Live | Mr. Big [support: Jared James Nichols] – Muziekgieterij – Maastricht [NL]

14 April 2024

Mr. Big’s last album ‘Defying Gravity’, was released in 2017 and one year later drummer Pat Torpey died due to Parkinson’s disease. On this final tour, Billy Sheehan (bass guitar), Eric Martin (vocals) and Paul Gilbert (guitar) are “assisted” on drums and vocals by Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard, Big Big Train). In 2022 Mr. Big announced that they were planning a tour in 2023. This was to be the final tour called ‘The Big Finish’. Mr. Big has sometimes been called a super group, but they were also known as the Big In Japan phenomenon and the one-hit wonder, thinking about their superhit ,,To Be With You”.

Their most successful album ‘Lean Into It’ (1991), featuring the hits ,,To Be With You” and ,,Just Take My Heart”, would be the “body” of their Big Finish setlist and played in its entirety. So from ,,Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy” until their rather corny, bittersweet super hit.


Jared James Nichols

However, first we were treated to some mean and lean guitar picking by Jared James Nichols. A true guitar revelation as he attacked his Epiphone Les Paul Custom P90, with his fingers, instead of using a plectrum like most guitarists do. Nichols really warmed up the crowd and the highlight of his maybe too short performance was the Black Sabbath classic ,,War Pigs”, which Nichols “turned” into a highly remarkable blues rock version, and it sounded impressive.


Eric Martin

Mr. Big kicked off with three hard rocking tracks, being: ,,Addicted To That Rush” (from their debut album) – fantastic opener, kicking some real ass – , ,,Take Cover” (from my favorite Mr. Big album ‘Hey Man’) and ,,Price You Gotta Pay” from the ‘Bump Ahead’ album. Right from the start the sound was overwhelming and LOUD and Sheehan’s bass rocked like hell. Also it was clear from the start that the “weak” musical link tonight would be the voice of mister Martin.

Billy Sheehan

The eleven tracks of ‘Lean Into It’ followed with the musical gems being ,,The Electric Drill Song”, ,,Green-Tinted Sixties Mind” and ,,Road To Ruin”, featuring formidable bass playing, excellent guitar picking, glorious drumming and good vocals. Then it was time – sad but true – for Mr. Big’s super hit, and the audience sang along while Martin was struggling with getting his vocals right….


Paul Gilbert

The last part of this Big Finish gig kicks off with the rather mediocre, shallow acoustic ballad ,,Wild World’’ (featured on Mr. Big’s third album ‘Bump Ahead’), followed by some musical highlights of this evening, being a head-spinning version of ,,Colorado Bulldog” (the opening song of ‘Bump Ahead’) and amazing solo spots from Gilbert and Sheehan!! The band chooses to end with four cover songs and my question of course is: WHY?? Why not play some more original Mr. Big tracks? Like for instance songs from the magnificent album ‘Hey Man’, or tracks from their final album ‘Defying Gravity’??  The best cover by the way was The Who’s ,,Baba O’Riley” which is also featured on ‘Mr. Big Live’ (1992).

Overall, Mr. Big (read Sheehan, Gilbert and D’Virgilio) did a fantastic job musically speaking. Especially Sheehan and Gilbert proved to be 100% pure rock and rollers, while the setlist left much to be desired. So, I wonder, will there be a new Mr. Big album or not in the future? You never know….

All photos by Martien Koolen



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