Extreme in Hollywood
By Charlie Steffens, aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Sunday, September 14, 2008 @ 4:17 PM
House of Blues
A reunited, reignited Extreme knocked a full-to-capacity Hollywood House of Blues the funk out with a night of music and theatrics, proving that a little time off–like thirteen years–can be a good thing.
The crowd, made up mainly of seemingly well-behaved men and women, absolutely lost it when Gary Cherone, Nuno Bettencourt, Pat Badger, and new drummer Kevin Figueiredo swiped the stage. (I didn’t see one person throwing up, and quite sadly, no zoomers were flashed). The energy exchange between the band and the audience was palpable at once going into “Comfortably Dumb,” as a lithe and ultra-fit Gary Cherone took the microphone, cheerfully attacking the stage. It’s usually a ballsy move to play a new song for an opener, but the audience, it seemed, was already in an Extreme-induced stupor and most appreciative.
When Bettencourt’s guitar screamed out the first few notes of “Decadence Dance,” it was evident that the guys had their act down tight and were going to give it all to a wildly appreciative audience, many of which had waited years for this auspicious night. It’s always nice to see a crowd with no one crossing their arms…and not a single “I just smelled catshit” facial expression on the floor.
All the harmony, melody, groove, funk, and folk that is Extreme was turned on loud and high. Hats off to Kevin Figueiredo, who had tough shoes to fill as Paul Geary’s drumming replacement, but the guy more than proved his mettle as the “F.N.G.” in the band.
The house sang more of “More Than Words” than Cherone and Bettencourt did. “Ghost,” the sure to be a hit song off the new album Saudades de Rock was spellbinding. With Bettencourt behind the piano as Cherone’s vocal accompaniment, this was another new song that completely met the audience’s approval. As would be expected, “Hole Hearted” was mandatorily included in the set, but was played with an electric guitar–it sounded really good.
“Communication Breakdown” was the closer of the evening, a hard-rocking salute to Led Zeppelin and the spirit of rock and roll.
How many bands really hold their edge after two decades and/or a several-year hiatus? Extreme is definitely one, whether on record or onstage.
Hails to the ever-enthralling King’s X; the evening’s opener.
* Comfortably Dumb
* Decadence Dance
* Rest in Peace
* Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
* Medley (Kid Ego, Little Girls, Teacher’s Pet)
* Play With Me
* Midnight Express
* More Than Words
* Cupid’s Dead
* Take Us Alive
* Get the Funk Out
* Am I Ever Gonna Change?
* Hole Hearted
* Mutha (Don’t Wanna Go To School Today)
* Communication Breakdown
Check out a photo gallery from the night. Click here.