There’s an excited crowd waiting for Mr. Big in a packed Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Everybody is ready to give them a very warm welcome back after their fourth album, nine years after their reunion.This tour is in support of their new album, Defying Gravity, which was released in July. Coming out into the darkness of the stage, light then blasting on them. The whole band looks in a great shape and ready to give some good old rock and roll to the crowd.
The introducing song of the set was ‘Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy’, better known as the ‘Electric Drill Song’. Followed by ‘American Beauty’ and ‘Undertow’, the perfect taster for what’s to come. And when Eric Martin starts running to Paul with something in between a laser gun and a drill in his hands, everybody knows it’s going to be a special one.
‘Alive and Kicking’ continues the setlist, followed by the bluesy groove of ‘Temperamental’ literally moving the audience in a deep mojo.
“Time for an emotional one” vocalist Eric Martin prepares the crowd for the classic ballad ‘Just Take My Heart’. Drummer Pat Torpey comes in, but no need for preparation at all, as everybody already knows what’s waiting for them right after the first note of the intro. Completing Eric’s words there’s a total involvement and sharing of emotions coming from the crowd.
‘Take Cover’ and ‘Green-Tinted Sixties Mind’ have that same kind of unity reinforced by Eric, continuously interacting with the first row and keeping everybody excited, owning the stage like never before, and what he gets back is a passionate crowd and singalongs all the time.
‘Everybody Needs a Little Trouble’ and ‘Price You gotta Pay’, presented as a song about the Devil, guide the first set to its completion when a special surprise awaits the crowd.
As AC/DC classic ‘Back in Black’ kicks-in, in tribute to the loss of Malcolm Young. The crowd explodes in an emotional clap. Intro completed, Paul is left alone and majestically executes a fabulous guitar solo, the perfect mixture of genres, shredding and jazzy cameos flawlessly connecting to the first song of the second set.
Now everybody is back on stage.
Eric comes on stage with his acoustic guitar, firstly teasing everybody with a short flamenco intro, then jumping into ‘Open Your Eyes’ and then calling the crowd to action. “I need you on this one, this one comes apropos” – which means with reference to; concerning… “this song is for our children out there in this wild wild world” revealing their cover of ‘Wild World’ originally by Cat Stevens.
‘Damn I’m in Love Again’, ‘Rock and Roll Over’ and ‘Around the World’, follow and right at the end of it, when Eric knows that the crowd is ready for some real good news he breaks it to them.
“If you follow us on Twitter and Facebook you probably know already we’ve been around the world recently to promote our album. Coming to London was a big anticipation, exciting and but also it brought out a little fear from my side, but it’s great to finally be here again. So it’s a great to announce that we’ll be back in Summer 2018 for a tour of the European Festivals!”
The perfect way to conclude the second set and leave the stage to the star of the night, the bass player Billy Sheehan and his impeccable bass solo, brilliantly executed in a deep blue stage and one only spotlight shining on him. A long bass solo, a sort of conversation between the musician and the instrument leaves the theatre speechless. At the end of the solo becomes a jam, with drummer and guitarist joining him on stage activating a whole new groove. Eric reappears on stage taking the time to introduce the band and to honour what he calls “the best bassist in the all whole world”.
Time to get into the final set made by some old classics like ‘Addicted to That Rush’, ‘To Be With You’, ‘1992′, ‘Colorado Bulldog’ but also for their latest record hit ‘Defying Gravity’. The band is ready to leave “but because we are in London we have to do something special”. The encore welcomes on stage the singer of the opening act The Answers for a joined version of ‘30 Days in the Hole’. As the band salute the Shepherd’s Bush Empire we already know everybody can’t wait to see them in 2018 festivals.