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MUSIC REVIEW

An Extreme reunion with plenty of swagger for hometown fans

Extreme
At: the Bank of America Pavilion, Friday Night

Anyone curious as to why Boston hard rockers Extreme , who broke up in 1996, chose the summer of 2006 to reunite for a short tour need only ask lead singerGary Cherone .

``We figure every 10 years we've got to remind people how [expletive] good this band is," he said near the end of the show at the Bank of America Pavilion Friday night.

Indeed, so intent was the quartet on proving this that it put on an impressive display of stamina during an oft-entertaining but bloated 2-hour-and- 20-minute set.

The performance did in fact remind the adoring, close to sold-out crowd what a true monster Nuno Bettencourt is on the guitar, how Paul Geary was an incredibly hard-hitting drummer, that bassist Pat Badger was nimble at meshing funk and metal , and that the still insanely limber Cherone has enough vocal firepower and theatrical flair to front two bands.

Unfortunately the show also served as a reminder that for all the instrumental and vocal prowess, what Extreme didn't have was a deep catalog of truly memorable songs to go with its admirable prog, pop , and hard rock ambitions, which challenged the hair metal status quo and tried to split the difference between Van Halen and Queen .

The best songs Friday night were the ones where point of view, style , and melody collided. Those included the multipart wallop and whisper of the soaring ``Am I Ever Gonna Change ," the funky taunting of ``Hip Today " -- both played with latter day Extreme drummer Mike Mangini -- and the peace-seeking, harmony missile ``Rest in Peace ."

Other songs like the swaggering opener ``Decadence Dance" or the boogie metal of ``Cupid's Dead" were satisfyingly heavy jump - off points for Bettencourt to thrill the guitar geeks in the crowd with his spectacular, frenzied yet nuanced fretwork but were more stunning than entertaining.

An acoustic segment featuring Cherone and Bettencourt intertwining perfectly on Extreme's lone big hit, the prom ballad ``More Than Words," was a sublime moment that set off the smooch alert in the audience. An encore of the similarly singable ``Hole Hearted" was warmly received if marred -- as the entire show was intermittently -- by strange echo and sound issues.

In a lovely gesture of multigenerational camaraderie , Brad Delp, Fran Sheehan , and Barry Goudreau of Boston joined Extreme for an adrenaline-pumping two-song encore of ``Rock and Roll Band" and Led Zeppelin's ``Rock and Roll" that doubled the hometown crowd's pleasure.

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