Faith No More | Orpheum Theatre, Boston - May 11th 2015
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Faith No More's North American tour in support of Sol Invictus was five years ago.
FNM began their Sol Invictus tour in Japan and Australia, they returned to the USA for the first time since October 1997 in April 2015. The thirteenth date was on Monday May 11th at Orpheum Theatre in Boston.
First of all, how mind-blowing is it that Faith No More's history dates back nearly 35 years at this point? Almost decade-old veterans by the time they finally broke into the mainstream with 1989's The Real Thing, Faith No More offered a wild ride of unbridled ideas that helped usher in the Alternative explosion of the '90s. The massive success of the band's experimental sound signified a major cultural shift in mainstream music where a band as decidedly out there as this could actually sell millions of albums. (It was a wondrous time, wasn't it?) Returning in 2009 after an 11-year break, the band has successfully maintained their status as the ultimate example of how to balance commercial success with what the fuck? eclecticism. Naturally, the band's May 11 performance at Boston's Orpheum Theatre was esoteric from the moment the pre-show music (a gloriously odd assortment of tunes that included “Moon River”) died down and the crowd roared. Decked out in white, the band hit the flower-covered stage with “Motherfucker,” one of the many instantly unforgettable songs featured on the upcoming (and absolutely arresting) reunion disc, Sol Invictus. It got better and better from there: Drummer Mike Bordin and bassist Billy Gould locked in as only a decades-long partnership could, while frontman Mike Patton's vocal acrobatics and playful audience antagonism was an enthralling as expected. Admirably, the group developed a set list that played to their greatest strengths: While “Epic,” “Surprise! You're Dead!” and their classic rendition of The Commodores' “Easy” were expected highlights, the band earned full marks for delivering deeper, less accessible cuts like the 30-year-old “Mark Bowen” and two songs (“Last Cup Of Sorrow,” an amazing “Ashes To Ashes”) from 1997's still-brilliant (and often-overlooked) Album Of The Year. And there's something truly beautiful in the sight of bald, bearded Metal bros cheering the group's cheeky cover of The Bee Gees' “I Started A Joke.” Looking around the Orpheum, it was difficult to ignore the many wide smiles in the crowd - the result of not only nostalgia, but of genuine excitement to once again take in something they simply can't with any other band. It must be gratifying for Patton and Co. to come back after such a long time away and have an entire theatre sing a verse of “Personality Crisis.” While a good chunk of their '90s peers failed to survive the ensuing years, Faith No More's return has reminded us all of the immortal power of a truly extraordinary song. Faith No More's late '80s/early '90s arrival in the major leagues was a high point in an era defined by an impressive array of acts (Voivod, Living Colour, Prong, Soundgarden, Primus, the criminally ignored Mordred) that pushed Metal into new territories. Twenty-six years (!!) after The Real Thing infiltrated suburbia and widened the genre's vocabulary, the band is still one step ahead of the rest of us – and trying to catch up to them is still a joyous listening experience.
Boston Globe | Faith restored as ’90s hard rockers hit Orpheum
Near the end of Faith No More's intense and intensely entertaining performance at the Orpheum Theatre on Monday, frontman Mike Patton thanked the audience: "We appreciate your patience — we're not a very easy band to stick with." Likely there weren't a lot of fans in the sold-out crowd who could be convinced of that sentiment. Many had waited nearly 20 years for the quintet, which came to prominence in the late '80s and early '90s, to return to Boston. That crowd was wildly ecstatic from the first thundering downbeat to the last cathartic scream of the dynamic 90-minute performance, which served as a joyful — and loud — reminder of the Bay Area hard rockers' gift for mashing up the heavy, the soulful, and the funky. The band probably also made some local florists happy, judging by a stage festooned with numerous flower arrangements: splashes of color against a white backdrop and the band members' all-white garb. Patton, bassist Billy Gould, keyboardist Roddy Bottum, hard-hitting and inventive drummer Mike Bordin, and guitarist Jon Hudson previewed a handful of strong new tunes from Faith No More's forthcoming "Sol Invictus," out next Tuesday and the band's first since 1997. They also roared through back-catalog tunes with a nimbleness and heat that made it clear they still have energy to burn. They kicked off the night with a foreboding and sinuous new track with an unprintable title, setting the tone for what was to come as they careened from brawny riffage to slithering rhythms, heavy-metal freak outs, and smooth soul symphonies. Patton's still astounding voice, its range and power undimmed, surfed atop it all, injected with his uniquely maniacal aplomb. Big hit "Epic," the hitching-to-soaring anthem, was dispatched early, and the band dug as deeply into other tracks: the hip-swiveling "Evidence," the clatter and rage of "Surprise! You're Dead!," and the mid-set singalong "Midlife Crisis" — into which was delightfully mashed a bit of Boz Scaggs's vintage jam "Lowdown."
Motherfucker Land of Sunshine Caffeine Evidence Epic Sunny Side Up Surprise! You're Dead! Midlife Crisis [ Boz Scaggs, "Lowdown" ] Last Cup of Sorrow The Gentle Art of Making Enemies Easy [ Commodores ] Separation Anxiety King for a Day Ashes to Ashes Superhero Black Friday Mark Bowen I Started a Joke [ Bee Gees ] Spirit [ "Rich Girl", Hall & Oates ]