Been waiting for this gig for months. As soon as the date was released, I mentioned it to Jay, and he got us tickets as part of my birthday present.
We had asked a friend to babysit, and they texted to say they were on their way at 5:00pm. I had sent Jay back to bed (he had taken caffeine tablets the night before and couldn’t get to sleep) so went to wake him.
He realised on waking that he had to go pick his mother up and take her home, so panic set in. Nothing new there.
Babysitter arrived at 5:30, Jay got back at 5:45, and we set about repeating instructions on bottles and nappies until we were sure they had sunk in. Our babysitter is an adult Aspie also!
At 6:20 we leave for Newport. Cue me huddled in the car at rush hour, I hate roads, I see all possibilities for accidents in advance, and the stress is unbelievable. Part of branched thinking I think. After fighting through the bottleneck by the A470 turnoff caused by someone crashing, we make our way onwards. If you were the driver of the green Volkswagen minivan, heading East on the M4, the car in front is probably not going as fast as you like BECAUSE you are 15 inches off it’s arse, and there is a car in front of them doing the speed limit also!
Arriving at Newport, we attempt to find parking. I do not like it when the road layout has changed from my mental map, it gets confusing!
Found a nice bit of wasteland that has been claimed as a parking lot (note to Newport Council, a portacabin and 2 dodgy looking men, and a pay and display terminal DOES NOT INSPIRE CONFIDENCE!) and paid £3 for “over 2 hours” parking. After checking 3 times that they would not lock us in overnight, we head off to the venue.
Quite a queue outside the venue, although doors are open, we enter the place, and the female security guard looks upset that I do not carry a handbag for her to rifle through.
We discover we can enter the “arena” through the balcony and avoid the crush. This works great, I really hate crowds, and had put my “personal space” uniform on, including 6 inch boots (flat heel but high) for accidentally stepping on peoples toes if they get too close, and made sure my rings were on for accidentally flailing in someones face for the same reason. Luckily, there was a seated area that had lots of space, so we take our places in a row to ourselves above the sound desk, and wait for the fun to start.
First band up are The Duvals.
First impressions? They seriously need a drummer, and a think about what types of people are going to go to an Extreme gig. The brothers put on a valiant attempt, but were lacking in stage presence, timing, pitch, rhythm and an uninterested crowd. Electropop is not really what a bunch of aging rock fans want. Wonder how they got the tour.
Second band are Hot Leg.
Opening track? “I believe in a thing called love”. Nothing quite like opening with the most well known track from your former band, eh Justin? The thing that was immediately apparent was that Justin has vocal strain. Got to admire the tenacity, this is the second back-to-back tour Hot Leg have done, and it was obvious that Justin is a true Rock God, even if you do not like The Darkness or Hot Leg’s music. Consummate professional. Justin moved to the side of stage to give his band equal limelight, was engaging and funny.
Hot Leg are the perfect support band. They are able to warm the audience up, getting the sheeple to become involved, and they are reasonably good. They are able to draw their own curious crowd to your gig, but not likely to blow the main act away. And I must say, he looks good on stage too.
Extreme were awesome straight from the start. And boy! Nuno still looks good enough to eat.
* Gary Cherone – lead vocals
* Nuno Bettencourt – lead guitar, harmony vocals, piano (well piano shaped box with synth dropped in)
* Pat Badger – bass, backing vocals
* Kevin Figueiredo – drums, percussion
They were much better than expected, even though they were playing at a well below capacity crowd. In a venue that holds 1500-2000 people, my count was about 600. Real shame. The light show was really well done, although Gary Cherone gave the follow spot guys trouble occasionally with his hyper running about. Forgotten how gay he acts. He was all over the stage, but careful not to block the audiences view of Kevin Figueiredo, an outstanding drummer that managed to keep up with Nuno where others would have failed.
I had forgotten also how seriously funky Extreme are. Glad I have the new album, its more mature than the 80’s stuff, and still rocks.
I need to thank Hearing Protection who make my ear plugs. Due to my sensitivity to noise, the only way I could go to gigs, including my own, is because of their moulded ear protection, that gives me 25dB attenuated reduction across the board. Means that loud music sounds crystal clear and not loud 🙂