Extreme / An Electrifying Live Return To UK

After their all-too-brief UK tour earlier in the year, it was wonderful to have Extreme back and playing in the UK. The band are certainly in fighting form tonight. Hurtling on stage with amps blazing and the roaring riff of It (‘s A Monster), the band followed it with the fantastic Decadence Dance and already had the crowd on their feet and singing. 

Extreme

OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024

Words: Kahmel Farahani

Photography: Robert Sutton

Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

Extreme frontman Gary Cherone looks and sounds absolutely superb tonight, while the rhythm section of bassist Pat Badger and drummer Kevin Figueiredo keep things locked down tight and groovy.

Then there is guitarist Nuno Bettencourt.

Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

Arguably the finest guitarist of his generation and still looking like the poster child for guitar heroes the world over, Bettencourt’s playing is genuinely mesmerising. From the fuzzy, sizzling riffs and licks of Decadence Dance and Play With Me to the lighting speed shredding during Flight Of The Bumble Bee, the guitar sounds so loud and in your face that it’s impossible not to wear a massive grin.

Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

“We only make a new album every few decades,” says Nuno Bettencourt, “so we’re really thrilled with the response to 6.”

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A rather excellent album full of big riffs and hooks that the fan’s have come to expect, songs like #REBEL slot nicely into the set. The electric is briefly swapped out for an acoustic and the gorgeous Hole Hearted is played next.

Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

“This is my favourite part of the show because I get to sit down,” quips a smiling Nuno. “Hey, I’m 58 and sitting down is almost as good as an orgasm. Scorpions don’t realise it, but we get paid by the note.” 

Dedicated to all the guitar players in the house, Nuno’s acoustic guitar showcase/showstopper Midnight Express is nothing short of jaw-dropping. It starts off as a flamenco-tinged rocker before picking up speed and building to a climax. The fluidity, clean picking and downright insanity of the shredding speed he displays put him in a league all his own.  

Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

It’s followed by the band’s own evergreen power ballad, More Than Words. “This song was always a duet between me and my brother Gary here,” says Nuno, “but these days it’s a duet between you and us, so sing along and don’t be shy.”

It’s still the perfect sweet yet deceptively lovers balled, and all of OVO Arena Wembley joins Extreme in singing this one. 

Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

The band take a second to sing a happy birthday song to their booking agent and friend, Rod MacSween before the stomping Get The Funk Out. Funky, heavy, catchy and just incredibly fun to sing along, it’s Extreme in a nutshell.

Their music and performance would put almost every younger band in their genre to shame.

Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

They finally end their set with another song from their latest record, Rise. This is a terrific rocker with the final boss battle of all guitar solos. 

Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

With 16 songs and well over an hour on stage, tonight’s performance felt less like an opening set and more like a headline show. Beyond the need for props, backdrops or dancers, Extreme provided an absolutely mesmerising rock and roll circus.

Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk
Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk
Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk
Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk
Extreme - OVO Arena Wembley - 8 June 2024
Extreme – OVO Arena Wembley – 8 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk
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