EXTREME in Bristol: A high-energy performance showcases incredible talent

Live Review

Extreme. Photo by Paula Smith.

By Dion Smith, Journalist, and Paula Smith, Photographer – Rock At Night Bristol

Live Review: Extreme : O2 Academy : Bristol  – Sunday December 3rd 2023 

Extreme rocked the O2 Academy in Bristol on Sunday night, delivering a high-energy performance showcasing their incredible musical talent and an outstanding collection of well crafted songs. 

The band, which consists of vocalist Gary Cherone, guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, bassist Pat Badger and drummer Kevin Figueiredo, played a mix of both old and new songs spanning across six studio albums and nearly 4 decades.  

Extreme. Photo by Paula Smith.

The band kicked off with a powerful rendition of It‘s a Monster” with Gary Cherone commanding every bit of the stage.  Gary has certainly not lost any of his onstage presence and charisma I was amazed how much energy went into his performance. 

The band followed up with Decadence Dance” from their second album Pornograffitti which set the tone for the night. The crowd sang along to the catchy lyrics and cheered for Bettencourt’s impressive guitar playing. In fact, I’d say Nuno is probably one of the most technically gifted players I have seen and performed complex guitar riffs and solos with ease. Gary Cherone is visibly enjoying every second, jumping on and off the drum riser and leaning over the photo pit grinning into the cameras and certainly still has a fantastic voice.   

Extreme. Photo by Paula Smith.

Then came a new song “Rebel” taken from their latest album “Six”.Rebel” is an infectious track and went down a storm with the newly warmed up and excited audience. I think everyone was amazed at how good the band sounded and how well they executed these songs. Everything sounded super tight and everything just grooved and got the audience moving! 

Extreme continued with songs from their other albums, such as “Rest in Peace” and Hip Today” followed by a suitably sped up version of Queens “We Will Rock You”   

Then came Play with Me”, a fast paced rocker which then led into the slower paced “The Other side of the rainbow” from their latest album.  

The band then dropped down a gear with “Hole Hearted”, an acoustic ballad that reached No. 4 on the Billboard in 1991. Cherone’s vocals were smooth and soulful, while Bettencourt added some beautiful harmonies and percussive elements with his acoustic guitar.  This was then followed by an epic rendition of “Cupids Dead” followed by “Am I ever gonna change” and “Hurricane”. 

Extreme. Photo by Paula Smith.

The highlight of the night though was the performance of “More Than Words”, the band’s most famous song that reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is a simple stripped-down acoustic version with just Cherone and Bettencourt taking centre stage.  By this point the crowd were enjoying every moment and singing along with both Cherone and Bettencourt. 

Then came another rocker “Banshee” and the country inspired track ”Take us alive” before Nuno shredded his guitar with Flight Of The Wounded Bumble Bee” which features some incredible high speed guitar work from Bettencourt who is without a doubt one of the most impressive guitarists in the world of rock music today.  

Extreme. Photo by Paula Smith.

Extreme eventually closed the main set with Get the Funk Out” and the energy immediately filled the fully packed room. This song is just fun and showcases just how talented the band is, and also had the entire crowd singing and dancing along! 

The encore consisted of songs from their latest album release entitled Six, Small Town Beautiful” is a slower paced song that reminds me a bit of older Aerosmith. The band concluded the concert with Rise”, one of the most highly anticipated songs of the evening. This song also featured a powerhouse performance from drummer Kevin Figueiredo and of course one of the best guitar solos of the year from Bettencourt. 

The crowd cheered and applauded as the band took their final bow and spent time handing out guitar picks and drum sticks to some of the younger members of the audience who equally enjoyed the show as much as the adults! 

The concert was a memorable experience for both the old and new fans alike, who witnessed the band’s amazing 2 hour high energy performance. 

Extreme proved that they are still one of the most original and talented bands in the rock scene today!  An incredible performance with a wealth of memorable and catchy songs spanning their entire career.  Top marks all round!!