A week later and I’m still unsure whether Extreme, the Boston glam metal quartet best known for their 1990 unplugged hit “More Than Words,” were foolish or brilliant in their choice of Living Colour as the opening act for their current tour. But both bands do boast powerhouse vocalists (Gary Cherone and Corey Glover) and virtuosic guitarists (Vernon Reid and Nuno Bettencourt), and they ran in the same circles during their respective commercial peaks. A savvy pick to warm up an already excited crowd...unless you want to be overshadowed.
Living Colour’s 45-minute set was blistering in both volume and emotion. The quartet stuck mostly to the MTV favorites from their 1988 debut Vivid, but worked in tributes to Sinead O’Connor (with a cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U”) and the 50th birthday of hip-hop (with a medley led by bassist Doug Wimbish). Through it all, Glover attacked every song with humor or the zeal of a Pentecostal preacher, even climbing into the balcony and over many concertgoers while singing the still-acerbic “Cult of Personality.”
Extreme was somewhat forced to meet their tourmates’ level of inspiration and fire. And, to their credit, they just about succeeded. Cherone’s pipes may sound a bit cloudier these days, but he’s a commanding frontman. He was a whirl of activity and movement, constantly snaking his way around his bandmates and drawing even more enthusiasm out of the audience.
Judging by the number of smartphones that shot into the air whenever he played a solo, the bulk of the crowd was there to worship at the altar of Bettencourt. He dazzled from the jump, playing with speed and accuracy and the closed-eye intensity accessible to those musicians who are in full command of their instrument of choice.