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Extreme – Pornograffitti Live 25th Anniversary

Date: 1/20/15
Venue: Bergen PAC Center, Englewood, New Jersey
Report By: Rich Catino

Extreme fell in with the 80s Hair Metal bands and rightfully so, they also had big riffs, big hits, and big hair. But, if you really listened to Extreme, one with a brain would realize they were one of the few bands with a little something else to offer, combining Van Halen spirited arena hard rock with layers of Queen influenced vocal harmonies, but with some funk, a quality basically no one had. I was hoping one day these guys would play the album “Pornograffitti” top to bottom because it is Extreme at their best; great heavy hard rockin riffs, piano and acoustic based ballads, melodies and harmonies out the ass, and pounds of funked rock that could make the head bang or foot tap. This “Pornograffitti” anniversary sees ¾ of the original band on stage; singer and maestro Gary Cherone, guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, and bassist Pat Badger, joined by drummer Kevin Figueiredo (since 2007) replacing Paul Geary.

Extreme are as exciting, energetic, hard rockin, and musically capable as they ever were. Actually, where many of their peers have lost vocal range, that metal edge to the guitars, and ability to write music as good as their past, Extreme have maintained their legacy and aged like a fine wine. Cherone is a ball of energy, singing and dancing like his life depended on it, interacting with band members as well as grooving in his own space. Very Freddie Mercury in spirit.

Album (and show) openers ‘Decadence Dance’, ‘Li'l Jack Horny’, ‘When I'm President’, ‘Get the Funk Out’ perfectly segue into one other, stand alone as individual rockers, and demonstrate the songwriting talent and class to the “Pornograffitti” album. Just listen to those complimenting (pre-recorded) horns during ‘Jack Horny’ and ‘Funk Out’ and tell me Extreme don’t do their own thang.

While Nuno is doing work on the guitar, cramming all those little tasty pinches and squeals in between the riffs, Pat and Kevin supply a solid hard hitting bottom end. Not only are the instruments a tight knit machine, but so are the vocals atop, and the backing harmonies. Nuno even gets behind the piano for the bar room ballad ‘When I First Kissed You’, and tears it up for the ‘Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee’ intro prior to ‘He-Man Woman Hater’. The up-beat feel good ‘Hole Hearted’ has been a long time fav of mine, and again Nuno gets to show his skills on the acoustic guitar for instrumental ‘Midnight Express’ and barnyard jam ‘Take Us Alive’ from their most recent album ‘Saudades the Rock’. Glad they got two from “III Sides To Every Story” in the encore, but still only ‘Play With Me’ from the debut? No ‘Kid Ego’ (which was played in other cities)? Hopefully next time.

Decadence Dance
Li'l Jack Horny
When Iident
Get the Funk Out
More Than Words
Money (In God We Trust)
It ('s a Monster)
When I First Kissed You
Suzi (Wants Her All Day What?)
He-Man Woman Hater (including "Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee" intro)
Song for Love
Hole Hearted (with "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen)
Play with Me
Rest in Peace
Take Us Alive
Midnight Express
Am I Ever Gonna Change
Cupid's Dead

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