If you are checking this review out I am sure you are familiar with Extreme and their double platinum selling album ‘Pornograffitti’, you are
also probably all too well aware that 2015 was the 25th Anniversary of its release. (Now doesn’t that make you feel old?) To commemorate the occasion, the band have released ‘Pornograffitti Live 25: Metal Meltdown’ a DVD or Blu-Ray package of Pornograffitti performed live as well as ‘Rockshow’ which is a fairly comprehensive documentary.
Recorded in May 2015 in The Joint at the Hard Rock Casino, Las Vegas, the concert, as previously mentioned features ‘Pornograffitti’ played track by track as per the albums original release.
The sound quality on the electronic review copy was superb as far as the band and their respective instruments go, in fact I found myself going back and watching certain songs again as the guitar/bass tone is just immense and to my ears brought a new dimension to some of the less well known songs on the album (that opening riff to ‘L’il Jack Horney’, OMG). I remember seeing Extreme back in the day at the Kings Hall, Belfast and they definitely did not sound this good.
As always (and rightly so) there have been bucket loads of accolades to Nuno Bettencourt’s virtuoso guitar playing, but often forgotten, Pat Badger is matching him lick for lick on the bass, which is nicely shown at various points throughout the concert. Special mention also to the vocal harmonies, they were always pretty tight, but are exceptional here.
There was one thing niggled at me though the whole way through the live experience, and that was a slight lack of crowd atmosphere. In a live recording I fully expect to hear the crowd cheering/singing/whistling between songs, and in those sing-along choruses, but while I was watching this, it seemed like the crowd had been somewhat muted so as to preserve the superior quality for what was taking place on the stage. I am really only nit-picking here, but at the same time hoping that it is only like this on the review copy, fingers crossed this will be rectified on the Blu-ray release.
The accompanying documentary features interviews from all four current band members as well as Paul Geary their former drummer who was stickman during the release of ‘Pornograffitti’.
Going back to the formation of the band with Gary Cherone (lead vocals) joined by Paul Geary (drums) and eventually Pat Badger (bass) and Nuno Bettencourt joining, it is a comprehensive history of those formative early years and the subsequent roller coaster of success.
There are some interesting segments where they travel back to the venue where they first played, a trip to the original recording studio and, the famous performance as relative unknowns at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert back in 1992. They even go so far to let the viewer know which songs were written in the toilet.
Interjected between each of the segments are live performances, old video footage and comments from rock n’ roll luminaries such as Steven Tyler, Brian May and Tom Morello.
Perhaps most interesting though, is the sense of regret surrounding the band’s gradual break-up around 1995/96. Even though it was a fairly amicable split and the various band members went on to follow different musical paths, the commercial success of Pornograffitti was not repeated and in hindsight they seem a stronger force together.
The music industry has changed extensively in the last 25 years, the pressure to produce a ‘hit’ record is not the same, as a result you get the impression Extreme are enjoying playing live together a lot more these days, and we can only hope it won’t be long before we see some new music from Gary, Nuno, Pat and Kevin hitting our playlists.
“Pornograffitti Live 25: Metal Meltdown” track listing:
- Decadence Dance
- Li’l Jack Horny
- When I’m President
- Get the Funk Out
- More Than Words
- Money (In God We Trust)
- It’s A Monster
- When I First Kissed You
- Suzi (Wants Her All Day What?)
- Flight Of The Wounded Bumble Bee
- He-Man Woman Hater
- Song For Love
- Hole Hearted
- Play With Me
- Cupid’s Dead
Gary Cherone – Lead Vocals
Nuno Bettencourt – Guitars/keys/vocals
Pat Badger – Bass/backing vocals
Kevin Figueiredo – Drums/percussion