at The O2 City Hall, Newcastle, U.K. November 27, 2023

EXTREME (Live at The O2 City Hall, Newcastle, U.K. November 27, 2023)
Photo: Mick Burgess

There’s been some strange pairings over the years with New Romantics, Japan, opening for Hard Rock legends Blue Öyster Cult and Brit Poppers Shed Seven supporting Aerosmith springing to mind but there was no such mismatch tonight on the opening night of this rather tasty double act. Indeed Living Colour and Extreme touring together couldn’t be more compatible if you tried with both bringing different yet, wonderfully intoxicating interpretations of a blend of Funk and Hard Rock making this one of the hottest tickets in town.

Living Color

Up first, were pioneers Living Colour, a band that smashed so many preconceived notions of what a Rock band should be or look like on release of their groundbreaking debut Vivid in 1988.

With a relatively short opening slot, Living Colour wasted no time getting into the thick of it with a surprising cover of “Crosstown Traffic” to celebrate the birthday of Jimi Hendrix before launching headlong into “Leave It Alone” and a groove heavy “Middleman” with a highly colourful lead singer, Corey Glover in belting form.

Hit single “Love Rears Its Ugly Head” received a big roar before the glorious, upbeat Calypso Funk of “Glamour Boys” got the crowd swaying.

Bassist Doug Wimbish stepped up to celebrate 50 years of Hip Hop with a mini medley of “White Lines” and “Apache” by Grandmaster Flash and The Sugarhill Gang, as it was indeed Wimbish himself, whose bass graced those original versions. A pretty impressive CV in itself but when you add stints with the Rolling Stones and sessions with Madonna, Depeche Mode and Al Green, it’s easy to see why he’s one of the most in demand bassists around.

When guitarist Vernon Reid, cranked out the riff to the iconic Grammy Award winning “Cult of Personality” the whole place went nuts as Living Colour delivered a set more befitting of a headliner than the special guest.


With the gauntlet well and truly thrown down, Extreme had something of a monumental task but they too have a few tricks up their sleeve and with their rubbery-limbed frontman Gary Cherone, possessing enough energy to run a small power station together with guitar wiz Nuno Bettencourt laying down those Funk soaked riffs and fiery solos they had more than enough to match their touring mates.

An opening salvo of “It’s A Monster” and “Decadence Dance” from their multi-platinum Pornograffitti album was always going to be a winning start with “#Rebel” from their new album Six showing that they’ve lost none of their firepower 30 years on.

With original bassist Pat Badger and drummer Kevin Figueiredo locking a tight groove, it gave Bettencourt plenty of freedom to ignite his fretboard on the likes of “Midnight Express”. No wonder Rihanna takes him out on tour when Extreme are off the road.

A neat mid set medley of songs from their debut album including “Kid Ego” and “Wind Me Up” meant all bases were covered although most of the set was centred around Pornograffitti, III Sides To Every Story and Six.

One of Extreme’s strengths are the wonderful three-part harmony vocals delivered by Cherone, Badger and Bettencourt and on the likes of “Hole Hearted” and “Other Side Of The Rainbow” they were stunning, absolutely spot on.

Of course, mega hit, “More Than Words” with Cherone and Bettencourt alone on stage, elicited screams of delight as memories of weddings and last dances came to the fore before “Get The Funk Out” had the whole place bouncing.

With just enough time to squeeze in “Small Town Beautiful” and “Song For Love” it was left to the hammer blow of “Rise” from their latest album to bring their set to a suitably climatic end.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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