Tuesday, July 20, 2010

That Golden Moment... I hope you feel it too

PART ONE of what could possibly be the last FNM concert coverage ever *tear*

A lot happened on Sunday and I didn't even go to bed Sunday night or even Monday due to travel and insane amounts of unrestrainable awesome. I think I had the most surreal, amazing night of my life. I thought the Warfield was friggin' fantastic but the intimacy and intensity of what happened at the Ilosaarirock Festival in Joensuu, Finland will forever be unmeasurable.

If that all seems really dark and dramatic... it is. Also, do note the whole not sleeping for 36 hours thing.

I will be talking more about the festival and the other bands later (all very good, fantastic place) but this for now is just about Faith No More. Part... ONE.

So there was some sort of mix-up with my pass. Security at the fest was extremely tight. The sun was wavering in the sky, I was sitting in the VIP tent and feeling utterly broken hearted. My media pass was not enough for backstage access, no matter what I said. No one could talk to the band directly due to security reasons so it was a lot of telephone. Telephone game in Finnish to English and visa versa. NOT a fun game to play.

I told myself that things happen for a reason and that my media pass would at least grant me close shots for the first three or four songs of their set... but after that, I would be on my own. I would have to exit out to the side of the crowd and would never get a good vantage point again. Disappointed but trying to stay positive. Who knows. C'est la vie.

But with almost an hour till go time, I knew that there was no chance of anything.

Until I spotted a fellow journalist wearing an all access pass that said Faith No More and had my name on it. UM, WHAT?

He was the plus one of a lovely Russian girl S, who memorably made those insanely cool Simpson's Russian wooden dolls of the band (pictured on their official site).

Turns out I guess he was given my pass instead of a guest pass. Now, I told everyone in the media center about my predicament "I should have two passes, etc" but though they tried hard, there was nothing they could do... again, language barriers, really insane security, confusion.

But it doesn't matter at all because that was my pass and ten minutes later I was quickly being ushered behind the mainstage. I saw the two Russians there talking to Bill, they all looked at me like "yaaay!"

Mega freaking yay.

"Sorry, I don't know what happened with the passes," Bill said. I didn't care, it didn't matter. What mattered I was suddenly THERE and that was that.

I looked around the area, taking it all in. I saw Jon wandering past, Tour Manager Tim was making the rounds.

"Where is everyone else?" S asked.

Bill shrugged, smiled "Mike and Roddy have been at the sauna for the last five hours."

"My goodness, they are going to turn into prunes."

"Can I get you guys some beer?" asked Bill. Um, sure... Rockstar goes and get's US beer. We should be getting him beer. Goes without saying that Bill Gould is one of the most unpretentious musicians out there.

Well, he soon came back with our Stella Artois and then Roddy and Mike arrived, staggering past in all their over-relaxed sauna glory. Roddy seemed excited to see S again, knowing she had awesome presents for them. Mike looked wasted... whether from the sauna or drinking but knowing the Finnish way, it was probably a combo of the two of them.

S laughed, "Wasted before the show!"

This was going to be epic.

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Too cool?

Anyway, Bill went to get ready and came back out in that wonderful lime green suit which was just a bit too big for him. He reminded me of a kid in his dad's suit jacket.

"Think that's a bit to big for you," I pointed at his sleeves.

He smiled, shrugged "Yeah, no one will notice."

Which is true... who notices the suits when FNM are rocking your faces off.

Anyway soon it was go time, so we made our way to the back of the stage.

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I was still confused as how I was going to watch the show after I was done in the photo pit but luckily I saw Tim...

"Hey Tim, remember me? In San Fran I showed you my boots..."

Pause. Eyebrow raise. "Your...boobs?"

LOL anyway I explained the situation and suddenly he was slapping on the afterhours sidestage access pass into our hands.

"Just don't take too many photos of Mike from the side... he gets weird about that."

Noted.

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Definitely not too cool.

So we made our way to the front. The crowd was massive, waiting a little bit longer than normal for FNM to come on... then finally, it was go time.

This was my first time in the pit shooting FNM but since I had seen them 3x before, I didn't feel like I would be missing out too much by being behind the lens. And I didn't... we only get three songs (and in this case, four) to get the shots done, which means you can enjoy the show afterwards. And what a great three songs they were... sure Mike sounded a bit shakey on the Melodica for Midnight Cowboy and his voice was a bit rough on From Out of Nowhere... but things settled in for Be Aggressive and Caffeine.

Not without him taking his anger out out on the poor microphone stand which he chucked off of the stage, and also kicking the cameraman in the chest. You know, the usual.

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Then it was time for me to go backstage. Course there was some jerk-off Finnish security guy on power trip who thought he could push me around even though I clearly had all the bells and whistles. Luckily some other guy yelled at him and he let me through. Fucktard.

But anyhoo, back I went. Sidestage action. Fucking brilliant. True you couldn't see everything... Puffy was just faceless drums and Patton was running around like a mad dog half the time but I felt like I might never have this chance again. I'd seen them from the front before, I could watch this show on Youtube maybe... the side was where I needed to be. It was close, intimate, secretive. And a good place to gauge the band's reactions.

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Roddy taking a break from the Gentle Art of Making Enemies

"How are we doing Joensuu, are you guys awake? Do you like us?" Mike asked to a semi-rousing response. Of course that just gave Mike an excuse to swear at and berate the crowd.

They got him back though. A few songs later, I believe it was after Epic which prompted a giant sing-a-long, he asked if the crowd was having fun yet.

The response was SO loud that Mike staggered back a bit (even I felt it) and exclaimed, "Wow, I think I just came in my pants."

I think everyone did.

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Just before the encore, they gave shout-outs to the festival, to the fans, and said that they were honoured to end their last show there.

"This is our last show," said Bill.

"FOREVER" Mike scowled dramatically.

I've heard rumours that this was perhaps the last time they would ever do this reunion tour. That could mean many things and I do think anything could happen. But at that moment my heart just sank... it broke. It's silly how a band, how music, can effect you like a relationship but I honestly felt like I had been dumped and there was nothing left to do but enjoy the sweet last moments.

So when Mike beautifully sung This Guys In Love With You... it really meant something.

"My hands are shaking, don't let my heart keep breaking..."

Ugh. It was devastating.

And then came the final song, The Real Thing. The energy in their performance, the lights, Mike's voice, the lyrics... it was so fitting and poignant. What an amazing way to end the show, and possibly the whole reunion. I get choked up thinking about it... but I managed to capture it on my camera. Hell, why not?



When it was all done, they posed for a group photo on stage and cracked open a bottle of champagne, after giving shout-outs to Randy, Des, Tim and everyone else in their hardworking crew. Was this it? Was this the end?

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The fivesome walked off-stage and up the ramp, disappearing into the shadows of the hazy Northern Finland night.

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Fans were left screaming and chanting Faith No More's name, their voices echoing against the stage area. It was sad that to some people, this was the end of their weekend, end of the festival and maybe the last time they would see the band.

But for me... well, my night was just starting.

Part Two to follow...

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ugh....Leave me hanging! Can't WAIIITTT for part 2!

Sounds amazingly awesome!

Kate (kittie444@hotmail.com)

JumpingShip said...

Hi, I hope you don't mind some unknown out there following your blog but I found it today while I was checking the other FNM blogs out there. (Way jealous of that picture of you and Mike P post concert.) You're a great writer and I am thoroughly enjoying reading about your journey following the tour. I live in Idaho and knew there would be no way I could make it out to any of the shows so all I had to go on was blogs and youtube. Thanks so much for sharing with the less fortunate!

theangryfijian.com said...

Incredible!! :)

Anonymous said...

Fucking AMAZEBALLS!!! Awesome experience. Love the 2nd picture of Mike, and the one of Roddy, (probably tweeting, lol.)

High five on the trip babe and enjoy Poland! Try to get some good film footage of that show! :)

~Yvonne aka @callmegoldie

Megan said...

Thanks for putting your experience out there. Great read. Looking forward to part two.

Jules said...

Oh geeeez, can't wait for the part two. Seriously, cannot wait.

I actually felt like crying a bit while reading this entry (lame, I know). It was really easy imagining myself experiencing everything you experienced (you're a great writer, by the way) and after seeing FNM twice last year and being a fan for years it is somehow devastating to realize that this might have been it.

Well, I guess we'll always have the recordings even if it definitely isn't the same.

Hugs and sunny greetings from Finland!

Anonymous said...

Excellent write up.
Thank you for sharing.

Looking forward to Part 2.

It would be sad if they didn't write an album and tour again next year. If not, it has been a lot of fun and hopefully they made some phat cash along the way.

dan said...

Great post, fantastic read and amazing pictures, thank you

Annie Spandex said...

What a perfect way for you to see the last show! I'm hoping it's not realllly the last show. Sucks for me I didn't get to see them!
Can't wait for part II :)

Goose said...

Not sure if you respond to comments, but I was wondering... how exactly goes one go about getting a photo-pass or whatnot for a concert (just in general, obviously not FNM since... well, duh)? I'm not a reputable photographer in any sense of the word, but it has been my dream hobby for quite a few years now, and you're the closest I've gotten to gaining information on this! By the way, I have total envy. Must have been a great experience.

Eyeliah said...

So ready for Part II !!!

Fashion Court said...

i have to admit, i don't know much about the band..but this is freaking awesome! especially knowing how much you love them. can't wait to hear more! :o)

Anonymous said...

OH. MY. GOD. I've followed some of your adventures from the FNM 2.0 site, and I am ecstatic for you... I absolutely am on pins and needles waiting for your next post!!! Great writing, great pictures, and nice clothes, by the way! I'm a gal who loves FNM, too and I saw them in Brooklyn, NYC on July 5th. First time ever seeing them, even though I've loved them intensely since HIGH SCHOOL. Seriously, it was the best live show I've EVER seen. I just never got to see them before because I was going to college in the early-mid -'90s all the way up in Vermont where no bands played, ever. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

Josh Healy said...

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marsu said...

Canadians and Russians do what Finns don't dare ;)

Well, they are very nice guys! I met them last year and in 1993 when the things were totally different.

Wanderlusting said...

Goose - you can email me (cant find your contact info) and I'll answer your questions!