Veteran rockers Mr Big only booked a single UK date for their reunion tour – their first together in over seven years. Which is why you can bet your bloody balls that our man Amit Sharma was down front and centre.
It’s fairly safe to say that the only UK date in Mr Big’s European tour was going to pack out – and rock out – Shepherd’s Bush Empire and then some! Strutting on stage like they’d never left, the band tear straight into ‘Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy’ sounding as tight and focused as ever.
Of course the moment Paul Gilbert rips into the first of his million solos, the room cheers knowing fully well that tonight is going to a be full-on wankfest. And a great one at that, but more importantly Mr. Big always stood for more than that: allowing their songwriting to showcase technical ability and not the other way round. So why not throw a guitar/bass solo picked by an electric drill in the middle of a great rock song?
They look a bit older and wiser, but it’s mindblowing to see the chemistry these guys still have together, even after so long apart (Gilbert left the band in 1997, and the whole band broke up in 2002). As always, Gilbert terrifies us with his blistering picking and finger twisting arpeggios but seeing Billy Sheehan stroll on and start a duel is what makes this show truly memorable.
Watch some shaky YouTube footage of Mr Big’s cover of ‘Baba O’Riley’
Tonight’s ‘Greatest Hits’ set is based around the more successful first 3 albums, mixing heavier numbers like ‘Addicted To That Rush’ with power ballads such as ‘Just Take My Heart’. Saying that, it’s great that the band manage to sneak in some unexpected tracks like ‘Take Cover’ and ‘Price You Gotta Pay’, as well as the classics. Singer Eric Martin proves he can still hit the high notes on their worthy cover of Cat Stevens’ ‘Wild World’, and seems pretty chuffed with himself for it.
The band start their encores with their biggest hit, ‘To Be With You’, which sounds as contemporary and catchy as it did back in 1991, then waste no time in following up with the more ballsy ‘Colorado Bulldog’ to keep up the momentum. The best moment tonight is when the band seem to be wrapping it up and someone throws a hand scrawled “Play Shyboy” banner on stage – so they look at each other as if to say why the hell not and just go for it. Fucking Epic.
Mr Big @ Shepherds Bush Empire setlist:
Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song)
Green Tinted Sixties Mind
Alive and Kickin’
Next Time Around
Hold Your Head Up
Just Take My Heart
It’s For You
Price You Gotta Pay
Take a Walk
The Whole World’s Gonna Know
Rock & Roll Over
Addicted to that Rush
To Be With You