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