Boston-based rock legends Extreme kicked off the UK leg of their “Thicker Than Blood Tour” at the O2 City Hall in Newcastle on the 27th of November 2023. Supported by funk rock band Living Colour, the stage was set for a mesmerising night of high-octane music courtesy of these 2 huge legends of Rock Music.
Living Colour kicked off the evening and were welcomed onto the stage with rapturous applause by the Tyneside crowd. They paid homage to the legend that is Jimi Hendrix, on what would have been the guitar legend's 81st birthday, with a cover of the classic song “Crosstown Traffic”. The set then continued with some tunes such as “Leave it Alone” and the fan favourite “Cult of Personality”, before the tempo was lifted by one of the band's most popular songs “Love Rears its Ugly Head”. Lead singer Corey Glover then gave a nod to the 50th anniversary since the creation of Hip Hop, joking with the North East crowd “Doug was there at the beginning” with reference to the legend that is Living Colour bassist Doug Wimbish. The band then delighted the O2 Academy with a medley of hip-hop favourites including “GrandMaster Flash”, “The Sugar Hill Band”, and “Melle Mel”. Living Colour put on a soulful performance that captivated the crowd from the start and finished with a standing ovation and drummer Will Calhoun throwing his sticks into the crowd.
The crowd then waited in anticipation for the headlining act, while the stage was set with the huge Gorilla backdrop pictured on the band’s latest studio album “Six”. Noise levels rise and the atmosphere is immense as Extreme takes to the stage and flies straight into their first song “It’s a Monster” followed quickly by “Decadence Dance”, both hits taken from the 1990 double platinum album “Pornograffitti”. The delirious Tyneside crowd clearly revelling in the high-octane openers which paved the way for the night ahead.
Lead singer Gary Cherone’s energy was a huge feature of the night, he owned the whole stage and captivated the crowd as only a true frontman can. However, it was the incredible guitarist Nuno Bettencourt who captured the hearts of the City Hall crowd as they chorused “Nuno, Nuno, Nuno” clearly in awe of his talent as he belted out guitar solo, after guitar solo on tracks such as “Play with Me” to showcase his talent. However Nuno reached his peak during his acoustic solo “Midnight Express” which left the crowd spellbound. Another acoustic classic followed as Gary joined Nuno again at the front of the stage for the all-time classic “More Than Words” with the audience joining in and signing every word of this belter of a rock ballad. A mix of new tracks followed including “Banshee” before the set ended with another classic track “Get the Funk Out” which sent the crowd wild as Extreme left the stage to chants of “Nuno, Nuno, Nuno” and “encore, encore, encore”. The band obliged and closed out the night with 2 more new tracks “Small Town Beautiful” and “Rise”.
There are few words that can describe just how good Extreme were on Monday night, but their performance clearly demonstrated the chemistry that can only exist in a band that has been performing live since 1985, yet still making new music that can be delivered seamlessly alongside the classic songs their fans clearly love. Bravo Extreme, there may just be “III Sides to Every Story”.