Reviewing a live album almost always makes me wish I had been at the gig I am listening too. Mr Big’s ‘Live from Milan’ album is definitely one of those. The album starts with the crowd chanting, “Mr Big, Mr Big, Mr Big,” as they break into Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy. Not one of my personal favourite songs but a great way to open the set none the less. Track four is Alive and Kicking and to be honest I feel as though this is when the band really does come alive and plays with the passion they did in their younger years. Just the opening guitar solo gets the crowd screaming and gets me excited and imagining I am standing up the front against the barrier rocking out with the crowd and the band. At the end of the track Eric Martin declares, “Oh I’m cooking now, I am cooking with gas now, I am all pumped up and whatnot, I am ready to start this party going, hit it!”
In 2017 the band released their album ‘Defying Gravity,’ and then commenced their tour which took them all over the world to promote the new release in a live setting.
Mr Big have such a mix of songs, some are so on point and rock out hard, and others have always left me wanting something more. This album has 22 tracks so there is a nice mix of songs that blow me away and songs I am waiting to finish so I can get to the next track. A good handful of their songs relate to love or love gone wrong and I am quite sure it is not just me that has cried while listening to a Mr Big song after a break up at some point over the years. When they get to track six, Just Take my Heart, the crowd screams with delight. A sad song but with beautiful lyrics, it hits the heart hard: “I’ll always love you, too hard to hold, just take my heart when you go.”
Track nine, Everybody Needs a Little Trouble is definitely one of their heavier songs and Martin has a little banter with the band and the crowd about being a trouble maker, claiming someone else to be the trouble maker, like he “used to be all those other years,” before breaking into the song. Martin’s vocals have always been amazing and in most of the tracks the vocals are as on point as they have always been. This particular track showcases his talent for not only clean vocals but for screaming too.
Track 11 is Paul Gilbert’s time to shine with a guitar solo. This guy can play. You can hear the crowd cheering, clapping along and appreciating his talent during his seven and a half minute solo. A slightly self indulgent moment? But why not when you’re this good!?
Track 13, Mr Big’s infamous cover of Wild World is just beautiful. I honestly had to replay this several times. Always a great singalong for the crowds, too.
The album has two discs and the last track on disc one is Damn I’m in Love Again, another love song but a much more upbeat and happy song.
Disc two opens with Martin screaming “Rock and Roll Over!” and breaking into the rocking track with full force. For track three we are treated with a five minute bass solo from Billy Sheehan. I have always loved the bass guitar and honestly don’t think there are enough bass solos on live albums so this was a highlight for me.
This recording has both Pat Torpey and Matt Star featuring on drums. Torpy was a founding member of Mr Big but sadly this was to be his last performance with the band as he passed away due to complications with Parkinson’s disease in early 2018. I am quite sure this was quite a special and yet sad moment for the band making this live album.
Track five on Disc two, Martin yells “Are you ready to sing!?”and breaks into the song we have all been waiting for, To be with You. I remember being a little girl and watching the film clip to this on Rage really early in the mornings before my parents were even out of bed. I still know every word to this song and it holds a special place in my heart. Hearing the live recording of this track was definitely the highlight for me.
The album finishes up with the title track from the band’s ninth studio album, ‘Defying Gravity.’ I understand why they chose to finish up with a newer song but I am not a big fan of this track. Whilst Mr Big’s ‘Live from Milan’ had its ups and downs for me, it really is a great live recording. If you’re a fan of the band I do recommend getting yourself a copy! It’s the next best thing to seeing them live.
GET YOUR HANDS ON MR BIG’S ‘LIVE FROM MILAN’ FROM FRONTIERS MUSIC SRL HERE!