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Mr. Big: Live From Milan (2018)

Written by: Kev Rowland

Mr. Big are a band who surely need no introduction to fans of melodic hard rock, becoming major players not long after their formation in 1988. Virtuoso bassist Billy Sheehan was fresh from a stint with Dave Lee Roth, while guitarist Paul Gilbert had already made a name for himself with Racer X, the line-up being completed by singer Eric Martin and drummer Pat Torpey. Gilbert originally left the band in 1999, being replaced by Richie Kotzen, and then the band broke up in 2002 before the original line-up got back together in 2009. Following the release of their 2017 album, ‘Defying Gravity’, Mr. Big set out on a major tour, and this album is taken from the Milan show in front of an audience who certainly know all the words to the songs. By this time, drummer Pat Torpey’s battle with Parkinson’s Disease had been made public, but Pat toured with the band regardless and sat behind the drum kit for select songs, while also providing background vocals, tambourine, etc. on other tracks when Matt Starr was taking his turn on the kit. Sadly, this would be one of Pat Torpey’s last performances with the band as he passed away from complications due to Parkinson’s in early 2018.

But, he has left behind a fitting tribute, as in many ways this is a great album, and if you had been there that night this is undoubtedly what you would have heard. Although it isn’t stated anywhere, this is a fully untreated live album, so much so that it sounds as if it is a good sound desk bootleg as opposed to an official release. Because of this it does take quite a while to get into it just as the sound isn’t what one would expect – this has to have been a deliberate decision, and in many ways it is to be applauded as we get to hear the occasional duff notes as well, which means that when the harmonies are bang on then that is how they really can perform. Also, both Sheehan and Gilbert are undoubted masters of their craft (I firmly believe that Gilbert’s version of “My Guitar Gently Weeps”, as part of Yellow Matter Custard, is the finest rendition I have ever come across), and they have no problems taking leads or following each other in a way rarely seen between bass and guitar. After a while I found that the sound, which definitely bugged me at the beginning, just didn’t seem to matter the more I got into the album, and as a collection of hits by one of the finest melodic hard rock bands around, it is hard to imagine anything finer than this.

Rating: 7/10

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Track list:

CD – Disc 1:
1. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy
2. American Beauty
3. Undertow
4. Alive And Kickin’
5. Temperamental
6. Just Take My Heart
7. Take Cover
8. Green-Tinted Sixties Mind
9. Everybody Needs A Little Trouble
10. Price You Gotta Pay
11. Paul’s Solo
12. Open Your Eyes
13. Wild World
14. Damn I’m In Love Again

CD – Disc 2:
1. Rock And Roll Over
2. Around The World
3. Billy’s Solo
4. Addicted To That Rush
5. To Be With You
6. 1992
7. Colorado Bulldog
8. Defying Gravity

Blu-Ray:
1. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy
2. American Beauty
3. Undertow
4. Alive And Kickin’
5. Temperamental
6. Just Take My Heart
7. Take Cover
8. Green-Tinted Sixties Mind
9. Everybody Needs A Little Trouble
10. Price You Gotta Pay
11. Paul’s Solo
12. Open Your Eyes
13. Wild World
14. Damn I’m In Love Again
15. Rock And Roll Over
16. Around The World
17. Billy’s Solo
18. Addicted To That Rush
19. To Be With You
20. 1992
21. Colorado Bulldog
22. Defying Gravity

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Links:
http://www.mrbigsite.com/
http://www.frontiers.it/

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