By Joey Dizon
Last August 9, 2023, longtime Filipino fans of hard rock supergroup Mr. Big were given the bittersweet opportunity to say goodbye at the SM Skydome.The band, as part of their BIG Finish tour that began this year and will continue until 2024, delivered one last memorable performance in Manila. Vocalist Eric Martin, guitarist Paul Gilbert, bassist Billy Sheehan and touring drummer Nick D’Virgilio (who had the honor of pounding the skins in place of the late, great Pat Torpey) ensured this farewell was anything but tearful.
As early as 2:00 in the afternoon, loyal fans of all ages trooped to the venue, snatching up concert tees and other merch. The atmosphere was thick with excitement and emotion, especially from those who had grown up with the band’s music over its three-decade-plus run.
By the time the lights dimmed and the packed Skydome echoed with screams and cheers to the tune of the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” the palpable anticipation was met as the band exploded into their driving classic “Addicted To That Rush.” Gilbert and Sheehan shredded on their instruments effortlessly, while vocalist Eric Martin further energized the crowd. Without missing a beat, the band went into overdrive with the crowd favorite “Take Cover,” and concluded their opening set with the more recent hit, “Undertow.”
The sing-alongs and screams intensified as Mr. Big revisited their landmark 1991 album, Lean Into It. They played both cult favorites like “Alive and Kickin’,” “Voodoo Kiss,” and “A Little Too Loose,” as well as massive hits including “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song),” the seldom-played “CDFF- Lucky This Time,” “Green-Tinted Sixties Mind,” and the iconic power ballad “Just Take My Heart.” They wrapped up with their global hit “To Be With You.”
Soon after, the band launched into my personal favorite “Promise Her The Moon” and the Cat Stevens original “Wild World.” Then it was guitar and bass solo time, courtesy of Gilbert and Sheehan. After the terrifyingly technical “Colorado Bulldog,” the band ended strong with their favorite covers, including a finale of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”
And the evening was done. No tears, just love.
Walking out of the Skydome, I could still see the smiles of gratitude and hear the excitement behind the fans’ shared stories of their favorite parts of the show. Hitching a ride with musician-friends, we were all still pumped—grateful that we didn’t pass up the chance to show our appreciation for Mr. Big one last time. Thank you, Mr. Big, for making our lives magical with your music.