Extreme and Living Colour in St. Petersburg: Perform high energy rock to packed crowd

Live Review

Gary Cherone of Extreme. Photo by Chyrisse.

By Vlad T and Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night

Live Review: Extreme’s Thicker Than Blood Tour and Living Colour at Jannus Live, St. Petersburg, Florida – March 9, 2024

March 9th saw a pair of American rock outfits who reached dizzying heights in MTV’s golden era visit St. Petersburg’s Jannus Live.

Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme. Photo by Chyrisse.

Boston rock band Extreme is a holdover from the 1980s and ’90s that continues to be going strong today. Consisting of original members vocalist Gary Cherone, guitar hero Nuno Bettencourt, and bassist Pat Badger, plus relative ‘newcomer’ Kevin Figueiredo (drums), the unit released the album “Six” in June 2023. They have been touring heavily across the globe, including the festival circuit. Rock At Night caught the band in Bristol, UK, in December.

Like Extreme, New York City band Living Colour carries a strong legacy and acclaim for its musicianship from the same era. The current lineup features most of the original members, including vocalist Corey Glover, guitar hero in his own right Vernon Reid, and dynamic drummer Will Calhoun, as well as longtime bass stalwart Doug Wimbish.

The Concert

Corey Glover of Living Colour. Photo by Chyrisse.

The tour landed on the evening of the Firestone Grand Prix where the downtown area was packed with revelers hitting the bars and walking the streets. At Jannus Live, a unique outdoor venue, the courtyard was standing room only. The audience spanning several generations—clad in tees remembering yesteryear icons like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple—were there to experience from an earlier (more honest?) rock era in some form, even if the bands from the ‘classic rock’ era they remember have long faded away. That’s the loft on which star acts from late-80s now find themselves, and Extreme and Living Colour are happy to rule from there.

What stood out during the evening was the musicianship and showman instincts of both bands and the power of the music.

Gary Cherone of Extreme. Photo by Chyrisse.

Gary Cherone prowled the stage with preternatural elasticity, demonstrating his incredible athleticism by effortlessly scaling a tower of speakers—while not losing the melody of the outfit’s big hits one bit.  A true Spiderman. Bettencourt showed why he’s a quintessential showman, wielding the blistering and clean form that made him a shredding legend while also at one point letting loose the inter-song banter one would have heard from fellow Bostonian Peter Wolf (J Geils). A particularly poignant moment was the sustained outro of ‘Rest in Peace’ where the band signaled peace signs, spurring the audience to share the gesture.

Doug Wimbish of Living Colour. Photo by Chyrisse.

Living Color’s megahits including “Cult of Personality,” “Type,” and “Glamour Boys” hit home in muscular and spirited renditions, while a trio of enthusiastically received versions of MC5s’ “Kick Out the Jams,” Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2U,” and an unlikely but boisterous medley of early 80s hip hop anthems (“White Lines,” “Apache,” and “The Message”) showed the band’s eclectic roots that extend outside just rock. Glover is still a ‘colourful’ and engaging front man, while Reid and the rhythm section reminded us how they set MTV and radio playlists alight.

Bettencourt appeared humble and grateful to the crowd’s enthusiasm. He said with pride, “We never want to release something without it meaning something to us first.” He was chatty, relaying anecdotes from his years on the road, such as when he was talked into buying a “$7,000 hat,” which the seller convinced him was one-of-a-kind. He mused that he later bumped into several people wearing the same hat–and most likely paid near to nothing!

The concert proved to be this year’s best rock show so far at Jannus and has us anticipating forthcoming shows such as similarly legendary industrial/electronic acts Ministry, Gary Numan, and Front Line Assembly.

 

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