Friday, 21 July 2017

Concert Review: MR. BIG at Knucklehead’s Saloon

Photo: Mike Kennedy

MR. BIG

Knucklehead’s Saloon – Kansas City, MO – 19 June 2017

On an unusually mild June night in Kansas City, legendary rockers Mr. Big had a tour stop in support of their upcoming album, Defying Gravity. All four original members, Eric Martin, Pat Torpey, Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan, along with touring drummer Matt Starr, were on point and fed the raucous albeit small crowd all the Mr. Big classics they could handle. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the body of Mr. Big’s catalogue, you’ve no doubt most likely heard their ballads “To Be With You” and their cover of the Cat Stevens classic “Wild World”. As amazing as they are at writing ballads, this reviewer believes that they’ve been pigeonholed into that style of music. But that is a mistake made by the music industry during the heyday of hair metal.

Mr. Big
Photo: Mike Kennedy

Loaded with incredible talent, Mr. Big is far beyond the music for which they are known. Paul Gilbert, of Shrapnel Records artist Racer X, is an interstellar six-string slayer. His skills are unparalleled, and had every guitarist in the audience re-examining their skill level. Bassist Billy Sheehan is a freak of nature on four strings. His long and storied career began with his thrash metal outfit Talas, as well as being the bassist for ex-Van Halen frontman, David Lee Roth. The way Sheehan and Gilbert layer their sounds, and intertwine their parts, is incredible. It’s a ridiculous formula few bands can achieve.

Touring with two drummers due to the fact that original drummer Pat Torpey is suffering the effects of mild onset Parkinson’s disease. But that did not stop Torpey from playing the entire set on a stand-up kit, playing in perfect time with Matt Starr who was behind the full kit. If anyone thinks that Pat Torpey is not doing well, they are COMPLETELY mistaken. He is doing just fine, and has played every show on this tour. Singer Eric Martin has not changed one bit since 1992, except for his short hair. Not missing a word, Martin is a consummate frontman. Playing off the high intensity of the crowd, Martin’s performance got stronger as the show went on.

The setlist included the classics, “Green Tinted Sixties Mind”, “Addicted To That Rush”, “To Be With You”, and “Wild World”, as well as tracks off the upcoming album, Defying Gravity, “Everyone Needs A Little Trouble” and “1992”.

If you’re a musician, and you’ve never seen Mr. Big you owe it to yourself to see them. They’re incredible. Flat out incredible. 

About Mike Kennedy

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