I went to see Faith No More in Paris on Tuesday 9 December. I drove up there with three friends of mine, Christel, Tessa, and Hillen. We had arranged to meet some more Dutch people, but they had already departed on Saturday. After spending the best part of the day to get to Paris (450 km.) and finding a hotel (which proved to be very easy, because Hillen walked straight into a cheap one he knew from a previous visit), we were on our way to the hall, the Bataclan on the Boulevard Voltaire in a very nice part of Paris. Before the show, we tried to get something decent to eat (with this I mean that we didn't want to go to MacDonald's, but enjoy the French cuisine). Well, you can forget to find a restaurant that serves food before 19:30. So after some strolling around in vain we ended up in some sort of cafe where, after some persuasion, we were able to order burritos which was okay with us by that time since we were starving.
Walking into the hall my Parisien friend Liesbeth told me that this used to be a theater, and a very nice one I might add. The hall had a large, almost circular 'pit', and on the sides there were steps. Wherever you stood in the hall, the view on the stage was always perfect. Adding to that a wooden floor and an atmosphere not unlike one would expect from Paris, I had the feeling this was going to be a special concert. And it was. I won't talk about Radish (who I had missed in Duesseldorf). When I saw them entering the stage dressed in women's clothes (haven't we seen that at least 100 times by now?) my interest was gone. At 21:00, Faith No More entered the stage, and Patton picked up that strange instrument to go into:
- midnight cowboy
- "this town ain't big enough for the both of us" (Sparks)
- midlife crisis
- naked in front of the computer
- ashes to ashes
- introduce yourself
- the gentle art of making enemies
- last cup of sorrow
- land of sunshine
- king for a day
- we care a lot
- "Phenomenon" (LL Cool J)
- get out
- just a man
- "this guy's in love with you" (Burt bacharach)
- be aggressive
The setlist has converged nicely to something that REALLY works. The crowd received Midnight Cowboy very enthousiastic, and they also reacted outrageously to the Sparks tune. After that, there was hardly anything that could go wrong. Although Billy told me that they all felt burnt out (the number of songs played probably reflects this), there was no way one could tell. I thought the whole show was brilliant, my personal highlights being the Sparks tune, Ashes To Ashes and Last Cup Of Sorrow which I think are remarkable live songs, and of course the new-and-improved Land Of Sunshine, which kills everything. I was also pleasantly surprised to NOT hear Epic after the 12" version of King For A Day (which, for anyone who cares, reminds me more and more of Ambient 4:Isolationism each time). We Care A Lot is still a great song to hear live, if only for the way the drum parts have developed over the years. By the way, Mike Bordin still is one of the most energetic and effective drummers I've ever seen. I'm also beginning to like Jon Hudson's stage persona. He's into making strange faces these days, but I can't tell if he does this on purpose or if it's just a reflection of his character. As always, the ending of Just A Man kicked major ass and left the crowd in awe.
The encores were really something, since I think they featured the most inspired playing of the whole show. I also quite liked the segue from the Bacharach tune to the keyboard intro of Be Aggressive, to the total Melvins bashing of Pristina. Perfect way to end a show, and me and my friends all agreed that we had seen a very good show. Much better than the Duesseldorf show, and I liked that one a lot as well! This had much to do with the crowd, which was one of the most receptive and enthousiastic I have ever seen, and the fact that I like to be in a city like Paris.
After the show we had the chance to talk to Billy briefly, and he invited us for the show the next day in Lille in the north of France, but that's another story. I congratulated Billy on deleting epic from the setlist. He proceeded to tell me that they had begun to not play it in England, and that they had noticed that the crowd didn't exactly care, so they decided to not play it at every show anymore. A wise decision, because even good songs can get a drag after all these years.
Being totally psyched with the results so far, we went into a bar near the Place de la Bastille, where we were entertained by Liesbeth telling us the story of a serial killer wandering the Bastille neighbourhood, who had killed four girls up until now. His modus operandi consists of spotting a girl in a bar (like the one we were sitting in), following her to her house, and pushing her inside the house once she opened the door. One girl had the fortune to escape by jumping out of a window. It felt like being in London some 100 years ago, and the story totally freaked me out.