Concert Round-up: More Than a Farewell Show (Mr. Big Live in Manila 2023)

It’s not often that a rock supergroup could say that they’ve influenced a generation of musicians, but Mr. Big definitely falls under that category. The rock band is known not only for its music versatility and virtuosic musicians, but also for its deep connection with its fans.

On Aug. 9, Mr. Big’s Filipino fans did not miss the chance to see the band live at the SM North Edsa Skydome. The band came back to Manila for the fifth time as part of the Asian leg of their The BIG Finish farewell tour.

Mr. Big’s electrifying set that night started with “Addicted to That Rush,” which is from their debut album released in 1989 and showcases the stunning guitar and bass skills of Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan, respectively. Their set continued with “Take Cover” and “Undertow.”

Vocalist Eric Martin then said that they will be performing the entirety of their 1991 “Lean into It” album. And what better way to introduce one of the best rock albums than performing its first track: “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song).” It’s known as the electric drill song because, well, Gilbert and Sheehan both use electric drills to create their lightning-fast solos. The band played the whole album, including “Green-Tinted Sixties Mind,” “CDFF-Lucky This Time,” “Just Take My Heart,” “Road to Ruin,” and “To Be with You.”

After their “Lean into It” songs, Mr. Big also performed their hits such as “Big Love,” “Promise Her the Moon,” and a cover of Cat Stevens’ “Wild World.”

Gilbert and Sheehan also put their unmatched talents on display with their guitar and bass solos. The crowd was mesmerized by Gilbert’s fast and fierce notes and Sheehan’s reverberating bass lines. Each one played their weapon of choice for about six minutes. For this tour, Nick D’Virgilio is stepping in for founding drummer Pat Torpey, who sadly passed away in 2018.

Mr. Big’s set also included “Colorado Bulldog,” “Shy Boy,” and “30 Days in the Hole.”

For their performance of “Good Lovin’,” Sheehan became the vocalist, Martin the bassist, Gilbert the drummer, and D’Virgilio the guitarist. The night ended with a cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”

From their rock and roll hits to their power ballads, the band was exhilarating and was fueled by the energy of the crowd throughout the show.

Before saying goodbye, Sheehan had a message to the band’s Filipino fans: “So many amazing memories coming here to the Philippines and playing for you all these years. Thank you all for coming to our shows and being there with us. It means so much to us. We go around the rest of the world, and they say, ‘Where are the good audiences? What country?’ And we say, ‘Well, Manila. I don’t think you can beat that.'”

“From the bottom of our hearts, thank you all so much for all these years together. We will never, ever forget you. You will be in our hearts for all time.”

The BIG Finish was more than a farewell show. It was a night of celebration and recognition of the geniuses behind the instruments, as well as the songs we’ve loved for years. It also was a way for the band to say thank you to their fans (comprised mostly talented musicians who learned from and were inspired by one of the best rock bands).

Mr. Big – The BIG Finish Live in Manila was presented by PULP Live World.
Words by Ava Sumortin
Photos by Danilo Factor
More photos here

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