CD Review: Extreme – Take Us Alive

Extreme - Take Us Alive1990’s rock n’ roll (not 90’s grunge)could be best summed up by one word – Extreme. The funk-rock band has punchy music, great harmonies, one of the best guitarists on the planet and a frontman worthy of a term in Van Halen. Yet the band seemed to peak in 1992 with the release of its third album after a handful of radio and video hits.

In, 2008, following a 13 year hiatus, the band returned to the stage for their ‘Take Us Alive’ world tour, which encompassed 75 cities and multiple continents in support of their new and groundbreaking record, “Saudades de Rock”. Recorded on the last night of their tour, “Take Us Alive – Boston 2009” captures Extreme at the peak of the tour with a renewed enthusiasm.

Containing a selection of material from all the band’s albums, the CD sounds refreshing and truly captures the moment. There’s a bit more concentration on Saudades de Rock and 1995’s dismal attempt at a grunge, Waiting For The Punchline, than I would have preferred, but at least the Punchline material fits the setlist well.

Guitarist Nuno Bettencourt just smokes on this album. In the 13 years away from Extreme, it seems he’s honed his craft to new-found and exciting levels. The solos are crisp, exciting and just amazing to listen to. In an odd way, the performance of Flight Of The Wounded Bumblebee, almost distracts the listener from how truly gifted Bettencourt really is. Just one listen to the solo break in Cupid’s Dead and you’ll understand just how far Bettencourt has brought rock guitar to.
The DVD version contains four unreleased bonus videos from Saudades de Rock, “King of the Ladies”, “Interface”, “Run” and “Ghost” produced by Nuno Bettencourt. The 2CD set includes the exclusive bonus track “Ghost.”