It was a warm October evening and upon arriving at The Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, Connecticut, I could see it was going to be an awesome night as some 4,000 fans were lined up waiting to get in. The buzz on social media was that having Extreme and Godsmack on the same bill was an unusual combination. It seemed that people still have the same 80’s music/ 90’s music rivalry. To me though, it’s all rock and roll. If the band has a good stage presence and still sounds great, then I am all for it.
This show was the second night of a four-night run that Extreme was opening for fellow Boston area natives Godsmack. Although touring to support their recently released album Six, they only played two songs off it during the show. Probably because they were the opening act and had less time than when they played The Webster Theater in Hartford a few months back.
With the crowd still filling in, Extreme opened the evening with “It’s (A Monster)” and then went into the funky song of “Comfortably Dumb” of off their 2008 release, Saudades de Rock. Nuno was sporting a sleeveless flannel shirt and still had on a leg brace. For those of you who don’t know, he hurt his leg playing basketball on The Monsters of Rock Cruise earlier this year. Some people refer to Nuno as a guitar god, but and Gary Cherone referred to him as “The baddest mother fucker on the planet”. Gary commands the stage with his performance, his movements going from each side of the stage to the drum riser, holding poses, and interacting with the fans.
As expected, they slowed things up for a short bit and played “More Than Words”, probably their most well-known song. Next up, leading into “Cupid’s Dead”, Gary was behind Kevin on the drums singing the intro while Kevin played the funky beat. Nuno always gets to showcase his talents on “Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee”. The last time I saw Nuno, he had to start “Bumblebee” over because it just wasn’t feeling right to him, then he nailed it.
They touched on most of their hit songs, a few off of the new album, Six, and also several deeper cuts that we don’t always get to hear. Extreme put on a sweat-filled performance to a nearly packed house.
Gary Cherone – Lead Vocals
Nuno Bettencourt – Lead Guitar, backing vocals
Pat Badger – Bass, backing vocals
Kevin Figueiredo – Drums, occasional backing vocals
1.It’s (A Monster)
6.Am I Ever Gonna Change
7.Play with Me (with Queen’s “We Will Rock You” intro)
9.More Than Words
11.Flight of The Wounded Bumblebee
12.Get the Funk Out
Godsmack is touring for their new album, Lighting Up the Sky, that was recently released, and may be their last. They teased the crowd with a double curtain drop. First, a white curtain had a video playing on it, and just when that dropped and the crowd thought the show was about to start, a black curtain bearing their logo took its place only to tease the crowd for a few more moments. Then that dropped with a loud explosion that startled most people even if they had already experienced it.
With 4000 fans on their feet, Godsmack opened the night with “When Legends Rise” off of the 2018 release of the same name. Things started to heat up with “1000 HP” when all the pyro started to kick in. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because I had never saw pyro done at show here before. So, as a photographer, I was excited to get at least a little bit of fire to capture. During the song “Awake”, there were lots of strobes and they even had fireworks shooting off the stage all the way up to the rigging above.
With several mosh pits throughout the night and lots of crowd surfing, the venue’s security team was on their toes. Sully still sounds fantastic and puts on a killer show. Robbie has an unmatched stage presence while keeping the bass hitting hard. One of my favorite parts of any Godsmack show is when they do “Batella de los tambores”. Sully and Shannon Larkin both come to the front of the stage with their mobile drum kits and have a back-and-forth drum spectacular. If you have never seen this live, then you absolutely have to go to one of their shows.
They played a bunch of newer songs but also got in all of the fan favorites as well. Sully brings out the piano for “Under Your Scars”, a song that he dedicates to those that we have lost. If you’re not aware, Sully has a charitable foundation to benefit programs with a proven track record of effectiveness in addressing mental health issues called The Scars Foundation. Check it out and donate a little if you can.
Tony Rombola came to the front of the stage, his guitar squealing with feedback, as he started playing the beginning of “I Stand Alone”. The backdrop said, “Thank You For 25 Years”. The crowd sang along with every word of the song. Pyro filled the air once again leaving the crowd heated as you could feel it throughout the theater. Sully was sitting on his piano singing, which had the website for his Scars Foundation printed on the side. He even put the microphone down into the pit and let a security guard sing. When the song was over, the band came to the front of the stage to briefly thank the fans and Shannon even gave a few drum sticks to fans close to the stage. After a back to crowd photo and a bow the night was over.
As always Extreme and Godsmack never disappoint. From Gary’s killer stage presence and Nuno’s guitar wizardry to Kevin’s bad ass drumming and Pat’s bass lines, Extreme is still putting on fantastic shows and releasing new music that is bringing in new fans. Godsmack’s stage show is always amazing, even scaled down for this smaller 4200 seat theater. Fans sang along to all of the Godsmack songs and were on their feet the whole night. Godsmack doesn’t have much on their tour schedule until Arizona Bike Week April 6, 2024. And, Extreme is headed overseas through mid-December and then has an extensive North American tour early 2024 before ending up on the sold-out Monsters of Rock Cruise.
Sully Erna – Lead vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion, studio drums
Robbie Merrill – Bass, backing vocals
Tony Rombola – Lead guitar, backing vocals
Shannon Larkin – Drums, percussion
1.When Legends Rise
3.Cryin’ Like a Bitch
4.What About Me
6.You and I
7.Red, White, and Blue
11.Batalla de los tambores
12.Whatever (with kids from crowd)
13.Under Your Scars (Sully on piano, tribute to those we’ve lost)
15.I Stand Alone
Music photography is my passion! Live in the moment, Capture the moment.