Mr. Big Defying Gravity Worldwide Tour 2017 Live @ Arcada Theatre

Arcada Theatre – St Charles, IL, USA – June 2 2017
Story and photos by Jake Warkel

The most influential band of the early 1990’s and the biggest supergroup powered by Paul Gilbert’s musical greatness on guitar and Billy Sheehan who is the greatest rock bassist of all time with his lead bass playing style and of coarse Eric Martin’s special unique voice that compliments the great music and Pat Torpey’s solid drumming with Torpey able to play a couple of songs at each stop and Matt Starr will be filling in for him on the drums on tour with the band. Matt Starr also has contributed on the new “Defying Gravity” album, I’m so excited that Mr. Big is releasing their ninth original studio album July 7 2017 “Defying Gravity.” I’m lucky enough that I already have the new album and I must say it’s a definite album to have, there are so many great songs on this album with wonderful melodies, harmonies, guitar licks, vocally strong leads as well as back-rounds. I’m really hoping they play new tracks tonight.

Mr. Big is back at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles IL about 45 minutes west of Chicago the last time Mr.Big played here was Feb 19 2015 to a sell out crowd. Tonight when I arrived to the venue I was informed it was not a sell out witch was a big surprise to myself and others I talked too. The venue was pretty crowded not quite a sellout but for those who decided not to come out tonight I know have regrets on not seeing Mr. Big after seeing some videos on you tube and hearing about the show that’s what some have told me. Many of the fans in the crowd were definitely die hards as well as a handful of families bringing their youngsters tonight to carry on the musical torch.

The crowd and myself are extremely excited for the show to start as the fun rocking tune with Paul Gilberts electric drill picking the guitar on “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy” started the night off right. The next two songs “American Beauty” which gives the “Shy Boy” feel as always to me from DLR fast paced guitar playing and bass playing and killer vibe and “Undertow” with that gritty heavy tone and killer Eric Martin vocals from 2010 release “What If” album. “Alive and Kickin'” with soulful strong vocals and vocal harmonies just keeps the crowd grooving. The next is song is “Temperamental” from the 1993 release “Bump Ahead” was tight and they rocked it out.

Now behind the drums for “Just Take My Heart” Pat Tropey sits in. This is a few songs Torpey will sit in on, as most the night he’s playing tambourines and also a small stand up drum kit at times. While this ballad still holds up today as Mr. Big performs a well done live performance of this song. Cranking out more classic hits to now finally playing “Everybody Needs a Little Trouble” off the new “Defying Gravity” album due out July 7 2017 a great groovy tune that keeps you moving, backing vocals sound great of course with great vibe. My favorite parts of the show was Paul Gilbert’s extraordinary guitar solo and Billy Sheehan amazing bass solo both musicians are bar none the best at what they do.

My song of the night was the classic “Addicted To That Rush” Mr. Big’s hit from their 1989 self entitled “Mr.Big” album Billy’s solo went straight into Paul and Billy going back and forth taking turns licks for licks having fun up on stage giving it all to the crowd as that was the intro to “Addicted To That Rush” then an amazing performance, so solid and tight from the whole band keeping the fans on their toes as this was the last song before the ENCORE. When the crowd gave their appreciation with loud cheers and applause Mr. Big returned to the stage with one of their biggest song ever “To Be With You” that sparked fond memories I can only imagine for most of these fans that were singing along. Then tearing it up with “Colorado Bulldog” with high speed energy and guitar playing and onto a new song “1992” from their new album “Defying Gravity” which I found pretty cool as Matt Starr and Paul Gilbert start together and then Paul had Matt stop as Paul messed up and they had to start the song over. “1992” sounded great they have a hit with this song or I hope they have a hit with this song but I like many other songs also on the new album which have definite hit potential. Mr. Big’s last song of the night is the cover of the Who’s song “Baba O’Riley” it was always a go to song for Mr. Big that they have been performing live since early 1990’s. Those that don’t know that song you might actually know it as Teenage Wasteland which is actually not the title but many know it by that. Billy Sheehan got on the mic after the song and thanked everyone for coming out and then the band members slowly exited the stage waving and thanking the crowd.

About a half-hour to forty minutes after the show and the venue cleared out Mr. Big had held a VIP meet and greet and a quick photo-op as well. It was nice to see the fans exchange gifts to the band members as some of these fans are clearly committed. The band members signed whatever the fans had and also took individual photos and selfies with these fans, they definitely were making sure all of them had a special moment and that means a lot to these fans as it means a lot to Mr. Big. Mr. Big as a whole are genuine people that enjoy their fans and are kind and will be personable and take a moment for them even without the meet and greets. I find them all to be humble and in my opinion if Eric Martin was not a singer I still think he would be behind a mic as a stand-up comedian because he is one hell of a jokester.

Mr. Big will never disappoint with the great musicianship as a whole. Fans that play guitar get inspired from the shredder Paul Gilbert and fans that are bass players get inspired from Billy Sheehan, for the love and pure energy and powerful soulful voice of Eric Martin and the tight time keeper of Matt Starr on drums and we cant forget Pat Torpey original drummer who plays a few songs behind the full kit. Mr. Big today is still a great treat to see live go out and see them on their 2017 “Defying Gravity” tour you will not be disappointed.

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Mr. Big Arcada Theatre 6/2/17 “To Be With You”

Mr. Big is Eric Martin (vocals); Paul Gilbert (guitar); Billy Sheehan (bass);  Pat Torpey (drums) with Matt Starr (tour drums).

Set List

  • Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy
  • American Beauty
  • Undertow
  • Alive and Kickin’
  • Temperamental
  • Just Take My Heart
  • Take Cover
  • Green Tinted Sixties Mind
  • Everybody Needs a Little Trouble
  • Price You Gotta Pay
  • Guitar Solo
  • Take a Walk
  • Wild World
  • Rock & Roll Over
  • Around The World
  • Bass Solo
  • Addicted To That Rush


  • To Be With You
  • Colorado Bulldog
  • 1992
  • Baba O’Riley