MR. BIG Finishes Strong at Royal Oak Music Theatre

Music Scene Media
Feb 23, 2024
5 min read

by Logan Brannigan

Nearing the end of their first US tour leg, Mr. Big brought their “Big Finish” tour to the Royal Oak Music Theatre on February 20th. Hundreds of fans packed the beautiful theatre with the thought of seeing the iconic supergroup for the last time. Every night on this tour has been special for each member of the band, and this night was no different.

As the house lights dimmed and the sounds of “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “Sing, Sing, Sing” faded over the house speakers, Mr. Big made their way to the stage. Billy Sheehan greeted the audience with his signature bass-tapping and the band launched into one of their live staples, “Addicted To That Rush.” Talk about starting on a high note. Everyone was firing on all cylinders for this song. Before Nick played the iconic drum groove to the song, “Take Cover”, Eric made sure to pay tribute to the band’s fallen brother, Pat Torpey, who sadly passed away in 2017. Every member was smiling from ear to ear while playing the catchy tune. The catchy “Take Cover” was then followed by the gritty, hard rock fueled, “Price You Gotta Pay.” This song brought out the heavier side of Mr. Big, and the crowd ate it up. When it came to the harmonica solo portion of the song, Billy blew on the harmonica while Eric came from behind Billy’s back to take over bass duties. What a cool moment to see! 

The next set of songs were dedicated to their sophomore album, “Lean Into It.” The crowd erupted when the sounds of electric drills came through the speakers and the band kicked into, “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy.” Paul Gilbert added a bit of slide action to fill in some space which was super cool. Keeping to the tradition, Billy and Paul performed their famous electric drill solos flawlessly. Every song from the album was represented, including the song, “Never Say Never,” which had never been performed live until this tour. The performances were so tight on every song that it was just like listening to the studio version, but with twice the amount of energy. 

Before going into the song, “To Be With You,” Eric introduced each member of the band one by one. Each member received well deserved ovations from the crowd. While introducing Nick D’Virgilio, Eric let the audience know that Nick is a “made man” in Mr. Big and even had the audience give him two warm ovations. Even if you weren’t familiar with his previous works with bands like Spock’s Beard and Big Big Train, you couldn’t help but feel happy for him in that moment. 

If you thought the concert was drawing to a close after “To Be With You", you were sorely mistaken. The band ended up playing 40 more minutes worth of music! They played songs like: “Wild World”, “Colorado Bulldog”, “Shy Boy”, and “30 Days In The Hole.” In between those songs, Billy and Paul were able to show off their chops to the audience and blew everyone’s minds in the process. Paul Gilbert’s solo was filled with many tasteful riffs and even played the Rocky theme with some slide action. What more could you ask for from a guitar master. Billy Sheehan’s solo was equally tasteful and even kicked on his octave pedal to create a space like atmosphere. 

Just before going into a cover of The Rascals song, “Good Lovin”, every member switched instruments. Paul Gilbert on drums; Nick D’Virgilio on guitar; Eric Martin on bass; and Billy Sheehan on lead vocals. This portion of the concert really showcased how multi-talented each member of Mr. Big is. Paul was having a blast behind the kit and soaked up as much time as he could. The concert ended with a cover of The Who classic, “Baba O’Riley.” Mr. Big has ended many of their sets with the song since 1991, and it worked just as well in 2024. 

As the band hit the final notes, all four men walked up to the front of the stage and took their bows to the roaring crowd. Before the band left the stage, Billie took the mic and said:

“Everyone here in the Royal Oak and Detroit area; we will remember this night forever and you will be in our hearts for all time.”

Mr. Big played their hearts out to the Michigan crowd and left everything on the stage that night. If you are a fan of the band or any of the members in it, don’t hesitate and buy yourself a ticket to one of their shows. They have plenty of dates planned so they may be heading to a city near you in the year 2024. They’ll be returning to the Motown state on May 30th at District 142 in Wyandotte. 

Here is where you can find their upcoming dates:

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