Mr Big 2014 By Jim Templeton-Cross@ London KOKO, October 17 2014

When Mr. Big announced that their World Tour would kick off in London, expectations were high given the badass new album Stories We Could Tell.

With drummer Pat Torpey’s Parkinson’s Disease sidelining him for the tour, it looked like this ‘story’ wouldn’t have a happy ending. However, the lads soldier on and this KOKO triumph proved that they still have it. 

With bass virtuoso, Billy Sheehan, providing rock steady undercurrents, Paul Gilbert was left to give every air guitarist their money’s worth. Two amazing solos, and a double act with Sheehan, showed everyone that vocalist Eric Martin’s boast of ‘faster than a speeding bullet’ was spot on when describing Gilbert’s effortless fretwork.

Martin’s vocals still hit hard and he was in fine voice for the show. Did he hit every note? No. But did he need to? The fans were there on every song, giving him love throughout and providing him the support he craved. As a frontman, Martin doesn’t prowl or jump around but he comfortably owns every inch of the stage.

Most of the rock community is aware of Torpey’s fight with Parkinson’s Disease but the sold-out KOKO audience was treated to the man himself gracing the stage – even getting on the kit for the standout Fragile from the new album.

Matt Starr proved to be a great fill in for Torpey on the skins. With pinpoint precision, a genuine stage presence and true professionalism he whipped the knowledgeable crowd into a frenzy on the drum-heavy Take Cover.

As stage shows go Mr. Big give the fans what they want. All the standards are included in the setlist, Sheehan and Gilbert are granted a solo or two and the power drills still come out on Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy. Even the audience get a shot at singing the chorus on To Be With You and Just Take My Heart. It’s all good.

Bill Thompson

Exclusive image courtesy of Jim Templeton-Cross