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EXTREME IS SUPREME ON SALTAIR STAGE

One-hit wonders come and go in the music industry. Remember Quiet Riot, Milli Vanilli and the Culture Club?

Extreme, performers of the giant hit "More Than Words," proved Friday night that there is nothing temporary about them except some long-gone radio fans.While ticket sales to the show were not outstanding, the performance was. Those in attendance were generally not fans of songs but of the whole Extreme catalog, singing along to almost every song.

The foursome took the stage and kicked into "Get the Funk Out." Vocalist Gary Cherone pranced wildly about all four corners of the stage. He looked more prepared for yoga class than a concert with his loose-fitting black pants and his tight, long-sleeved black shirt. Halfway into the first song he was soaked with sweat from his sometimes humorous writhings and dancing.

The band stuck with old material for a few songs before focusing on new tunes from "Waiting for the Punchline," released in February. The new songs included "Hip Today," their first single from the new disc.

The band kept the tempo fast and fun, often demonstrating their individual talents along the way. Guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, even among a talented cast, was a definite cut above the rest.

An early highlight was "Cupid's Dead." With Cherone dancing, singing and rapping and bassist Pat Badger and Bettencourt blending some excellent guitar work, the song packed great energy while showcasing the band's collective and individual talent.

Midway into the set, the band turned the show over to Bettencourt, who was about to steal it anyway. With Badger and drummer Mike Mangini backing him up, he performed a guitar piece from "Punchline," called "Midnight Express."

The song is acoustic with a strong gypsy feel, and to say it was phenomenal isn't strong enough praise. His performance was flawless and left many fans shaking their heads in disbelief before they remembered to cheer. It is highly unlikely that any guitarist will match this virtuoso performance on a Utah stage for a long, long time.

Mangini, who replaced Paul Geary, was given his turn to solo. While not on the same level as Bettencourt, Mangini put on a great show as well. Unlike most drummers, Mangini doesn't favor his right or his left arm, giving his kit a uniquely symmetrical quality. All four limbs flew around his kit, giving him a spiderlike appearance.

While moving into the ballad portion of the show, Cherone announced that Bettencourt's double-neck guitar had been stolen, so the band was at a loss while security and management scrambled to locate the instrument.

Bettencourt decided to play anyway, but without differently tuned fret-boards, some of the ballads sounded a little strange. Still, Cherone adjusted, and they went through "More Than Words," "Tragic Comic," and "Hole Hearted," among others in quick succession.

After a few more new tunes and an encore of "No Respect," the eclectic rock band made famous by an acoustic ballad was gone. The smallish crowd wise or lucky enough to be there was treated to one of the best popular music performances of the year.