Amsterdam, Paradiso
April 30, 1997 Amsterdam (Holland), Paradiso

Okay, here we go. It was Queens Day on 30 April, which meant that the streets of Amsterdam were filled with about 1,000,000 people. We went early in order to engage in the festivities for a few hours. It wasn't very nice, though, because there were way too many people (the weather was good). Anyway, at 18:00 we went up to Paradiso. There were only about 25 people waiting for the doors to open at 19:00. I was trying to sell an extra ticket because my girlfriend decided she was too busy working for school. I tried to sell it to a couple of people but there was absolutely no demand. I then tried to sell it to one of those people who buy up tickets and sell them for ridiculous prices. He said he'd only give me 25 guilders for it (that's what they cost) because there was no demand. Then Joost, a friend of mine, came along. He said he probably knew someone who would want the ticket. But when they turned up, they appeared to be on the guest list! So there I was stuck with the damn ticket. I decided to wait no longer and sell it to the one guy who offered me 25 before. Guess what? He now offered me 10 guilders only!! I said fuck it and sold it to him anyway. I hadn't seen anyone buying a ticket from him or anyone else in 35 minutes time.

Inside, it was still empty. The concert was scheduled to begin at 20:00, but the venue didn't start filling up until about 21:00. There was a local band playing before FNM, but they sucked so hard I won't talk about them. During their set, I saw Billy Gould mingle with the crowd, but no one recognized him or talked to him. Odd.


At about 21:00, the lights went out and some grotesque film music was put on. It was an extremely familiar tune, but I can't remember what it was exactly. It's one of those tunes that is used for a really, really big movie, like Star Wars or E.T. or something. Someone'll recognize it, I'm sure. A deep, dark voice then said: "And here they are, from San Francisco, California, FAITH NO MORE!". And FNM took the stage, all (except Puffy, who was stripped to the waist as always and wore a little crown because of Queens Day) dressed in black suits and white shirts. They *all* looked like Frank Sinatra, it was great. They won over the crowd immediately, before having played a single note. Everone was going nuts over how they looked! Then some brooding keyboard sounds announced the first song, which was

  1. Be Aggressive
  2. Midlife Crisis
  3. Ashes To Ashes
  4. Naked In Front Of The Computer
  5. The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies
  6. We Care A Lot
  7. Easy
  8. Evidence
  9. Home Sick Home
  10. Land Of Sunshine
  11. Introduce Yourself
  12. Last Cup Of Sorrow
  13. Surprise! You're Dead!
  14. King For A Day
  15. Epic
  16. Just A Man
    Encore 1
  17. Collision
  18. Path Of Glory
  19. Caffeine
    Encore 2
  20. Got That Feeling

They may have played one more new song, I can't remember. The set list is approximately right. Be Aggressive was a great opener. I wanted to watch the first part of the show, but I dived right into the pit when I heard Roddy hit the keys. Midlife Crisis kept the crowd going after that. Ashes To Ashes and Home Sick Home (I recognized the "Drive Me Home" part from one of the early album reviews) were the first new songs, and they came out great. I had listened to the BBC recording sent to me by Alex, and I thought both Ashes... and Last... sucked big time. But hearing Ashes To Ashes here revealed the strength and drive of the song. Home Sick Home was the single one new song that everyone remembered afterwards. Everyone I talked to said that it was the best new song, with its nice bluesy intro. After that, Gentle Art ripped the place to pieces. Paradiso has a nice balcony (it's an old church), and some fool jumped from the balcony onto the stage, ran past Mike Patton and dived into the crowd, which was about 2 meters from the stage, held back by a barrier. Totally crazy stuff. It's always like that when FNM plays Paradiso (I've seen them 3 times there, and 3 times it was total chaos). The old standards are still on the setlist, and they're still played very well and with enthusiasm. This especially goes for Epic. They should get rid of Easy, though. They play it well, but the gimmick has had its time I think. They have much better songs to play. Jon Hudson proved to be a very good guitar player, and a true FNM guitar player as well, because he remained entirely anonymous for most of the time, except when Mike dragged him into the spotlight for the solo in Evidence (which he copied note-perfectly). There was not much between-song banter, apart from Patton repeating "Amsterdam" (crowd cheering) "Rotterdam" (crowd booing) 20 times in a row. And "Old song" "New song" 30 times in a row. And a little referencing to Queens Day, of course.
Other highlights of the set were Surprise! (which sounds so much better when it's played by a decent guitar player), KFAD (great stretched out outro with a climax somewhere in the middle, after which the outro slowly continues. Great use of lights also). The absolute highlight, though, was Just A Man. The playing was absolutely brilliant, but the price of the day goes to Mike Patton for getting every single Las Vegas/variety theater/Frank Sinatra gesture out of the closet. He was *acting* the song on stage, it was absolutely brilliant. The song had the most bombastic ending I've ever heard, with Mike swinging his microphone around for about two minutes before giving the song a grand finale. Wait till you see it. I don't think I've ever seen a better rendition of whatever song I can think of. The crowd went absolutely apeshit wild after that.FNM got one of the biggest rounds of applause I've ever heard a band get. They returned to victory only to play two great new songs. Especially Collision, that'll be a great opener for the album. After two new songs, the crowd were treated to a heavily stretched-out version of Caffeine, which hasn't lost any of its magic. The second encore was yet another new song, a very short one, with sparse guitar and bass, heavily drum-oriented, and about 10 times as heavy as Surprise!.

All in all, I'd say this concert ranks with the best concerts I've ever seen. It can't be coincidence that each time FNM play the Paradiso something magical seems to happen, both on stage and off. I was not at all disappointed by the new songs, although I do think they sound a bit too 'rocky' at times. Also, there were at least two new songs with not much work for Roddy. During one, he hit some notes on the guitar. During another, he didn't do anything at all. Mike Patton's stage antics have improved yet again. He succeeds even better than before in going from extreme screaming/noise making to clean singing within seconds. He's turning into a Giant Stage Personality. Frank Sinatra, watch were you're going!

They also had very nice T-shirts (two different ones) with photos by Billy Gould (I assume). One T-shirt has a collage of photos like the album cover (the album cover is one of them). The other has a large head of an old man, in red. A bit like the Angel Dust "Indian" shirt. Nothing is printed on the back. I liked both shirts so much that I bought both (which is a fuckin' long time ago that I did that, I can tell you!!).

I'm very much looking forward to the Koeln concert on Sunday!!

Frankco Lamerikx

Source: CVDB
© 1995-2001,2011-2012 Stefan Negele