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Mr. Big plays The Scout Bar

Mr. Big playing "Undertow" at The Scout BarSitting down before the show to interview Eric Martin, lead singer for Mr. Big since its inception in the late 80s, it's easy to see why this band is still alive and kicking (ahem). There's a palpable sense of communion between the members of this band that I saw in a small club in San Antonio way back when they toured in support of their debut album nearly 30 years ago. This band likes being this band. And I love that Pat Torpey is still able to tour using a cocktail drum kit while veteran drummer Matt Starr does the heavy lifting, because his voice would be missed.

(clockwise from top left) Billy Sheehan, Eric Martin, Ragman, GenghisKicking things off, Eric ceremoniously pulled out the electric drill, and handed it off to Paul Gilbert for his tongue in cheek showmanship on Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy, which got the crowd going. Following this up with a couple of songs from their comeback album What If... provided a nice juxtaposition between "old" and "new" Mr. Big showing that this band hasn't lost any of their songwriting skills. A mix of tunes from their impressive catalog led to the first inevitable, highly anticipated solo spot from Paul, who unsurprisingly caused jaws to drop at his neo-classical bag of tricks. Fans of his solo work have enjoyed watching Paul's career as he's definitely matured as a [highly prolific] songwriter and musician.

Another few songs, with a well-thought mix of older and newer material that the band banged out like a well-oiled machine, brought us to the mighty Billy Sheehan's bass solo spot. Billy's fretboard mastery is no secret, but it's always awe-inspiring to watch him do his thing like not a day has passed since I first saw him do it decades ago. Taking that solo right into Addicted To That Rush made for a fine finish to the main set, and the crowd didn't show any sign of tiring. To call this band a party band would be an obvious disservice, but I think people just don't know what else to call it when you experience the musical vibe these guys provide. It's the best mix of different eras and aspects of rock and roll: 70s swagger, 80s technical prowess, 90s introspection, and 21st century veteran maturity. Take all of that, stir it in a pot, garnish with familial love, and serve. That's the Mr. Big recipe.

- Genghis has his doubts that Eric will respond in future to "E-Rex"...

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