Released by: Frontiers Records
Release Date: February 24th, 2012
Genre: Acoustic Melodic Rock
Eric Martin – lead vocals
Pat Torpey – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Billy Sheehan – bass guitar, backing vocals
Paul Gilbert – guitar, backing vocals
03. Still ain’t enough for me
04. As far as i can see
05. Voodoo kiss
06. Take cover
07. Around the world
08. Stranger in my life
09. All the way up
10. To be with you
11. Nobody left to blame
For a band that seemed pretty well done and dusted not that long ago, MR. BIG has definitely had a big couple of years. Starting with a bunch of very well received reunion shows, a fan-pleasing live album, then growing into what was to be one of 2011’s best rock albums WHAT IF… All of sudden Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan, Paul Gilbert and Pat Torpey are the talk of the town again, and over in Japan where the band has always been massive, they have just about taken over the entire country.
While the fire was still burning hot the band decided to get some recording gear together, head to Japan and host an intimate acoustic-based gig, to be recorded and released as an unplugged album of sorts. While the album makes stops at most of the band’s different eras, the tracklist is heavily weighted toward their latest album, taking up six of the eleven spots. I spent a lot of time with WHAT IF… last year so those tracks are still very fresh in my mind, and the remaining few are all classics that all MR. BIG fans will instantly recognize.
As with everything they do, MR. BIG show on LIVE FROM THE LIVING ROOM that they are a cut above most other acts in a pure musicality term and each member certainly gets their opportunity throughout the disc to send most other musicians running with their tails between their legs, unfortunately though the concept as a whole doesn’t really suit the MR. BIG sound. Most hard rock bands that release similar albums can get away with it by simplifying their songs down to a handful of catchy chords and then overlaying those with any signature melody lines they may need, but this approach just simply cannot work with a band that is as riff-driven as these guys are.
That’s not to say that the album isn’t any good, in fact I’m sure that die-hard MR. BIG fans will absolutely love it. What it does mean though for those that listen a little harder is that there are too many occasions where the overall sound feels a little empty, not because there’s nothing going on, but because there’s no simple backing melody, just riff after awesome riff. Eric Martin sounds a little deeper here than what I am used to as well, not in a way that he is off-key or anything, maybe more like the voice of somebody in the middle of a busy year of singing.
Put simply, this release is a fan service anyway, so in that regard it will be a success. As far as a wider audience goes though there are not enough of the band’s commercial hits to tempt the more casual listener into a purchase. I personally would have much rathered an all-new live album including a similar tracklist.
Written by Zeezee