Words & Photos by Marco Denzer
Leading up to the release of their sixth studio album titled “Six” in June of this year, Extreme awakened their heavy rock sleeping giant by previously releasing the singles “Rise” and “#Rebel”, in March and April respectively. The band’s hard driving rhythms, catchy lead vocals and harmonies, power riffs and mind-blowing guitar leads quickly grabbed the heavy rock world by storm. The singles were a loud, clear and an eminent sign of an excellent set of songs included in their forthcoming production. Fortunately for new and longtime fans of the band, the Beantown quartet has embarked on their extensive “Thicker Than Blood Tour” through North America, Japan, Australia and Europe in support of “Six”. In other words, there are ample opportunities to see the band playing live on stage in the near future.
Friday night at The Webster Theater in Hartford, CT, Extreme held nothing back as they performed an extremely entertaining show, and considering the fact that their extensive discography is exceedingly diverse in terms of sound and vibes, ranging from very delicate and romantic to heavier hard-rocking tunes, the band assembled a setlist that offered a wide variety of songs for everyone in the crowd to connect with an enjoy.
Extreme kicked off their set at approximately 9:15 PM following a lively, guitar laden set by the famed NYC band Living Colour, currently touring with them as supporting artist. The room fell completely dark, and an African rhythmic chant began playing as a large image of the silverback gorilla depicted on the cover “Six” slowly started projecting on the backdrop screen. The band, featuring drummer Kevin Figueiredo, bassist Pat Badger, vocalist Gary Cherone, and guitarist Nuno Bettencourt jumped right into it, full speed ahead, with ‘#Rebel’ from the new album. They continued on with a carefully curated list of twenty tunes compiled from their vast body of work, including songs like “Hole Hearted”, “Cupid’s Dead” and “Small Town Beautiful” from the albums “Pornograffiti”, “III Sides to Every Story” and “Six” respectively.
As Gary is a consummate front man and an absolute master at instigating audience participation to sing along, clap their hands and let loose to fully enjoy the show without holding back. He made singing lead vocals while incessantly jumping and dancing around on stage look easy, and we all know full well that it isn’t. Additionally, Pat and Kevin’s power-house rhythm section laid the perfect foundation for Nuno’s masterful guitar work. His outstanding virtuosity can’t be overstated and it’s a real sight to behold live in concert. It’s also extremely impressive to see Nuno armed with only three Washburn guitars (one electric and two acoustics) and a small set of pedals add so much tone, harmonics, shredding and feeling to their music. Lastly, Pat and Nuno’s vocal contributions are also very admirable. They frequently sing three-part harmonies with Gary to enhance and ultimately add quite a bit to the overall sound of their songs.
Their set was very high energy and dynamic. There was never a dull moment throughout the entire show, and the crowd was all in right from the very beginning. The band’s undeniable chemistry, a product of the many years playing together, was obvious and came across as an incredibly personal and cohesive vibe on stage. Their performance, whether on acoustic, funk-based, or full blast rocking tunes, was delivered with impeccable timing and groove. Band member interactions during the performance were playful and flowed naturally with ease, they were clearly having a good time and gladly shared that with their audience, but above all… they kicked some serious rock and roll ass. The show was an absolute blast!
|It (‘s a Monster)||Extreme II: Pornograffiti|
|Rest in Peach||III Sides To Every Story|
|Hip Today||Waiting For The Punchline|
|Teacher’s Pet / Flesh n Blood / Wind Me Up / Kid Ego||Medley|
|Play With Me||Extreme|
|Tragic Comic||III Sides To Every Story|
|Hole Hearted||Extreme II: Pornograffiti|
|Other Side of The Rainbow||Six|
|Cupid’s Dead||III Sides To Every Story|
|Am I Ever Gonna Change||III Sides To Every Story|
|Midnight Express||Waiting For The Punchline|
|More Than Words||Extreme II: Pornograffiti|
|Take Us Alive||Saudades de Rock|
|Flight of The Wounded Bumblebee||Take Us Alive|
|Get The Funk Out||Extreme II: Pornograffiti|
|Small Town Beautiful||Six|
|Song for Love||Extreme II: Pornograffiti|
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