Skip to content
Skip to main site content Extreme Logo


March 7, 2024


via HunnyPot

Growing up before the time of Spotify and big file sharing tools. Finding new music was a bit scarcer. Especially in the world of rock and metal, as they weren’t in the mainstream all too often. One of the biggest revolutions in getting more eyes on rock and metal was the video game series Guitar Hero. It helped introduce the world to a lot more niche genres of music, and really reinvigorated people’s love for the guitar. One spinoff sequel of the game was Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s. This version of the game was dedicated to some of the biggest rock and metal songs of the 80s. Where the original Guitar Hero has DragonForce’s “Through the Fire and Flames” as the hardest song. This version has Extreme’s “Play With Me.” This was my first introduction to the band Extreme, but hearing this song, I was instantly hooked. I scoured the internet looking for more from them, and just fell in love with their music. Ever since this game, I have been waiting to see them live, and finally in 2024 they are back on tour. Bringing with them Living Colour, Extreme embarked on their Thicker Than Blood World Tour. Making a stop at the Bellwether in Los Angeles, the line was around the block with fans of all ages ready to rock out.

Opening the show was Living Colour. I’ve always heard of this band in passing and talked about in high regard. But I have yet to really sit down and give them a proper listen. Lucky for me, I got to truly take them in this night. Kicking off their set with “Middle Man,” guitarist Vernon Reid electrifies the crowd with an exhilarating opening riff. Seeing Reid play live, I never knew how guitar forward Living Colours songs could be. Reid likes to let his fingers do the talking as he dances around the fretboard. Vocalist Corey Glover walked out on stage with a glistening jacket, looking like a true rockstar. He still carries a powerful voice that resonates throughout the venue. Drummer Will Calhoun is seated lower on his thrown than I have ever seen a drummer sit. But in this relaxed position he still fills the music with so much funk and soul to the rhythm. Bassist Doug Wimbash plays with a slapping style that floats effortlessly between groove and lead lines. Wimbash’s and Reid almost take turns between driving the lead of the song and carrying the melody of the beat. Living Colour played a fantastic set of hits like “Leave It Alone,” “Ignorance Bliss,” “Time’s Up,” “Nothing Compares 2 U,” “Glamour Boys,” “Love Rears it’s Ugly Head,” “Type,” and ending with the indomitable “Cult of Personality.” Seeing a band I have heard of live is one of my favorite ways to finally experience that band. Seeing Living Colour didn’t just make me a new fan, but it makes me appreciate their music so much more by watching just how technical, yet accessible their music can be.

As the crowd eagerly awaited our headliner during set change, I was filled with anxious energy. I had been waiting 17 years to finally see Extreme live and all I wanted was for them to live up to my irrational expectation. Starting their set with “It (‘s a Monster),” the LCD backdrop displayed the cover of their album Extreme II: Pornograffitti, transporting us to some kind of seedy downtown neighborhood lit up with neon signs. As vocalist Gary Cherone struck a pose in front of the neon signs, the crowd erupted with excitement. Coming down to the front of the stage, we were caught in a whirl wind of chaotic energy that Cherone brings to his stage performance. The man could barely hold still for more than a few seconds. Keeping this energy up and going through the entire set, Cherone proves he is still a one of a kind front man. Guitarist Nuno Bettencourt truly stands out when you put a guitar in his hands. Writing some of the most iconic and air guitar-able solo’s. The crowd had a hard time keeping their jaws off the floor no matter whether he was on his electric or switching it up to his acoustic guitar. Bassist Pat Badger holds down the rhythm that allows Bettencourt to go wild with each song. While drummer Kevin “k-Figg” Figueiredo traverses his kit with playing that encompasses metal and brings the funk!

With Extreme’s latest album Six, it really put them back on the map of the music world. But with this show, the band gave us the best from their entire discography. Nuno mentioned that most people think Pornograffitti was their first album, but they had a self titled before this. Launching into a medley of songs of their self titled, I sang my heart out as I personally love this album. The medley included snippets of “Teacher’s Pet / Flesh ‘n’ Blood / Wind Me Up / Kid Ego,” followed by their Guitar Hero track “Play With Me.” There were even a few moments where Nuno switched over to an acoustic guitar for tracks like “OTHER SIDE OF THE RAINBOW,” “Hole Hearted,” a mind bending acoustic shred solo called “Midnight Express,” and the ultimate fan favorite “More Than Words.” Which the latter brought tears to my eyes hearing it live as it was too beautiful. Other classics that we got to hear included “Decadence Dance,” “#REBEL,” “Rest in Peace,” “Cupid’s Dead,” “Am I Ever Gonna Change,” “THICKER THAN BLOOD,” “BANSHEE,” “Take Us Alive,” “Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee,” “Get the Funk Out,” and coming back for a two song encore with “SMALL TOWN BEAUTIFUL,” and finally ending with “RISE.” With the final song, Nuno stepped up to center stage to let the audience fully take in the power and soul that he put into that solo. It’s not unfair to say that “RISE” and specifically that solo is what really helped remind fans just how great this band was, and still is.

We got over a two hour set of songs old and new from Extreme, and they blew my irrational expectations out of the water. Not only did the band still sound amazing as they performed with heart, love, and stage presence that you would expect from an arena level show. But they brought this high caliber performance to a 1,500 capacity crowd and we ate up every moment. I can’t honestly remember the last time I had this much fun at a show. I will be living off the energy of this show for a while. I hope Extreme is not done touring anytime soon, as I will need another live fix from them soon.