A stellar double-header has landed on our shores, for the first time in 27 years the glam rock, now hard rock legends Extreme, are touring and they have with them hard rock’s original supergroup MR. BIG, a band who have never visited our shores ever. This should be one extreme big night of rock mastery.
It is the second night of the tour and Sydney has packed out the Enmore on this cold Sunday to witness this double-header that has two legendary guitar virtuosos in each band. First up we have Mr Big. These guys forged their place in rock history by combining trademark shredding musicianship over the top of vocal harmonies and from the opening few tracks it is evident from guitarist Paul Gilbert’s shredding to the start and end of every song, eventually doing his own solo that featured some AC/DC, much to the delight of the Aussie fans. Not to be outdone, bassist Billy Sheehan showed his prowess on what can only be described as the most epic bass solo I have ever seen. The band also paid homage to late drummer, Pat Torpey.
Frontman Eric Martin was forever engaging with the crowd tonight, but his soulful vocals really shined in the walls of the Enmore and his covering of Cat Stevens’ Wild World was a highlight. But you know the moment that we had all been waiting so long to hear came and it was time to get our sing-along on with the mega-hit Be with You, the band going more acoustic for this one. After a stellar set that showed us Mr Big were the same band we remember from our youth, just with shorter hair, it was time to say goodnight Sydney and they left us with a more recent track, the furious Colorado Bulldog. Mr Big really showcased tonight just what great musicians they truly are and how much they love performing for their Australian fans.
It’s been a long time coming but I think Sydney is finally ready to get extreme! The band literally exploded onto the stage, kicking straight into It’s a Monster followed straight up by Li’l Jack Horny. That’s two classic extreme hits played back to back setting the tone for the setlist to come. Frontman Gary Cherone has the moves like Jagger as he leaps and jumps around the stage but it was guitarist Nuno Bettencourt that took centre stage on more than one occasion wowing us with his incredible solo’s, even a brief cable fault didn’t take away from how incredible this man’s skill is. Bassist Pat Badger was solid on his booming bass too but would not be as forthcoming in the spotlight as his other bandmates.
Sing-alongs were happening aplenty tonight as the crowd finally got to let out what they had been waiting 27 years for, Cupids Dead, which is a personal favourite. But you know that one big drunken karaoke moment came when just Gary and Nuno sat down and hit us with More Than Words. I figured this would be the big show stopper but after, they hit us with Flight of The Wounded Bumble Bee which was transgressing into He Man Women Hater to which they had to abandon playing in full due to time constraints, instead opting to finish the set off with Decadence Dance.
Neither group left us disappointed tonight, churning out rocking riffs and of course those soulful ballads that made them famous. Both Mr Big and Extreme really aced it, the Sydney crowd showing the love, let’s hope it doesn’t take either one of these bands decades to return.
Review – Chad
Photo Gallery – Christian Ross