MR. BIG In Houston, TX With Photos!

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Sunday, January 14, 2024 @ 1:43 PM

All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography
Band Photo Credit: Stephen van Baalen

When MR. BIG drummer Pat Torpey passed away in nearly 6 years ago from complications due to Parkinson's Disease you could almost see the writing on the wall. The band could continue on with another drummer, much like other bands from that era have done, OR they could just call it a day with one more album, tour or any combination of the two. The band ultimately announced their 'BIG Finish Tour' last year with dates in Southeast Asia and Japan in July and August including 11 of those sold out. The band then revealed the first run of dates for the U.S. along with shows scheduled for the UK and Europe. We in Houston, Texas were given the honor of hosting the very first show on the U.S. run and the fans came out in droves to catch a glimpse and experience MR. BIG for the final time, and in this writer's instance, the very FIRST time.

Local act KARIM K opened the show. I had the opportunity to see him. Some of you might be familiar with his work in albums he released as a part of the bands REVOLUTION and THEORY OF THIEVES. They kicked things off at 7pm and played nearly 45 minutes worth of material to get the crowd warmed up. Karim is a solid guitar player and he along with his backing band performed flawlessly during their set which culminated with an outstanding cover of SOUNDGARDEN's "Outshined".

As this was the first show of the tour who else could possibly be in attendance to be the emcee for the evening than radio legend Eddie Trunk, who himself has been to H-Town numerous times to host shows here. Following his intruduction of the band to a packed house, MR. BIG stormed the stage and rocked us all for 2 hours, starting the final show in Houston with the song that got them on the map, "Addicted To That Rush". The band was on fire and the energy was high from the band, vocalist Eric Martin, bassist extraordinaire Billy Sheehan, guitarist Paul Gilbert (who was dressed in a suit and tie!), and drummer Nick D'Virgilio who has filled in with the band since Torpey's passing and the smile on Martin's face said it all; they were excited to be on the road. They continued on with "Take Cover" and Undertow" from 1996's Hey Man and 2010's What If... respectively.

As advertised, they promised to perform the sophomore album Lean Into It in its entirety, which most critics agree was the band's best release. Starting from the beginning with "Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song)" and if you're not familiar with the record, it included tracks "Green-Tinted Sixties Mind", "Alive And Kickin'", "My Kinda Woman" and closed out with the mega hit "To Be With You". The band kept the acoustic vibe going with their cover of the Cat Stevens classic "Wild World". The track "Colorado Bulldog" was sandwiched in between a guitar solo from Paul Gilbert and a bass solo from Billy Sheehan, then the pre-encore portion of the show was closed out with "Shy Boy" and the combo of "30 Days In The Hole/Baba O'Riley".

Returning for the encore the band members all switched instruments with Sheehan taking vocals, Martin playing bass, Gilbert behind the skins and D'Virgilio handling guitar duties as the finished the evening with a cover of THE RASCALS track "Good Lovin'".

Having a first show of a tour go off without and issues can be a challenge but despite a few technical glitches during the show such as Eric Martin experiencing in-ear monitor problems, the band was tight and sounded every bit as good as they did back in the day. The first leg of the U.S. dates continues through the end of February in Oklahoma City before heding to the UK and Europe with presumably another leg of American dates coming. If you're a fan of MR. BIG, have seen them over the years or in my case never before, you cannot miss this show! Catch them live before they're gone and you're left regretting what could have been!

Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography