While most of America were out partying on 4th July. So was I.
There were however a few American’s that were not partying on July 4th, but instead took on the task of helping packed house at the Manchester Academy party instead.
Extreme, who are best known for their hit song ‘More Than Words’ were ‘IN DA HOUSE’ and taught a crowded house how to rock out in their own unique style. And somehow this lucky sod ‘That means mel managed to get near to the front right in front of the stack system and had a fantastic view of the band. If only I had a decent camera.
The gig, which was supposed to begin at 7PM started a little late due to technical difficulties, which had a few grumbles while waiting outside the venue, but once the gig began all grumbling was replaced with collective, whooping, cheering, whistling, singing and the something in their zone between moshing and rhythmically nodding of heads. Luckily no heads were hurt during these proceedings.
Before Extreme hit the stage we were treated to the support band called Leogun who proved to be a fantastic warm up act.
I actually checked out a few Leogun songs on Youtube before attending the gig and they were good in those videos, but live they were even better.
I have to take my hat off to Leogun’s lead guitarist and singer because despite snapping his high E string midway through their penultimate song. He managed to keep playing without it causing any distraction.
It’s fair to say that most the people in my section of the crowd were impressed by Leogun, but as soon as Extreme hit the stage after a 20 minute break to make alterations to the sound system and some quick sound checks all bets were off.
As the lights went down the anticipation was palpable and the restless crowd was ready and waiting for band members Gary Cherone, Nuno Bettencourt,Pat Badger and Kevin Figueiredo to hit the stage.
As the opening few barres to Decedance Dance played the crowd roared its approval as Nuno came on with some lethal lead guitar licks while lead singer Gary Cherone busted some impossibly agile ninja kicks while singing and calling on the forces of a ready and willing audience to sing along with him.
In fact at one point in the concert Nuno comments to Gary on how amazing the Manchester audience is because we had all sang along to every song, which prompted a humorous remark from Gary about him being paid, and we should all stop trying to steal his job.
Watching this band play live put me in mind of when Queen played live with Freddie Mercury dancing around the stage and encouraging the audience to sing along. The communication coming from Gary and Nuno towards the audience was awesome and much appreciated and reciprocated by all those present to watch the gig.
A particularly nice moment was when the band got to ‘More Than Words,’ which is very much Extreme’s anthem. Nuno and Gary took centre stage on a couple of stools and got all of us singing along. The staging of this song when performed live is very much like how Brain May and Freddie Mercury of Queen would stage things when they performed the classic song and still a favorite of mine ‘Love Of My Life.’
Simply put this is way up there with the best gigs that I have ever seen. Not for a single moment did you get the feeling that the band was phoning the performance in. They kicked arse and took no prisoners, which is exactly what the audience were there for.
Word is the band is working on a sixth album. Lets hope it makes enough money for them to tour it and maybe play a stadium because judging by what I witness last Friday. This band is very much made to rock stadiums.
The best moment of night for me aside from ‘More Than Words’ was reaching out to the front of the staging areas to have my left hand brushed by Nuno as he and the band departed the state after a stupendous encore performance. Hopefully some of Nuno’s magic will rub off and improve my guitar playing as I continue to practice, practice and practice.