Fusing the best of funk and Glam Metal on the streets of Boston in the mid-’80s was a band by the name Extreme. On the city streets in downtown Hartford, CT, fans lined up down several city blocks to see Extreme and special guest Living Colour on the seventh stop of the U.S. leg of the Thicker Than Blood tour. The crowd filed into the newly remodelled Webster Theater, packing the GA venue entirely, from wall to wall.
Webster Theater Hartford, CT – 11 August 2023
Words and Photography: Shannon Wilk
Extreme kicked off their set with the second single, #REBEL, from their latest record, SIX. As always, these four gentlemen come out of the gate at 150% energy like it’s still 1986, and they’re young and hungry.
Onto two classic Extreme tunes from Pornograffiti, Decadence Dance and It (‘s a Monster). Violins begin to play over the PA, and guitarist Nuno Bettencourt begins the riff to Rest In Peace. Next, the band played a song from their 1995 album, yet the lyrics still remain relevant to modern times; Hip Today.
“We’re gonna take you way back now to the early days of the band,” says Nuno Bettencourt, and the band begins a medley featuring four songs from their debut album; Teacher’s Pet, Flesh ‘n’ Blood, Wind Me Up and Kid Ego. Extreme performed one final song from their self-titled release, a song I grew up hearing often, Play With Me.
It’s clear the band hasn’t lost their technical chops in the slightest, between the insane vocal harmonies, speedy riffage and solos, grooving bass, high-energy performance and perfectly in-time drums. Extreme is one band you can see in concert and get a taste of their entire discography, with at least one song from each album.
Bettencourt grabs a white 12-string acoustic guitar for a mellower portion of the set. Pat Badger begins Tragic Comic with a bass groove, and the rest of the band joins in. The four continue the acoustic tunes with their second-highest charting single, Hole-Hearted, and their fourth single from their 2023 album, OTHER SIDE OF THE RAINBOW.
Drummer Kevin Figueiredo plays a drum fill, and the band launches into Cupid’s Dead, followed by Am I Ever Gonna Change, both from ’92’s III Sides to Every Story. Bettencourt grabs an acoustic guitar, this time a 6-string, for an instrumental piece, Midnight Express, followed by a touching duet of More Than Words with Cherone. The singing voices of the crowd fill the room, making for a soul-connecting experience.
Without losing a beat, Extreme slings their electric instruments back on and brings the rock ‘n’ roll energy back with a newer tune BANSHEE.
“Clap with me,” says Bettencourt and begins playing muted notes rhythmically on his guitar and eventually playing Take Us Alive. Bettencourt wields his signature Washburn 4N axe, and his fingers fly across the fretboard eloquently through Flight Of The Wounded Bumblebee, and the rest of the band joins him as they close their set with Get The Funk Out.
Nuno puts his guitar back on and returns to the stage, picking away at chords slowly and softly. Cherone joins him and begins singing SMALL TOWN BEAUTIFUL. Pat Badger and K-Fig take the stage with their bandmates to continue the song.
Extreme finish off their encore with two more songs; Song For Love and RISE.
You can read the Living Colour review here.