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    MR. BIG supported by Jared James Nichols at KK Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, UK- 22/03/2024

    Photos and review by Hughes Vanhoucke

    Last Friday Mr.Big came to KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton as part of the farewell tour called “The Big Finish”. The Americans are making it a long farewell with an extended series of shows on both sides of the ocean and the ones that missed them will be able to wave them goodbye during the run of summer festivals.

    An hour and a half before the doors opened, there was a already mass of people queuing on the sidewalk along KK’s Steel Mill. Ranging from their early twenties right up to their fifties, here to show their appreciation for Mr. Big’s contribution to rock music

    Opening the night, is the 35-year-old blues rock guitar sensation Jared James Nichols.

    The ‘big bloke’ from Wisconsin with snakeskin boots attracted all the attention as a talented guitarist bringing a mix of blues-rock and hard rock . The audience got a rendition  of “Miss You,” “Threw Me to the Wolves” and “Bad Roots.”

    This amazing 40min set by the trio Jarred James Nichols, Brian Weaver on bass and Ryan Rice on the drums ended with a great version of Black Sabbaths “War Pigs”

    Now, the audience are ready for Mr. Big…..

    JARED JAMES NICHOLS

    It was just after 9:00 PM, the lights dim to an intro tape of Blitzkreig Bop by The Ramones. To a raptuous applause and screams, Billy Sheehan walks to centrestage, to the intro to ‘Addicted to That Rush’ followed by Paul Gilbert playing his Ibanez….Giving the departed Pat Torpey a mention, the crowd welcomed  drummer Nick D’Virgilio.

    I had previously read that Eric Martin was having some vocal problems and had enlisted the help of Whitesnake’s keyboardist and background vocalist Michele Luppi for the shows in Wolverhampton and London, in Brussels, Eric Martin was back on his own. This was the first show that the Italian had joined Mr. Big during on this farewell tour. Michele Luppi has been singing in a Mr. Big tribute band (Mr. Pig) for thirty years now, since the nineties when the guys from LA were at the top of their game.

    Right from the start we saw Michele Luppi singing with Eric Martin next to Nick D’Virgilio’s drum kit, which sounded amazing from the pit. Eric Martin looked in very good shape and seemed a lot younger than his 63 years. His voice might not be fully OK, but the rest of the musicians were outstanding. You could see the joy oozing from Paul Gilbert, Billy Sheehan and Nick D’Virgilio. Too bad this band is calling it a day…

    The band performed three songs from lesser-known albums followed by “Lean Into It” which was played in its entirety with the hit singles “To Be With You” and “Just Take My Heart” that set the house on fire.

    After this, to close the set, the audience received a series of covers- Wild World by Cat Stevens, Shy Boy by Talas, 30 days in The Hole by Humble Pie, Good Loving by The Olympics and to conclude the evening “Baba O’Reilly” by the The Who. In between we got two solos from Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan that were a bit long in my humble opinion but overall, definitely a Friday night show that wasn’t to be missed…

    MR BIG

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