jakub | May 13, 2024




I what frontman Eric Martain has sworn will be their final tour, MR. BIG  made one last stop in Los Angeles, California at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills with an epic 23 Song set that kept the on their feet for almost 2 hours.

Formed in 1988, Mr. Big burst onto the scene like a fireball of virtuosity, boasting a lineup that could make even the most seasoned axeman green with envy. With Eric Martin’s soulful wails leading the charge, Paul Gilbert’s lightning-fast fretwork setting hearts ablaze, Billy Sheehan’s thunderous basslines shaking foundations, and Pat Torpey’s precision drumming holding it all together, Mr. Big was a force to be reckoned with. Their self-titled debut album in 1989 laid the groundwork for what was to come, but it was their sophomore effort, “Lean Into It,” that truly catapulted them into the spotlight. Anchored by the timeless anthem “To Be with You,” Mr. Big became a household name, riding the wave of success into the early ’90s with sold-out tours and platinum records aplenty. Yet, like all great bands, their journey was not without its twists and turns. With the shifting tides of musical trends, Mr. Big weathered the storm, evolving their sound while staying true to the raw energy and unbridled passion that defined their essence. Now, here we stand in the hallowed halls of the Saban Theater, bearing witness to the next chapter in the saga of Mr. Big. Hold onto your seats, folks, because tonight, we’re in for one hell of a ride.

The Saban Theater is a classic old deco theater that was re-vamped into a concert venue like so many in town.  The classic deco details have been refurbished and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.  The doors opened at 6 and I was ready with camera in hand to capture the opening band or bands… but there weren’t any.  This gave ample opportunity for mingling with the crowd in the ample bar area.  As luck would have it Rock Photography legend Glen La Ferman was there, and we chatted about his photography work with Mr. Big.  Folks might not know Glen by name but his work has graced the covers of Albums and Rock Magazines for decades and his collection of prints adorn the walls of the famous Rainbow Bar and Grill.

The doors opened and the band quickly launched into their lengthy set.  Any fans who were disappointed about the lack of an opening band got their money’s worth from the headliner.   Their 23 Song setlist was a great tour through the legacy of this incredibly underrated band.  The trio of Martin, Sheehan, and Gilbert have lost nothing over the decades, and seeing them together after much turmoil in the band was sublime.  Martin’s voice was simply perfect, having lost nothing at all, he has been open recently about his struggles maintaining his range, but I was blown away. The pairing of two legends on guitar was such a treat to see up close and personal.  Billy Sheehan isn’t one of those bassists who stands in the corner and plucks away, Billy prowled the stage with his Yamaha Custom Shop Attitude Double Neck bass making sure every part of the audience got a showcase of his amazing fretwork.  Paul Gilbert’s axe work was a showcase of excellence, like Sheehan he worked the stage and you could feel the passion he had with every note giving orgasmic looks as he rocked each song, and he extended solo with a “Rocky Theme” tribute was really special capturing not just great fretwork, but the true mastery of his craft.  I last saw him with George Lynch and Richie Kotzen (another Mr. Big Alumni) on the Guitar Generation tour. Which was an eargasmic event.  Mr. Big sadly was always much bigger in Japan and outside the US with their first few albums exploding and the later ones falling off which was disappointing as their 10-album catalog is packed full of great tracks and deserves a look.  The setlist kept mostly to their first four albums Mr. Big (1989), Lean into It (1991), Bump Ahead (1993), and Hey Man (1996) which are four of the best albums of the era, but sadly a victim of the Grunge Era push for the Seattle sound.  The live performances truly captured the studio vibe but aged like fine wine.  If anything their musicianship has deepened with age.  At one point in the show, they pause to all switch instruments with Martin on Base, Gilbert getting behind the drum kit, Sheehan taking over on vocals, and newcomer Nick D’Virgilio moving from the drum kit to lead guitar and then launching into a raucous cover of  The Olympic’s “Good Lovin”, and it was phenomenal to see them all excel in their new roles.  The band’s farewell tour has extensive dates in the US before heading to Europe for the summer festival circuit.  If you have a chance or have to make the trek, it’s well worth it to catch this epic band one last time.



Paul Gilbert — Guitar, vocals

Billy Sheehan — Bass, vocals

Eric Martin — Lead vocals

Nick D’Virgilio — Drums, vocals




1. Addicted to That Rush
2. Take Cover
3. Price You Gotta Pay
4. Lean Into It
5. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy
6. Alive and Kickin’
7. Green-Tinted Sixties Mind
8. CDFF-Lucky This Time
9. Voodoo Kiss
10. Never Say Never
11. Just Take My Heart
12. My Kinda Woman
13. A Little Too Loose
14. Road to Ruin
15. To Be With You
16. Wild World (Cat Stevens cover)
17. Guitar Solo w/Rocky Tribute
18. Colorado Bulldog
19. Bass Solo
20. Shy Boy (Talas cover)
21. 30 Days in the Hole (Humble Pie cover)
22. Good Lovin’ (The Olympics cover with Band Members Switching Instruments)
23. Baba O’Riley (The Who cover)








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