Unforgettable Night at EPIC Event Center, Feb 17, 2024, with Iconic Band Mr. Big on Their Farewell Tour: A Personal Encounter with Timeless Music and Legendary Musicians

Unforgettable Night at EPIC Event Center, Feb 17, 2024, with Iconic Band on Their Farewell Tour: A Personal Encounter with Timeless Music and Legendary Musicians...

Words/Photos: Chris Rugowski

https://www.chickenortheeggphotography.com/

 

It’s their last tour, and they pulled out all the big ones—rare ones, covers—and played their iconic album “Lean Into It” in its entirety.

The lineup for the tour included Nick D’Virgilio on drums, a nice homage to the legendary drummer Pat Torpey.

In full admission, I am 37 years old, and I really only knew the song “To Be With You”. This band debuted on the music scene when I was two years old, and their “Lean Into It” album came out when I was five—so I went into this show with limited knowledge. Which, in a way, I appreciated a little bit more than knowing all their songs and having expectations.

My main takeaway from this band was that this may be their last tour, but their energy during the whole show felt like it was their first tour. This was not my first time seeing Billy on the bass; however, I saw him with Winery Dogs at EPIC in 2023, so I had an inkling of what to expect with any project he’s a part of. What I didn’t know was coming with the musicianship that was present on that stage. Seriously, I don’t say this lightly. I think I spent more time with my head cocked looking at people playing instruments than I think I ever have in a show. Paul Gilbert’s guitar chops—just amazing. Nick D’Virgilio did total justice to Torpey’s parts while also giving it his own flare.

To me, discovering this group at this point in my life was exactly what I needed. They are living proof that time does age you well, and I know when I’m their age, I’d love to be half the musician they all are. Also, given their age, the songs were in the same key from what I could tell, and their harmonies are absolutely killer, totally on point. Not every musician can retain this kind of range throughout their lifetime, but it was really cool to hear.

The venue sounded great as well, with a decent-sized audience from what I heard.

THE SHOW

They hit the stage with “Addicted to that Rush”, “Take Cover”, and “Price you Gotta Pay” before getting into their Lean Into It album.

From there, complete with drill in hand, they hit the ground running with “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy” all the way through their smash hit “To Be With You”—which sounded just as great as it did on their original release.

After the album was done, we got into covers and solos. Starting with “Wild World” from Cat Stevens.

Then we went into an epic guitar solo from Paul where he played a medley of tunes; it was fun to listen to and sing along to this. It was more than just technical prowess too; it was Paul just having some fun and playing with the audience at the same time. It reminded me of something from “Friday Night in San Francisco” that featured Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin, and Paco de Lucía. It was a special moment that’s for sure.

We then jumped back to the “Bump Ahead” album with “Colorado Bulldog”, which was a nice change of pace, it set the mood for the next epic solo, Billy’s bass solo.

His solo this time had some more oomph on the low end, and he did some different stuff than when I last saw him. It was neat to see how he utilized the fretboard almost as a keyboard in one instance too. His pickups are great because they pick up every tone in that bass.

From here, we went into cover land with Shy Boy, 30 Days in the Hole, Good Lovin’, and Baba O’Riley.

My personal thought on the final tour, given their other album releases of live shows, I’d be surprised if they don’t release something for this tour. And if they don’t, then at least it’ll live on in our memories.

GETTING TO MEET BILLY SHEEHAN

An unexpected surprise of the night was getting an extra “after-show” pass in my envelope. I had no idea what it was or that it was even going to happen. Looking back, I wish I would’ve asked some more questions and said some more stuff. I think I was partially star-struck, to be honest.

Billy is super down to earth, funny, and had some stories to tell that have probably been told a thousand times, but they were really cool to hear from the source.

I could not have wished for a better night. Even though I didn’t know the music like most everyone else there, I really enjoyed the night. It was inspiring to see these guys still up there rocking out like they’re fresh out of the gate.

My suggestion, DO NOT miss this show because you’re not going to get another chance. Singer Eric Martin has made it clear to continue without Torpey for an extended period would not feel right.

 

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

 

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