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"Look Ma, no hands!" Mike Patton and guitarist Jon Hudson of Faith No More play San Francisco for the first time in 13 years on April 12, 2010.
After a 13-year break, Faith No More has finally taken the stage, together again, in front of their fans in their fare city of St. Francis.
Well, that was the plan, to do a couple of shows for the hometown fans before heading down to Coachella for a Saturday night performance.
What the band found out when asking San Franciscan’s to raise their hands at the first show of three on Monday night, was that only about a quarter of the people in attendance were actually from San Francisco.
In the lengthy men’s restroom line I overheard people talking about driving here from as far away as Canada to see “their first show in the States.”
And what a show it was.
SPOILER ALERT: If you are going to one of the two remaining Faith No More shows at the Warfield shows and want to be surprised, don’t read the rest of this article.
The night started with MC Neil Hamburger, ever-hacking comedian and former Mr. Bungle road manager, opening the evening with some jokes.
Hamburger then introduced The Pop-O-Pies, a punk band from San Francisco headed by Joe Pop-O-Pie who was Faith No More’s singer in 1983 (according to his website).
If you were a fan of Pop-O-Pie, you may have been blown away to see this surprise performance, but most people around me had confused blank looks on their faces as the woman in front of me said, “We rushed down here for this?”
Hamburger came back on stage and did a few more jokes and then introduced another surprise performance, the Trannyshack Dancers.
If you thought the first act caused confused looks, seeing massive dudes dressed as women lip-synching to Tool, Ministry, Siouxsie Sioux, and Black Sabbath brought an even higher level of uncertainty.
It was at this point that I felt lucky to be watching this somewhat historic event -- that was being captured by at least a dozen video cameras for a presumed DVD release.
The four acts included male and female performers, and as we watched a tranny pretend to give oral to a Jesus on a cross, my wife leaned over and said, “I love Mike Patton.”
When the headliners finally took the stage, a little after 10 p.m., they came out dressed to the nines with pastel suits and corsages.
They started off with a smooth-jazz slow-jam for a minute or two before Patton strutted out with the help of a cane, grabbed the mic and started singing the Peaches and Herb classic “Reunited and it feels so good.”
It was the perfect way to start things off: ironic, funny, and beautiful. From there they dove right into their "Greatest Hits" back catalogue with a few more covers including Lady Gaga’s "Poker Face," Lionel Richie’s "Easy" and the Charriotts of Fire song.
The band seemed to be having a great time, right back in the swing of things after having reunited last year to play European dates as well as some New Zealand and Australian gigs in February of this year.
Mike Patton, now into is early 40s, was showing some signs of age. He stage dove only once, didn’t climb to the top of any speakers, and kept his junk in his pants, but as he noted, the fans weren’t looking any younger either.
“We’re trying to do some hometown s**t and its all a bunch of foreigners,” Patton admitted when he realized the huge out-of-town contingent in the audience.
As the show came to a close around midnight, the band left things up in the air, with no plans of writing new material or playing again after this Faith No More 2.0 experiment expires. We’ll just have to wait and see.