Earlier this summer, MR. BIG — Eric Martin (lead vocals),Paul Gilbert (guitar and vocals),Billy Sheehan (bass and vocals),Nick D'Virgilio (drums and vocals) — put on their signature top hats and old shoes for the launch of their last worldwide tour, aptly titled "The BIG Finish". Since the band's original drummer and co-founder Pat Torpey lost his battle with Parkinson's disease in 2018, the band now feels it's time to mark the end of this chapter of their legacy.
The first leg kicked off in Japan and Southeast Asia in July and August, where the band performed for hundreds of thousands of loyal fans at 11 sold-out shows including Budokan in Tokyo, Japan. Now MR. BIG is ready to bring "The BIG Finish" to South America, Europe, and the U.S. The first batch of shows throughout the States will start January 12, 2024 in Houston, Texas at the Rise Rooftop. More U.S. dates will be announced soon. Ticket info can be found on the band's official web site.
One particular aspect of this upcoming final run that MR. BIG are excited about to a man is the decision to perform the entirety of their breakthrough platinum-selling 1991 album "Lean Into It" from start to finish as a featured highlight of the live setlist. (To be sure, the full setlist will encompass MR. BIG's entire career.) Fact is, "Lean Into It" is the perfect litmus testament to the band's inherent dexterity at blending a variety of styles together, whether it's the heady rocking brew of "Green-Tinted Sixties Mind", the power-drilled and power-chorded identity checklist "Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy" or the truly heartfelt sentiments found within "To Be With You", MR. BIG's chart-topping, worldwide No. 1 smash hit single.
"I love playing the entire 'Lean Into It' record," says Gilbert. "We've never done that until now, and the songs flow together really well. It's a first-class seat in the time-travel-machine back to 1992! I was amazed that during my guitar solo, the whole audience started singing along with me! That was the first time that has ever happened! That's what a live show is about!"
"We wanted to do a proper farewell, and this seems like the right way to do it," asserts Sheehan. Notes Martin, "If we were in the movie business, we'd just put it all up in lights and say, 'Welcome to 'The BIG Finish'!' Seriously, I'm glad we're getting a chance to do it all onstage together as MR. BIG again and raise a flag to everything we've done as a band over the years."
Joining MR. BIG on drums for this special final world tour will be longtime friend of the band Nick D'Virgilio (SPOCK'S BEARD, BIG BIG TRAIN),stepping in for founding drummer/vocalist Pat Torpey, who sadly passed away in 2018 following his heroic battle with Parkinson's disease.
"We found a wonderful drummer in Nick, and he's got a great voice too," confirms Sheehan. "Nick has a vocal range similar to Pat's, and he'll be able to do the parts Pat did with a similar finesse. It's a big relief because MR. BIG has always been heavy on the harmonies. When the band began, we really relied on each other. We knew each guy would do exactly what he needed to do vocally and to do it righteously, on key, and in time. It's difficult to find a drummer who sings in that range, but Nick has the voice we really need onstage."
After 35 years of being addicted to that perpetually electrifying performance rush, the band feels it's finally time to collectively hang up their top hats and shoes after coming together for one final, extended curtain call — a curtain call that will take them on an all-out world tour commencing in 2023 that will go for as long as, well, as long as MR. BIG fans demand it.
U.S. tour dates:
Jan. 12 - Houston, TX - Rise Rooftop
Jan. 13 - Dallas, TX - The Factory In Deep Ellum
Jan. 17 - Key West, FL - Rokisland Fest
Jan. 20 - Orlando, FL - The Plaza Live
Jan. 21 - Clearwater, FL - Capitol Theatre
Jan. 23 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
Jan. 24 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
Jan. 26 - Cincinnati, OH - Ludlow Garage
Jan. 28 - Warrendale, PA - Jergel'S Rhythm Grille
Jan. 30 - Portland, ME - Aura
Jan. 31 - Patchogue, NY - Patchogue Theater
Feb. 02 - Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom
Feb. 03 - Ridgefield, CT - Ridgefield Playhouse
Feb. 06 - New York, NY - Sony Hall
Feb. 07 - Derry, NH - Tupelo Music Hall
Feb. 09 - Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre
Feb. 14 - Wabash, IN - Honeywell Center
Feb. 16 - Des Plains, IL - Des Plains Theatre
Feb. 17 - Green Bay, WI - Epic Event Center
Feb. 20 - Detroit, MI - Royal Oak Theatre
Feb. 21 - Minneapolis, MN - Fitzgerald Theater
Feb. 23 - Wichita, KS - The Cotillion
Feb. 24 - Oklahoma City, OK - Diamond Ballroom