After leaving the job that actually pays for this site to exist last Thursday, I headed directly to Sayreville, NJ. When I parked my car I noticed two things: a dude with a mullet playing football with a dude wearing a leather vest and a massive pickup truck spray painted black and white camo. I had accidentally set the clock in my DeLorean to 1988. No biggie, though – I always pack extra plutonium. When the locals were finished asking me about the weird clothes I was wearing (a plastic bag and a massive sombrero) and the strange music I was listening to (Lady GaGa), the primative natives showed me the way to the nearest place of worship. It just so happened that at Starland Ballroom, guest reverend Nuno Bettencourt would be performing exorcisms and fretboard masturbation for all in a spectacular display of oxymoronicism.
So with the swagger of a pre-cancer Swayze, I made my way in to the venue. I made it just in time, too. I got a spot right next to a drunk version of this and on the opposite side of the stage from Nuno. Oh well, at least Pat Badger knows how to kick it on stage right. They opened with Decadence Dance and played four songs in all before getting all acoustic on us – the just-mentioned-in-this-sentence “Decadence Dance,” It (‘s a Monster),” “Star” (from the latest album), “Rest in Peace” and the technically astounding “Play With Me.” I’m convinced Nuno plays faster live than on record, but I have no desire to go about trying to prove this theory.
I’d hit that.
After physically exhausting everyone in the room, Extreme decided to lull us into a completely false sense of security by pulling out the acoustics and lowering the lights. With a pre-recorded backing track, Pat and new drummer Kevin ‘kFigg’ Figueiredo (Gary Cherone had to go figure out what his next sequence of poses and weird dances would be) Nuno laid down the fucking law with “Midnight Express.” What happened next puzzled, confused and downright pissed me off. They played “More Than Words.” of course. To be honest, Extreme not playing “More than Words” is like Dream Theater not playing “Pull Me Under.” Wait. That’s exactly what happened when I saw Dream Theater, and not only was I not upset that they skipped that dud, but I had a better time because of it.
But, just playing the song is not the part that upset me. What upset me was that the audience, like a collection of retarded automatons who actually didn’t listen to Extreme except for the year and a half they were prominently featured on MTV, pulled out their cameras and recoded videos of the completely and utterly unspectacular performance of the marginally-better-than-awful song. To me, that would be like lighting your friend’s face on fire and only recording your other friends reactions. What’s the point?
Would you rather have this:
As a memory of your Extreme Experience?
The rest of the set was of course insanely awesome. The closer is embeded above – I wish they had played all of “He-man Woman Hater”, but I guess I’ll take a Michael Jackson cover instead.
Then Ratt took the stage. Remember a few years ago when they made a huge deal about Stephen Pearcy re-joining the band and kicking the more talented Jizzy Pearl to the curb? No? Well, they did that a few years back and man, let me tell you what a good decision that was… The ravaged old man came out onstage looking like a cross between a washed-up WWE wretsler and a piece of chewed up leather. To say he strutted around would be an over statement. He kinda just walked around semi-singing. Alright, he sounded way better than the first time I saw him at Rocklahoma a few years ago, but he was still a shell of his former self.
Warren DeMartini was hardly in better shape. He really looked like heroin-era Lou Reed. And he was wearing a full flack jacket in a 100+ degree club. He also faked his lip sync-ing. He would walk up to the mic and move his mouth like a puppet instead of forming words. Weird. Also, the playing just wasn’t that great. It seemed that the whole band adhered to the motto of “We’re not as good as Extreme so let’s just play louder and have a bigger lighting rig). Where’s Juan Croucier when you need him?
(Here’s where a video would be, but I couldn’t find one from this particular show, so it would be cheating if I posted something).
Long story short, I stayed for three songs and left. I didn’t want to ruin my Extreme show.