Given that it is their hometown it is no surprise that Faith No More have played more gigs in San Francisco than anywhere else but next week’s series of comeback gigs at the city’s Warfield Theatre will only be their fifth, sixth and seventh gigs at the venue.

2 July 1986
There is some confusion over when FNM played their first gig at the historic former vaudeville theatre. They are reported to have played there on 2 July 1986 when the band comprised Chuck Mosley, Roddy Bottum, Bill Gould, Mike Bordin and jim Martin. The Aussiemusicfan gig database provide the following setlist:
Chinese Arithmetic (instrumental)
New Beginnings
New Improved Song
The Crab Song
As The Worm Turns
Arabian Disco
We Care A Lot
The Jungle
R’n’R
Jim
Blood
Why Do You Bother?

Strangely FNM are reported as supporting John Lydon’s Public Image Limited that night but the poster for the PIL gig shows that that gig took place at the city’s Civic Auditorium, as does PIL’s official website’s gig archive.

19 August 1992
o such doubts over FNM’s next (or first) Warfield date. Faith No More were at this stage a band at the peak of their powers with the date coming as Faith No More took a break from their US tour supporting Guns N’ Roses and Metallica which had been postponed due to James Hetfield’s pyrotechnic injury and would resume six days later. Angel Dust had been released months previously, peaked at number 10 in the US charts at 10 and was at 36 at the time of the Warfield date.
The band kicked off with the sonic assault of Caffeine:

A rare playing of Death March and then Land of Sunshine followed:
Midlife Crisis and As the Worm Turns
Why Do You Bother was the penultimate song and featured a stage invader:
While the band’s performance of Edge of the World was promoted by Mike Patton’s infamous questioning of his mother:
Much more from that gig at on YouTube from user Litany Crash and by following the links from the videos above.
Set list:
Caffeine
Death March
Land Of Sunshine
The Real Thing
Midlife Crisis
As The Worm Turns
RV
Surprise! You’re Dead!
Be Aggressive
Crack Hitler
Easy
We Care A Lot
Jizzlobber
Woodpecker From Mars
Epic
Introduce Yourself
Mark Bowen
Why Do You Bother?
Edge Of The World

20 January 1993
Faith No More launched a US tour of their own in January, a month which also saw them garner a Grammy nomination. But not everyone was convinced and indeed the day of their Warfield performance – the fifth on their 14-date US tour – the Sacramento Bee published a scathing review of their 18 January University of Davis performance under the headline “Faith No More buries message in sonic stew”. The article began with the damning: “Life is full of profound mysteries, but few are as inexplicable as the popularity of Faith No More.”

So much for one deluded review’s opinion and back to the Warfield. The band were supported by Babes in Toyland and Kyuss and opened with the sonic assault of Caffeine after support band the Easy Goings got a torrid reception from the crowd. As for FNM, the San Jose Mercury reported in their review: “The band’s Wednesday night show at the Warfield was noisy at times — but it was a thinking person’s noisy. Amid the vocal histrionics of Mike Patton and the slash and burn instrumental pyrotechnics of guitarist Jim Martin, there were moments of intricate and inspired musicality.”

It added: “Faith No More primarily performed songs from its most recent album, “Angel Dust” — but in concert divested them of their studio sleekness, giving them a hysterical, almost punk-ish edge. But that edge also had complex chords and ensemble sections, clashing time signatures and an eclectic feel that’s rare in this genre.”

And the review concluded: “What all of this — Patton’s vocal agility and the rest of the group’s musicianship — produces is a redefinition of what slash/speed metal is and could be. This music doesn’t have to be a dull, monolithic form played by simpletons for simpletons. Instead, it can be music of ear-burning sound and innovative and soul-searing expression. All it needs is a little faith — or, Faith No More.”

Not as much on YouTube for this one but here is Patton in full flow during As the Worm Turns:

And the setlist:
Caffeine
Falling To Pieces
Land Of Sunshine
The Crab Song
Midlife Crisis
Chinese Arithmetic
RV
Surprise! You’re Dead!
Be Aggressive
Introduce Yourself
Easy
Crack Hitler
We Care A Lot
Woodpecker From Mars
Jizzlobber
Epic
Kindergarten
Sweet Dreams (Nestles)
Edge Of The World
Let’s Lynch The Landlord (Dead Kennedys)
As The Worm Turns
A Small Victory

24 April 1995
Faith No More returned to the Warfield in 1995, weeks after the release of King for a Day…King for a Lifetime. Indeed, the concert set list included nine cuts from the March release.
The San Francisco Chronicle review reported: “Mixing material from the new album with landmarks from the four previous, the band took aim at the pop sensibilities of many of their colleagues from the so-called alternative music field. Faith No More brutally lampooned the Cranberries with an apparently spontaneous version of that band’s hit Zombie, which vocalist Michael Patton transformed into a song about nose rings, extracting a Dolores O’Riordan look-alike from the front rows to sing along with him onstage.”

And continues, focusing on the band’s musicianship: “While such eclecticism was crucial to the band’s underground breakthrough, when Faith No More lashed the energy of punk to heavy metal, the musicians long ago abandoned the amateurism of punk for accomplished musicianship that allows them greater range in making their statement. Rather than simple, straight-ahead rockonomy, the musicians indulged in shifting time signatures, densely chorded passages and always scrupulous, sometimes even intricate, song structure.”

The review concluded: “Patton threw himself around stage like a limp rag doll, buckling under the very passion of his vocals. With trimmed-close hair and a short-sleeved shirt, Patton looked like anything but a rock star. But that is part of the statement, something more than a posture, underlined by the hip philosophizing, occasional sloganeering and outright sarcasm reflected in the band’s lyrics.

“There are polemics at work here. Anti-pop, anti-show business, Faith No More takes great pains to deconstruct rock concert conventions. The show ended appropriately with Bottum and Patton tossing a coin to decide whether they would play one more number. “This song goes out to every one of you from every one of us,” Patton said disingenuously before the band cranked out the final tune and left the stage.”

I have two versions of the set list:
Digging The Grave
Be Aggressive
Midlife Crisis
The Crab Song
Surprise! You’re Dead!
Evidence
What A Day
We Care A Lot
Easy
Introduce Yourself
Get Out
Zombie (Cranberries)
King For A Day
Epic
Ricochet
Just A Man
Last To Know
I Started A Joke
The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies

The Negele database also has From Out of Nowhere and Caffeine.

6 October 1997
The band returned to Warfield finally in their death throes in 1997. The Chronicle previewed rather than reviewed the gig, thus:
“Faith No More’s show at the Warfield tomorrow night signals an auspicious return for the veteran Bay Area rock group.”

The same article quotes Billy on the eve of the show: “These shows are giving me more satisfaction than any I’ve ever done. Right now we’re playing really well, and our spirits are all very good, but you can never tell what will happen when we get off the road.”

As this was in the early internet era, we have some great audience descriptions of the show here and here.
Here are some quick quotes:
“After Ugly In The Morning:
Patton: “Well having said that… why don’t you say something? You know it all, you say
something?!”
Roddy?: “You ready for a little more?”
Patton: “Tell us something about yourself, we’re just the band! You, ladies and
gentlemen are the audience!”
Roddy?: “And what a show you are ladies and gentlemen!”
Patton: “Who are you? Who are you?!”
Roddy?: “Where’s my sister?! Raise your hand Kathryn” –
Patton: “I don’t care who you are I wanna dance with ya! I want you to fuck me. You! Fuck! Me!” ”

Set list:
Midnight Cowboy
Collision
Midlife Crisis
Last Cup Of Sorrow
The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies
Evidence
Easy
Introduce Yourself
Ugly In The Morning
Home Sick Home
Ashes To Ashes
King For A Day
Pristina
Epic
Naked In Front Of The Computer
Highway Star (Deep Purple)
Just A Man
This Guy’s In Love With You
Land Of Sunshine
Caffeine
Stripsearch

I have not had any luck finding video for this but there is no shortage of full audio downloads out there on that there t’interweb.

As it transpired Faith No More played only two more US shows after this Warfield date so Monday will really be an historic return.

Acknowledgements:
As always such articles would not be possible without the two following gig resources:
anaussiemusicfan.com
Stefan Negele database
In addition, the archives of the San Francisco Chronicle have been very helpful.
Not long after starting writing this I became aware of Dan’s similar blog post so make sure to check it out too.