Lowlands, Dronten
August 24, 1997 Lowlands, Dronten

Yesterday I saw Faith No More at the Lowlands festival in Dronten (Holland). Before I go, I can state that this was the best FNM festival gig I've ever seen.

The Lowlands festival is a three-day festival with a very peculiar atmosphere since everyone (36,000 people this year) is camping at the festival site and the festival is much more than music alone. There's also film, theater, spoken word, etc. Concerts are taking place in large and small tents, 5 in total. The bands and DJs playing there are mostly on the cutting edge of modern pop music, with a few well-known names such as FNM and Blur. My favorite acts of the first two days included The Cardigans, De Kift (a Dutch theatrical music act), Motorpsycho and DJ supreme Jeff Mills. FNM was playing on the final day of the festival in the largest tent, Alpha, which can harbour several thousands of people. They were scheduled to play from 16:30 - 17:30, right after the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Jon Spencer ripped the whole place to pieces with a brilliant concert, and Mike Patton was spotted watching Spencer for a few songs.

Notwithstanding my disappointment with FNM's show in Zeebrugge a month ago I was really psyched to catch them live again because of all the favourable reviews that appeared here over the past few weeks. Well, FNM stood up to their new-found form by playing one of the best gigs I've ever see them play. There were absolutely no surprises in the setlist, which ran:

  1. (Also Sprach Zarathustra intro followed by some Las Vegas style music)
  2. Collision
  3. Midlife Crisis
  4. The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
  5. Last Cup of Sorrow
  6. Evidence
  7. Easy
  8. Introduce Yourself
  9. Naked in Front of the Computer
  10. King For a Day
  11. Epic
  12. Ashes to Ashes
  13. Just a Man
  14. Stripsearch

The crowd absolutely exploded from the word go. This must have been the largest pit I've ever seen at a FNM concert - there were literally hundreds of people slamdancing and crowdsurfing, the first 20 meters from the stage were total chaos. This continued until the concert was over. Crowd reception was absolutely fabulous. The slow songs were greeted with hand-clapping and sing-along, the hardcore stuff was accompanied by totally wrecking the place up. The band were really into the concert, especially Billy Gould and Mike Patton. All the songs were played with a vigour that was just unbelievable. To add to all this, the sound was incredible. The best balance between keyboard and guitar I've ever heard at a FNM show. The band sounded incredibly tight. Personal highlights included the opener Collision, a total kick-ass version of Naked in Front of the Computer (a song I pretty much hated until yesterday's rendition that would send Slayer back into practicing), King For a Day with its drawn-out, Apocalypse Now-like ending (Patton did some very amazing things with his voice and microphone - the ending of this song keeps getting better and better), and Stripsearch which was about a million times better than in Zeebrugge, if only because of the aforementioned superb balance between keyboards and guitar.

All this may sound strange after my review of the Zeebrugge concert. I really don't know what happened inbetween then and now. Maybe it was the whole atmosphere of the Lowlands festival, or the fact that it was about 35 degrees. But I've never seen a crowd go as berzerk at a FNM show as yesterday. And the guys on stage just (re)acted the same. I would say that this show caught the real magic of FNM live. I doubt whether the two club gigs on Tuesday and Wednesday will be anywhere near yesterday's performance...


Source: CVDB
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