Nuno Bettencourt and Mateus Asato performed a dueling solo to cap off Extreme’s performance at the Best of Blues and Rock festival 2023 in São Paulo, Brazil on Friday night (June 2).
Asato seems to have had a dream day at the event, revealing on Instagram that he had initially flown in just to watch the show, before winding up onstage with the band. Not only that but, in a trifecta of guitar greatness, he and Nuno both hung out with Steve Vai at the show.
Fan footage of the performance can be seen below. In the clip (around the 5.55 mark) the band are performing their signature closer Get the Funk Out, when, in a heavily choreographed move, singer Gary Cherone turns to Bettencourt and asks, “What have you got, Nuno? Where we going from here?”
“I think we need a little bit of funk on guitar,” replies Bettencourt. “Is that OK?” The Extreme guitarist then starts playing air guitar, as Asato’s funk chords drift in from offstage.
While the introduction is a little theatrical, that’s nothing compared to the guitar-based pyrotechnics that follow, as each of the virtuosos start trading licks. The back and forth starts with a few bends and melodic runs and soon escalates as the two guitarists begin to stretch each other out.
Asato is given his own solo spotlight, leaving a trail of shreddy destruction behind him, before Bettencourt joins in and the lead lines start to bounce back and forth at alarming pace and complexity, periodically syncing up on bends.
It’s the sort of competitive yet complementary performance that Bettencourt lives for – one that encapsulates the “love you, hate you” attitude to inspiration and technique that has proven a powerful motivator across Extreme’s near 40-year lifespan.
Asato has long regarded Bettencourt as a huge inspiration. Indeed, the Brazilian guitarist once praised and covered a Nickelback solo only to realize it was originally by Nuno Bettencourt.
“Of course he makes it look really fucking easy and effortless. Like he’s only exuding the energy of a man simply scratching a mosquito bite,” joked Bettencourt, in his response at the time.
“He says he’s inspired by me and my solo to keep playing, and in 11 seconds tries to publicly bury me by showing everyone how it shoulda been played and how fucking talented he is. Thanks, Mateus Asato. I am honored. I think. Love ya and kinda hate you brother. Haha.”
Back in 2020, Bettencourt stated: ‘“But I’m coming for ya Mateus and for all you young 'uns out there, with this new Extreme album.”
That point was certainly made when the band returned with Bettencourt’s face-melting solo on Rise, back in March – the video for the single has now passed three-million views.
Later at the São Paulo event, Bettencourt made his own onstage guest appearance with Tom Morello, covering Audioslave’s Cochise – and, just to further embrace the whole sense of six-string camaraderie, Morello then jumped onstage with Buddy Guy.
What a weekend. We guess Buddy Guy is going to have to take a spot onstage with Asato now just to close the circle, or the universe will be forever imbalanced.