CONCERT REVIEW: EXTREME Live and in Your Face! Tour Opening Night at Bergen PAC, Englewood, NJ (January 24th, 2024)

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Extreme laid low with a 15-year absence from releasing new music, but in 2023, they came back on the music scene with a vengeance by releasing one of the year’s best hard rock albums, “Six”.

“Six” is a worldwide success and a renewed call to arms for the band with their most prolific and influential albums. The singles “Rise,” #Rebel,” “Banshee,” and “Other Side of the Rainbow” have helped usher in a new era for the band from fretwork work, lyrical content, production, and melodic song creation, raising the bar for any rock or hard rock band planning to release an album.

Extreme spent the second half of 2023 touring the US and the world promoting “Six”. With diehard fans and new fans on board, there has never been a stronger demand to see this band live, so much so they have returned for another US tour in 2024, Tonight’s show was in Englewood, NJ, at Bergen PAC, and it’s the band’s first show of the second leg of the US tour.

Photo by Robert Cavuoto

Extreme rewarded the audience’s demand by rolling out “It’s a Monster” as the first song to their instantly recognizable album, “Pornograffitti”. An immediate and intimate connection between the musicians and the audience was made right from the show’s onset.

Everything you could want from an Extreme concert happened on stage tonight, starting with a setlist that toggled between songs like “Decadence Dance,” showcasing the band’s vitality, “Get the Funk Out,” demonstrated their poetic crassness, to Nuno‘s inspiring instrumental “Midnight Express” as well as fifteen other songs that are simply testosterone saturated fury! The set also included a medley from their debut album, “Teacher’s Pet,” “Flesh ‘n’ Blood,” “Wind Me Up,” and “Kid Ego,” which thrill diehard fans. Nuno introduced these song snippets by telling the audience, “Pornograffitti was not the band’s first album”

Photo by Robert Cavuoto

Before launching into some of the songs, fans were treated to the band’s fun foreplay. Prior to “Banshee,” Nuno dedicated the song to all the women at the show as the band performed the acapella intro of Queen‘s “Fat Bottom Girls.” Later in the evening, Nuno graced us with a few bars of Van Halen‘s “Woman in Love” while pointing to the sky to Eddie before “Small Town Beautiful!”

Mid-set, the band put the breaks on the arena rock anthems like “Play with Me” and “Cupid’s Dead” so Nuno and Gary could take center stage seated on stools to perform their biggest hit, “More Than Words.” With cell phones ignited and held high, fans swayed back to the song’s rhythmic groove while singing the song’s love-yearning lyrics.

Photo by Robert Cavuoto

The performance continued at a dizzying pace, as Gary is a study in perpetual motion. He fluidly glided across the stage in a form of controlled chaos, hurdling himself on and off the drum riser while posturing with half mic stand for the crowd to the effervescence of their music. No guide vocals or backing tracks are needed with this band. Gary‘s vocals and the band’s harmonies are pure and honest.

If Nuno is the God of all things guitar, then Gary is his equal in vocals and showmanship. He is hands down the best frontman from all the existing 80s-era bands. There couldn’t be an Extreme without either of these four talented musicians.

Photo by Robert Cavuoto

Nuno continues to cement his guitar legacy as an innovative guitarist who revolutionizes the band’s sound. His tonal palette is expansive, colorful, and unique as he draws upon 35 years of practical experience. As he played, he assaulted his guitars in ways that most people would never think possible. It soon became apparent that his guitar was an extension of his body, and the sounds emanating from his guitar weren’t necessarily guitar sounds but harmonic textures. The lyrics to his mesmerizing solos were the passion, desire, and pain expressed on his face while he played.  His playing was edgy yet tasteful. Watching him combine his signature techniques of speed, dexterity, and melody was awe-inspiring.

Photo by Robert Cavuoto

Kevin and Pat built the groove behind Nuno and Gary. Their intensity seemed supercharged, with Kevin taking fills and going through countless sticks as he pounded away. Pat played his bass like a lead instrument, adding the descending chord sequences to make the songs feel lofty and edgy while delivering the perfect vocal harmonies. He brings energy to the big moments and understands the sensitive ones, which is a balancing act of when to use it and when to entertain the audience.

During the final encore of “Rise,” it crystalized that there was an unbridled passion, excitement, and power when these musicians hit the stage that cannot be adequately captured on any cell phone video. Extreme are a band that must be experienced live, at the edge of the stage, and in your face! A genuine American rock act of our era!

EXTREME Photo Gallery (Photos by Robert Cavuoto):

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5 Comments

  1. Outstanding and SPOT ON review! Extreme never fails to disappoint and have even gotten better all this time later. Let’s hope the next album doesn’t take another 15 years!

  2. Leo Bast Nazareth PA on

    Couldn’t agree more with your review! My wife and I met you on the 1st leg in Reading, PA as we searched out the band pre-show. Nice seeing you again. Enjoyed the review and pictures. Keep up the great work. Hoping we can catch you at another show. In the meantime looking forward to more interviews.

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