“They have one of the best guitar players in the world”: Watch Nuno Bettencourt inject virtuosic two-hand tapping flair into AC/DC’s Highway to Hell during Extreme and Godsmack’s joint cover

Nuno Bettencourt performing live
(Image credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Extreme are currently on tour with fellow rock royals Godsmack, and during a show at Camden, New Jersey, on Saturday (October 28) the two groups shared the stage to cover AC/DC’s Highway To Hell – a rendition that featured additional virtuosic flair courtesy of Nuno Bettencourt.

Bettencourt’s electric guitar antics have been firmly under the spotlight in 2023, ever since Extreme returned earlier this year with Rise – the lead single from the band’s most recent album, Six, which featured arguably one of the most sensational guitar solos of the 21st century.

That fine fretboard form was carried throughout the record, most notably on Other Side of the Rainbow, which Bettencourt says features his favorite solo on the whole album.

What we’re saying is, Bettencourt and his Washburn signature guitar have been a potent duo in recent months, so it comes as no surprise that he helps Godsmack and Extreme deliver a knockout cover of AC/DC’s classic 1979 cut.

With each instrumental department doubled up, Bettencourt duly spends much of the performance rooted in the rhythm spot, riding the A-F#/D-G seesaw before letting loose on an especially extravagant outro solo.

Since Godsmack guitarist Tony Rombola had taken the first lead effort – and took the opportunity to respect Angus Young’s original solo while adding some extra licks of his own design – Bettencourt was not bound by the source material, meaning he had creative license to explore the ‘board as he saw fit.

That freedom resulted in a suite of dizzying turnarounds and scale licks, embellished via a series of tapped bends and EVH-flavored two-hand tap runs that brought the quick-fire solo to a conclusion.

Godsmack frontman Sully Erna had prefaced the performance by paying homage to Extreme, saying, “This band inspired me in so many ways when I was growing up. 

“They are an incredible group of guys,” he went on. “They have probably one of the best guitar players in the world in this band. Every single one of them, quality musicians, quality human beings.”

It was the latest live showcase of Bettencourt’s brilliance in recent times. After delivering a flawless display during Rise’s stage debut, he then linked up with Tom Morello to cover Audioslave’s Cochise with Gary Cherone.

Other highlights from Bettencourt’s recent activities include shredding Van Halen’s Hot for Teacher on a Strat.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.