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