Saturday, August 2, 2008

Extreme measures (up)

No pictures or videos in this one...the band had requested that cameras not be allowed and, despite wanting to try and get away with taking some pictures, I respected the request and left my camera in the car. Would have loved to have taken some pictures though...especially in that particular venue...and especially given the fact that this was the opening night of their tour.

Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt were born for each other. Which is why the reunification of Extreme (well at least a 75% reunification) was inevitable.

Cherone, the lead singer, and Bettencourt, the band's guitarist, have always complemented each other perfectly, whether harmonizing or just feeding off of each other's energy.

Extreme are back together after a 13 year hiatus (except for a few shows in 2004 and 2006) with Pat Badger back on bass and the only change taking place behind the drum kit with Kevin Figueiredo (who, amusingly, looks like a cross between Wolverine of the X-Men and a Hobbit) replacing Paul Geary, who is still with the band, but in a management position.

Extreme's new album, "Saudades de Rock" will be released on August 12th. However, the tour in support of the album kicked off last night at a place called The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY (they played Rocklahoma this year as well, but this show was the official start of their tour).

I was there.

I arrived late and missed the first act, a local band called Downfire. King's X was already on the stage and their set was very good.

But, having been an Extreme fan since 1989, I was there to see them.

The Chance is a small place...an old vaudeville theater converted into a bar/club. The capacity is only 748.

Extreme took the stage a little after 10:00.

I didn't keep a detailed set list but the show opened with "Decadence Dance", "Comfortably Dumb" (from their forthcoming new album) and "Rest In Peace".

Closed with "Get The Funk Out". At least I think it did...dammit now I can't remember if that was the last song or if there was one after that.

Anyway....

The encore consisted of "Hole Hearted", "It('s A Monster)" and "Warheads".

There were some typical opening night technical glitches but the band worked through them with a good sense of humor. The only real rough point was with their new song "Ghost". The sound mix was all off and Bettencourt's piano was terribly distorted.

Nuno played one of the most amazing, if not THE most amazing, guitar solos I've ever seen. On a stool with an electric/acoustic the man showed why he needs to be ranked among the top guitarists of all time. And what makes Nuno even greater than most is the way he is on stage. He wasn't pulling all this "rock god / guitar god" stuff. He was having fun and it was clear to everyone. A constant smile on his face, bopping around while he played, and the way he interacted with the audience elevated his stature above what it already is.

Kevin Figueiredo, behind the drums, who played with Nuno in Bettencourt's project DramaGods and also Perry Farrell's Satellite Party is pretty damn good too. It's amazing what he can do with just a 4 piece kit...he makes it sound like he's working at least 7 pieces.

And Cherone (having gone blonde) proved that he's still one of rock's greatest vocalists.

The set list itself was a great balance of their old and new stuff.

But what really made this show special, outside of the music of course, is the way the band interacted with the crowd. Of course, that's much easier to do in a small venue than in an arena, but they could have had the "rock star attitude" and just methodically moved from one song to the next. Rather they would interact with the crowd...not just in a collective sense but also one on one with people. It was clear that everybody was feeding off of everyone else's energy and I think the band had as good a time as the audience did...they seemed to genuinely enjoy the atmosphere and enthusiasm.

Best new song of the night: "Take Us Alive".

Catch the show when it comes near you if you can.

Find tickets for Extreme
Extreme on Amazon

Here are the tour dates:


Jul 31 2008 8:00P
Bank Of America Pavilion Boston, Massachusetts

Aug 1 2008 8:00P
Brookhaven Amphitheater Farmingville, New York

Aug 2 2008 8:00P
Rams Head Baltimore, Maryland

Aug 4 2008 8:00P
Fillmore East at Irving Plaza NY, New York

Aug 5 2008 8:00P
Chameleon Club Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Aug 6 2008 8:00P
House of Blues Cleveland, Ohio

Aug 8 2008 8:00P
Emerald Theater Detroit, Michigan

Aug 9 2008 8:00P
House of Blues Chicago, Illinois

Aug 10 2008 8:00P
Union Center Blvd Bash Cincinnati, Ohio

Aug 12 2008 8:00P
Amos' Southend Charlotte, North Carolina

Aug 13 2008 8:00P
Center Stage Atlanta, Georgia

Aug 15 2008 8:00P
House of Blues Orlando, Florida

Aug 16 2008 8:00P
Revolution Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Aug 18 2008 8:00P
House of Blues New Orleans, Louisiana

Aug 19 2008 8:00P
Meridian Houston, Texas

Aug 20 2008 8:00P
House of Blues Dallas, Texas

Aug 22 2008 8:00P
The Marquee Phoenix, Arizona

Aug 23 2008 8:00P
House of Blues Las Vegas, Nevada

Aug 25 2008 8:00P
Fillmore San Francisco, California

Aug 26 2008 8:00P
House of Blues Los Angeles, California

Sep 13 2008 8:00P
Rock Of Ages - A September To Remember Festival Milan, Italy

Nov 11 2008 7:00P
Corn Exchange Cambridge, UK

Nov 12 2008 7:00P
Norwich UEA Norwich, UK

Nov 14 2008 7:00P
Leeds Academy Leeds, UK

Nov 15 2008 7:00P
Glasgow Carling Academy Glasgow, UK

Nov 17 2008 7:00P
Newcastle City Hall Newcastle, UK

Nov 18 2008 7:00P
Manchester Academy Manchester, UK

Nov 20 2008 7:00P
Newport Centre Newport, UK

Nov 21 2008 7:00P
Guildhall Southampton, UK

Nov 23 2008 7:00P
Birmingham Academy Birmingham, UK

Nov 24 2008 7:00P
Astoria London, UK

Dec 1 2008 6:00P
Shibuya C.C.

Lemon Hall Tokyo, Japan

Dec 2 2008 6:00P
Shibuya C.C.

Lemon Hall Tokyo, Japan

Dec 4 2008 6:00P
Shibuya C.C.

Lemon Hall Tokyo, Japan

Dec 8 2008 6:00P
Koseinenkin Kaikan Osaka, Japan

Dec 9 2008 6:00P
Shi Kokaido Nagoya, Japan

Dec 10 2008 6:00P
Yubin Chokin Hall Hiroshima, Japan

Dec 13 2008 8:00P
Melon AX Hall Seoul, South Korea

1 comment:

Zack said...

**SPOILER ALERT:**
SET LIST FROM RAM'S HEAD.
_____________________

I was up on the 2nd level of the venue, and was able to read off the setlist. As I drove down from Philadelphia (mostly to see King's X) left before the encore, so someone else may be able to fill them in and/or correct.

New songs are starred.
_____________________

August 2nd Setlist / Ram's Head, Baltimore Maryland:

Comfortably Dumb*
Decadence Dance
Rest in Peace
Star*
Tell me Something I Don't Know
Play With Me
Slide*
Midnight Express
More Than Words
Ghost*
Cupid's Dead
Take Us Alive*
Am I Ever Gonna Change
Flight Of The Wounded Bumblebee
Get The Funk Out
________________
ENCORE:
Hole Hearted