do suits) they open with the theme to ‘Midnight Cowboy’ – why of course – before sliding into a version ‘The Real Thing’ that turns the Olympia floor into a mass of flailing limbs and hair. Yes, it’s true, it really is Faith No More in front of our very eyes, offering us the chance to experience the likes of ‘From Out Of Nowhere’, ‘We Care A Lot’, ‘War Pigs’, ‘Everything’s Ruined’ and the rest one more time.

Except we don’t, far from it in fact. For the next twenty minutes we get to journey into the dark heart of Faith No More, where melody plays second fiddle to the psychotic nightmare of ‘Land Of Sunshine’, ‘Caffeine’, ‘Surprise! You’re Dead’ and ‘Malpractice’. Only ‘Evidence’ and ‘Last Cup Of Sorrow’ break through the wall of noise, those and the theme to Eastenders for some reason. You can’t deny the power of the performances here but the band’s self-indulgent side was tiresome first time around and even this euphoric atmosphere can’t disguise the fact that this still holds. It’s a point hammered home when they launch into ‘Midlife Crisis’ and ‘Epic’, both of which are simply sublime.

As far as the glory days of the band go though, that’s pretty much your lot. It’s as if they have picked up exactly where they left off with Album Of The Year, trying to expunge the memories of the Jim Martin and Chuck Mosely years. Thus they finish with four songs from their final two albums before encoring with another and closing with ‘As The Worm Turns’, a track from their very first release in 1985, and one that brings the night to an anti-climatic end.

No-one here is saying that this needed to be a ‘greatest hits’ excercise but this revisionist approach doesn’t serve the show well, which is a crying shame. The band are brilliant and Mike Patton is still a unpredictable frontman with a sinister edge but even he seems to have mellowed – his shout out to Adebesi Shank (asking how to pronounce their name and telling us that we should be very proud of them) is actually quite sweet. He and his colleagues seem genuinely astounded by the reaction they receive and quite rightly so, the audience tonight are easily the match of what is happening on stage. It’s just that this was an ok gig when it could have been amazing, but therein lies the rub with Faith No More. In one night they encapsulated their entire history – often brilliant, often infuriating and in the end the waste of a massive opportunity.

Photos: Shawna Scott

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  • Mike

    Was this reviewer at the same show as me?!

    ‘Anti-climatic end’? A fan favourite from way back, and one of the songs that really started it all? No one found it anti-climatic where I was stood.

    Did said reviewer even watch the show? Or do his research?

    “Yes, it’s true, it really is Faith No More in front of our very eyes, offering us the chance to experience the likes of ‘From Out Of Nowhere’, ‘We Care A Lot’, ‘War Pigs’, ‘Everything’s Ruined’ and the rest one more time.”

    …except they played none of the above.

    I understnad this isn’t exactly a bad review, but it does appear to be pretty ill-informed.

  • I think it’s pretty clear the reviewer knows they didn’t play any of that stuff, it’s just what he feels they should have done. Seeing as you’re quoting the above review as evidence, you’d better include the next line:

    ‘except they don’t, in fact far from it….’

    so by ill informed, you mean ‘he didn’t agree with me about how climatic the climax was’… criminal.

  • Sorry lads… from where I was (in the circle) the gig was far from disappointing or anti climactic. I’m actually glad that they didn’t waste time with the likes of From Out of Nowhere, Digging the Grave and especially War Pigs. As for We Care a Lot, it was down on the setlists as the last song of the night but obviously the house management pulled the plug on them before they had a chance to play it (okay, they could have come out 5 mins earlier). Whatever – I’d rather hear some interesting album tracks than that anyway.

    The set borrowed heavily from Angeldust, arguably their best album and also featured some of the best from the rest including the likes of Surprise! You’re Dead, Gentle Art of Making Enemies, Ashes to Ashes etc etc.

    If you want to hear the greatest hits, stick on your iPod… Best gig I’ve been to in years.


  • chris n

    cannot believe dublin review. easily their best gig of the tour. such a great venue. unreal atmosphere. excellent set. band in electric form. perfect sound. not a single negative. best gig i’ve seen along with many others i spoke to that night

  • phil

    hey it’s cool… this dude has a narrow view on FNM and a broad view of music and art..

    obviously this reviewer is well educated and very arogant. and i quote Did i mention employed. His writing style offers commentary and and objective view.

    actually let me stop being nice.

    I’m thinking this guy showed up with his free press pass right when the doors opened and was ready to go home 30 minutes into FNM set – probably writing his review at the show on his iPHONE… i haven’t seen the reunited show live but i have seen every FNM tour at the warfield in SF since Angel Dust. They are not a band with a lot of “hits” but they do play them mixed along with newer stuff..

    Sounds like just where they left off. I know FNM fans love it.

  • Django

    There’s no point complaining about this reviewer’s opinion because that’s all reviews are: opinion. But I doubt many Faith No More fans would agree with his criticisms, especially on the issue of song selections.

    The great thing about this band is that they built up such a strong back catalogue that they’d pretty much need a 50-song setlist to keep everyone happy.

    I’m pretty astounded anyone who saw the show could dismiss it as “ok” though, especially from someone as obviously in love with live music as Mr Udell. Having seen more than my fair share of shows over the past 20 years, I can honestly say it was among the best I’ve ever seen. And I think the audience reaction would suggest I’m not alone in feeling that way.

    And just a few things that rankled about the review:

    – A look at the setlist proves any accusations of ‘revisionism’ to be ridiculous: 11 of the 18 songs on the night were from the Jim Martin era, a paltry three were from Album of the Year. If anything, the set was pretty democratic and roughly chronological, hardly a Stalinist rewriting of history.

    – To say “they finish with four songs from their final two albums before encoring with another” as if its a bad thing is pretty unfair when those songs were The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies, King For A Day, Ashes To Ashes, Just A Man and Stripsearch… some of their finest songs.

    – Pretty sure it wasn’t an hour between the bands.

    – And we probably would have got a few more songs if it wasn’t for the gardai coming along to tell the Olympia to end the show as it was a little too late to be playing that awfully loud music. Hardly the band’s fault.

    Anyway, pity the reviewer didn’t enjoy the show. That’s his loss I guess.

  • Christophe

    Could the reviewer actually be familiar with the work of FNM next time out?

    This was a greatest hits show!!!

    This review should be expunged from State.

    Terrible stuff.

    Thankfully, a fantastic gig and the memories to go with it are what the fans take away…

  • Patrick Conboy

    A couple of points. Firstly, Mike: you have been very selective with the piece of review you chose to quote. The line proceeding the section you picked out says, “except we don’t, far from it in fact.” That one sentence negates your argument.

    As for remarks such as these:

    “I’m thinking this guy showed up with his free press pass right when the doors opened and was ready to go home 30 minutes into FNM set…”

    “This review should be expunged from State…”

    I think this reaction is best described by the term “spitting the dummy.” A review is an expression of honest personal opinion, not some submissive pandering because that’s what everyone else wants to hear. By all means, express any difference of opinion in a constructive, civilised manner. The reaction above, however, is nothing short of infantile.

  • Mike

    Yes, apologies for my poor reading at that point. It was an accidental mis-quoting rather than intentional selective posting on my part.

    I just find myself disagreeing with the review on the whole. I think it was quite clear from the reaction of the crowd that, to an FNM fan, there was no anti-climax to the end of the show, or any part of it.

    Also – wasting 8 minutes on War Pigs? I’d rather they didn’t.

    Still, I enjoyed the show tremendously, and that’s all that matters to me.

  • Christophe

    If the guy can’t recognise “Land of Sunshine” for the masterpiece that it is then he doesn’t deserve a platform to review music, IMHO.

    There, pure opinion.

    It may be infantile but you can’t criticise it Patrick because it an expression of honest personal opinion, not some submissive pandering because that’s what everyone else wants to hear.

    Calling the gig: “a waste of a massive opportunity” is pure infantile from Phil, a quick poll of fans would have given him a completely different perspective.

    Just check the youtube clips and comments.

  • Patrick Conboy

    Christophe, you’re just adding weight to my last statement.

  • Carty


    Were you at the gig? Are you a Faith No More fan? Are you a friend of the reviewer? Just some questions that might require answering to highlight how relevant or pointless your presence here is.

    The reviewer is typical of the type of Faith no More fan that lost interest when they heard Angel Dust. Like the majority of America, they wanted another pop album but didn’t get it. 99% of the folks that turned up at the Olympia went Cuckoo for the set we got. It’s just unfortunate the poor reviewer left so disappointed – My heart pisses for him.

    Best. Gig. Ever.

  • Patrick Conboy

    Carty, I’m a contributor to State. Not that any association I may have with the author is relevant to the matter at hand. And I didn’t attend the gig, but then again, that isn’t relevant either. If you think it is then you’re missing the whole point.

  • It seems to be the way of the internet – mindless criticism is rife. There’s nothing wrong with criticism, but it seems to frequently come down to personal attacks on the author (along the lines of ‘not fit to write a review’) and badly made (incomplete or haven’t even read the piece properly) arguments. On the flip side, people don’t even bother to post something positive half the time.

    There are ways to disagree without personal attacks on writers, and it obviously makes for a better and more interesting discussion. If it had been an overwhelmingly positive review, I wonder how many people would even have bothered to post?

    I’ll be over the moon the day somebody comes on here and responds to a review they disagree with by posting their own review in the comments. The balance would be fantastic :).

  • markoo

    Ok then James, ill review the night, but firstly a word about the “official review”…

    Before reading it, i was preparing myself for a good cringe…and i wasnt dissapointed, as most FNM gig reviews are quite naive and usually off the mark.
    I totally understand the reviewer has his own opinion on the show, but coming from someone who undeniably dosent understand the core genius of FNM, it dosent carry much weight to be honest.
    Calling “land of sunshine” and “caffeine”, psychothic nightmares, confirmed this for me, theyre iconic songs from an iconic album and are real rip roarers live and no true FNM fan would dissagree.
    Finally, ending the “review” describing FNM`s legacy as “a massive waste of opportunity” was actually quite insulting to the band, its fans and MUSIC!. Fact is, Faith No More accomplished more in one album than most bands do in their entire exixtance!

    Anyway, im bored now, so ill write my gig review later.

  • Rizzle

    Holy cowshit!! What a gig, I actually think this phil udell should have his press passes taken from him. That set list could not have been better. FACT

  • Twas ever thus to be honest. Not wishing to dampen the egos of my journalistic colleagues, but this is just another review of another gig. And not a particularly scathing one at that, just one that puts across the reviewer’s own point of you. Faith No More were a band that meant a huge amount to me in my younger days, first with Chuck Mosely and then Mike Patton. The London show I saw on The Real Thing tour twenty years ago(!) still remains on one of my favourite ever gigs, probably a similar experience to those writing above. Then again I saw them at a secret show pre-Angel Dust and they were pretty poor. I always feel that they were a band that never achieved the recognition they deserved but a lot of that came from the decisions and actions of the band themselves. It was with great pleasure that I wrote a retrospective on the band for the print edition of State last year, but you wouldn’t believe how hard it was to even source a photo. No-one, it seemed, was particularly interested.

    And so I went to the gig last week with high hopes. I enjoyed a lot of it, loved some of it, found bits of it frustrating and said as much in my review. That’s all. Maybe I’m coming from the wrong starting point, FNM 1.0 than the later model, but I called it as I saw it. I’d have loved to have raved about it yet I can’t.

    Why then does has this review caused so much consternation when our report on Wilco registers not a flicker? People seem to take affront if a review doesn’t completely agree with their own glowing view of an event. ‘Was the writer at the same show?’ Of course they were, they just may have had a different view of it, heaven forbid.

    The reason that we have structured the State site as we have is to enable our readers to contribute to debate and make their own points. Most do this in a lucid and intelligent manner. Some are only able to resort to having a pop at an individual. That’s fine and their problem. If you want boring platitudes on every record, band or gig going you can find that elsewhere. We at State would rather stay a little truer to the meaning of criticism.

  • Markoo – excellent, I’ll look forward to reading it. But (see Phil’s post), I think you’ll agree he actually does know what he’s talking about, even if plenty of people disagree with him. I think it’s the difference between ‘a difference in opinion’ and ‘lack of knowledge’ that bothers me at times, especially as when these disagreements happen people invariably pick the second one as the cause. I’m sure the same people don’t do the same down the pub.

    We’re not under any illusions that we’re musical geniuses, but generally speaking State writers do very much know their stuff. We do this for the love of it and we’re very passionate about it. Above all else, I think we do genuinely – like Phil said – ‘call it as we see it’, and, next to magazines with corporate influences and fashionista issues, I think that’s a very good thing.

    But then I’m hungover after a messy day at Reading Festival yesterday, so maybe my feelings are more to do with that, who knows.

  • Django


    Your candour and honesty are appreciated, and I do sympathise with the fact that you’re always going to get slammed by hardcore fans of a band unless you deliver a mindlessly rhapsodic review.

    I think the reason you’ve raised so many hackles though is in calling the gig “ok”. That indeed is your prerogative but it is a bit like a football writer going along to a game that everyone in the stadium acknowledged as a classic and delivering a report saying it was a pretty boring match.

    Anyway, one thing I think everyone seems to have misinterpreted is your “psychotic nightmare” description. I assumed that was a compliment, right?!

    Lastly, considering I was so blown away by the gig, I guess now I should call you a stinky poo-poo head…

    Fair play for the reply.

  • Christophe

    Phil, let’s be honest.

    You wrote the above review with a double purpose in mind.

    One, simply to catalogue and file copy as per your job.

    And secondly, to draw out the desired reaction, congratulations.

    But to be honest, for me, you have missed the point entirely and as others have mentioned this was a greatest hits show and an incendiary live experience and the only opportunity wasted, massive or not, was your chance to recognise this.

  • Christophe

    @Patrick Conboy

    Stunning rebuttal Sir, with you as a contributor, this fine organ is in safe hands.

  • Patrick Conboy

    Okay, I hold my hands up… posted that without thinking it through. But I see you still haven’t registerd that it’s possible to hold a different opinion without there being some sinister ulterior motive. Oh well, lost cause I suppose.

  • Christophe


  • Brian77

    So glad they played Land of Sunmshine, Caffine and Malpratice. Sounds like he might only own The Real Thing!

  • nollface

    “Well they kept us waiting eleven years so what harm could an extra hour do?”

    wasn’t eleven years enough time to realise that they had full albums to go with the singles you used to borrow from your big brother? jeez.

    what a waste of a ticket.

  • Nollface, as I pointed out, I was going to see this band twenty years ago so, even if I did have a big brother, he would be a little past it. Look, I’m delighted if you think that this version of Faith No More is anything close to the band at it’s peak, I just happen to think that you’re way off the mark but at least you younger folk have got to see them in the flesh. And no-one would be more delighted than me if FNM were to come back with an album that proved me wrong. Can we move on now? Cheerio.

  • Nibsy

    I completely don’t agree with this review at all.

    How exactly was it unclimatic? A waste of a massive opportunity? Are you serious mate?

    This was never billed as a Greatest Hits tour, nor should you ever expect this from such an accomplished band and group of musicians. Faith No More know Faith No More fans, thus they don’t need to play the ‘hits’. They don’t have weak songs so don’t need to rely on the more commercial stuff – I was even surprised they played Epic. I loved the set list and wasn’t dissapointed with one song. They are as good now as they ever were.

    A waste? – clearly the only waste was your ticket. You should have let a proper fan go in your place

  • Sean

    Proper fan, or fanboy?

    I’m a massive Pixies fan but I’ll be the first to admit the Landsdown gig wasn’t exactly top-drawer stuff. A lot of people can’t see past what they want to think of the band and what is actually presented to them.

    When you love a band beyond reason, it’s hard to be convinced of their shortcomings.

  • I’m sadly unsurprised. I’ve written a lot of reviews like this ; knowledgable, yet critical, and have been spat out as a moron and a idiot by people who want nothing more than mindless, obsequious fawning because I have an opinion on ‘their’ band.

    Guess what? Reviewers don’t write things like this to get attention or a reaction. We write these things because that is what we genuinely feel. Many people feel differently ; and that’s great. Some of you went to the gig and thought it was amazing : and that means you had a fantastic experience. The reviewer here went, didn’t feel the same things, and that doesn’t mean anything more than he didnot experience the same litany as you did.

    Personally, I saw the first show in Brixton which I thought was better than the 89-97 shows I saw, but I can also see why for some people, the reformed FNM were not what they expected (where was “Digging The Grave”? “Everythings Ruined”? “A Small Victory”? “Ashes To Ashes”? “The Crab Song”?

    Ultimately it matters not, they did what they always did, which was what they wanted to do.

  • Frank

    Just saw this review now and needless to say I’m rather baffled that the reporter was so underwhelmed, having attended said show. It was pretty damn mindblowing.

    However, a tiny bit of web trawling brings up a pretty telling piece of preempting by Phil Udell. (And in fairness man, do you really rate FNM primarily for a Black Sabbath cover they did? Do you not realise that was a piss-take on their part, given how woefully unfashionable BS were in the late 80s?) Anyway, make up your own minds as to who had made up their own mind before the gig was even announced…

  • nollface

    @ mark reed
    “I’m sadly unsurprised. I’ve written a lot of reviews like this ; knowledgable, yet critical, and have been spat out as a moron and a idiot…….
    where was “Digging The Grave”? “Everythings Ruined”? “A Small Victory”? “Ashes To Ashes”? “The Crab Song”?”

    they played ashes to ashes….
    real knowledgeable.

  • Is this still going? Unless anyone can actually point to something that’s factually wrong in this review… and saying it wasn’t great isn’t factually wrong, it’s opinion… then you’re all just whinging about Phil feeling differently to you. And you’ve made your point, clearly the majority thought this gig was outstanding, but there’s no need to take it so personally. What do you all want him to do, pretend he loved it to appease the majority?

    And even if Phil didn’t know the band intimately (and I certainly believe he does), how does that make him unqualified to write a review? I’ve written reviews before on bands that I researched and listened to the music of solely for the purpose of the review. Not often, admittedly, and they were usually not particularly big names, but an opinion is just that, and apart from giving the set list and describing what the band look like, is there anything in a review that isn’t opinion?

    Even if Phil had no prior knowledge (which is certainly not the case), it would still be a valid article: since when have you had to be a die hard fan of a band to be allowed to review them? If we had a massive fan writing every review in an entirely nonobjective way, we’d never have a negative (or even indifferent, as this review seems to be, it’s hardly scathing) review on this site. And you’d all quickly lose respect for that.(I do in fact believe Phil is a big fan, but even if he wasn’t, that’s utterly besides the point, surely?)

  • Gavos

    I wasn’t lucky enough to get my hands on a ticket, but I came here to get someone’s opinion of the FNM gig so I could draw my own conclusion. After reading the review I personally I would have been blown away with that set list. Me knowing that….. I would have thought it was an amazing gig and a great night. Although Phil didn’t portray this in the review. I think it was a little dig to say it was a waste of a massive opportunity. I really don’t think so…… They’ll be back.

  • mark reed

    “Real Knowledgable”? I was talking about The Brixton show, not Dublin… pay attention!