Mr. Big

Venue: Kallang Theatre, Singapore
Date: 15th October 2017
Promoter: Shining Entertainment Investment, and Asia Arts & Culture
Review by: Maisha G.
Special Thanks: The Shining Entertainment team

Over the years, day by day, we learn to discover new songs and artistes through various platforms – notably, the easily accessible YouTube channels and now, Spotify which is taking the world by storm. Amidst having to find new materials to listen to, we often find ourselves going back to the start. A little blast from the past as we revisit the evergreen numbers that is almost impossible for us not to sing along too. One of my favourites is the song titled “To Be With You”.

I was just listening to the song when I received a message from a friend telling me that Mr. Big will be coming back to Singapore to promote their recently released album titled “Defying Gravity”. I can’t say that I have had the chance to listen to the album in its entirety but I managed to sneak a listen to some songs off the album. I smiled to myself as I got reminded how familiar their sounds are, not straying away from where they first started.

I thought to myself, having to watch them again would mean seeing Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan again. I would not say that I have an unhealthy obsession with the artistes but I grew up through the years listening to their materials and how they inspire up and coming musicians whom will always include their names in their list of top most influential guitarists and bassists.

And the very first song of the night that the band bestowed upon us has got to be none other than “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy”, a jolting start to the night as you see the wave of fans pushing themselves closer to the stage area. There was no way these massive fans were going to be confined to their designated seats and they’d much rather be standing up and enjoy the show in its entirety. I was one of them and I invited a friend of mine to join me that night. It was not a random invite but this was the friend who introduced me to Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan back in school and we’ve been talking about them non-stop since then. It has since been 10 years and we’re still massive fans. As soon as Eric Martin passed the hand drill to Paul Gilbert during the song, all eyes were affixed on Paul and the crowd were in total massive awe. I can’t speak for the others, but even being the second time watching him performing the similar antic on stage, I was still caught in a total massive awe and it still boggles me till today how his strings kept intact and did not even snap!

The second number of the night was a track from one of my favourite albums from them released six years ago from the album titled “What If…”, the song “American Beauty”. A vivacious song with the hard hits of the drums and the prowess from the guitar and bass combines into a raunchy entity. A good balance of alternative and all round rock and roll. Something that has been a challenge for many bands of today to stick to the genre they presented themselves to the world with due to the many experimental changes. Not all of it is bad but more so, the need to retain the identity to identify the uniqueness of the band with the rest. This was one of the songs that highlighted to the world that Mr. Big’s identity still retains with the familiarity but the ongoing fresh new materials that they’re always coming up with.

The night transcended into the massive songs of yesteryears until this very track that got people singing and caught themselves in what I call “emotional drunken stupor”. The song titled “Just Take My Heart” was a song many celebrated through the heartbreaks and the loneliness and many of the crowd that night sang their hearts out to the lyrics:

“Just take my heart when you go,
I don’t have the need for it anymore,
I’ll always love you, but you’re too hard to hold,
Just take my heart when you go”

I could hear each and every single one of them in the crowd singing to each and every word to the song. I was one of them too. And I closed my eyes and imagined Eric Martin singing it to me just like how it was back in the early nineties, when this song first came out in 1991, a track off their album titled “Lean Into It”. Clad in their leather jackets and rocking their long tresses, I’d do anything to relive those days, it was the pure soul of rock and roll and having to live in that era and into the 21st century, so much has changed but the music and the songs remind us of the good old times. Eric Martin still sounded amazing, just as good as singing on the recording, or even better. With Matt Starr replacing Pat Torpey on drums was pretty large shoes to fill in but he did it beautifully.

One song where it will always become the topic of conversation whenever we talk about Mr. Big is none other than the song “Green-Tinted Sixties Mind”. The jarring guitar riffs at the starting of the song, cues the amazing hard rock beats that follows after. I remember watching the music video for the song and it was a celebration of all things glam and rock and roll back to the glowing years of the rock and roll era. I have to admit that I was crushing a little too hard on Paul Gilbert when he presented us with his guitar solo, using both his ibanez FRM 150 TR and PGMM31 WH, and doing a looping over the FRM and he plays the latter, putting all of us to shame, those who ever tried looping with their voices. I was in total awe and then Billy Sheehan greeted us with his bass solo. I never thought anyone could be able to do what he does on the bass. I even turned to my friend, with eyes as bright as daylight and confidently spouting “sounded like he’s playing Flight Of The Bumblebee”. I am sure it wasn’t it but my friend nodded in agreement as we both try to take a memory video of what was happening on stage that night to remember it for the rest of our living days. It was phenomenal to say the least and we were just left without our mouth hanging.

The night won’t be complete without performing a cover song from Cat Stevens that was made popular by them – “Wild World”. I have to admit that both versions of the songs are amazing but I have to choose Mr. Big’s rendition over the original version. Pat Torpey joined them stage and the band felt complete. It felt as though it was back in the 90s where the band was just them rocking their long hair and leather pants, the whole glam get up. And as soon as the familiar riff chimes in, I looked over to my friend, lighted in glee as the lyrics to the words “hold on little girl” and echoed throughout the theatre. As seen, the whole band mouthed to the lyrics of the song. It was an anthem, back then up until now; a song that easily rolls off at the tip of your tongue and it makes our lives worthwhile.

They snuck in the encore that night with the title track song off their latest album, “Defying Gravity”. Paul Gilbert outdid himself in this as he stretches himself further to the complexity of the guitar riffs and Billy’s bass compliments the song in a more edgier feel, the impact of the bass magnifies throughout the song with Matt Starr’s signature drum fill-ins that were his identity, non-comparable to Pat’s but he set the bars high nonetheless and of course, Eric Martin’s beautiful Tenor range encompasses the whole song, making it amazing just like the previous albums before, but also moving forward through times.

Thank you Shining Entertainment for this spectacular night to be remembered.