MR. BIG played its first concert with new touring drummer Nick D’Virgilio this past Sunday, July 16 at the Majiao Music Festival in China. Fan-filmed video of the concert (courtesy of the Chinese video platform Bilibili), can be watched below.
MR. BIG‘s final tour will see the band performing the entirety of its breakthrough platinum-selling 1991 album “Lean Into It” from start to finish as a featured highlight of the live set-list.
“We wanted to do a proper farewell, and this seems like the right way to do it,” Sheehan said. Gilbert added: “We’re in the process of making sure we come up with a suitably big entertainment extravaganza to go along with our music. And since our music has resonated so wonderfully in places all over the world, we’re going to play in as many of those places as we can.” Martin stated: “If we were in the movie business, we’d just put it all up in lights and say, ‘Welcome to ‘The BIG Finish’!’ Seriously, I’m glad we’re getting a chance to do it all onstage together as MR. BIG again and raise a flag to everything we’ve done as a band over the years.”
The band’s set-list on the opening night, was as follows:
1. Addicted To That Rush
2. Take Cover
4. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (THE ELECTRIC DRILL song)
5. Alive And Kickin’
6. Green-Tinted Sixties Mind
7. CDFF-Lucky This Time (Jeff Paris cover) (first time since May 15, 1992)
8. Voodoo Kiss (first time since 2016)
9. Never Say Never
10. Just Take My Heart
11. My Kinda Woman (first time since 1992)
12. A Little Too Loose (first time since 2011)
13. Road To Ruin (first time since 2011)
14. To Be With You
15. Guitar Solo
16. Colorado Bulldog
17. Bass Solo
18. Shy Boy (TALAS cover)
19. Wild World (Cat Stevens cover)
20. 30 Days In The Hole (HUMBLE PIE cover)
21. Good Lovin’ (THE RASCALS cover) (Paul Gilbert on drums, Billy Sheehan on vocals, Eric Martin on bass and Nick D’Virgilio on guitar)
As a session musician and touring artist, D’Virgilio has worked with many different kinds of artists and bands, from TEARS FOR FEARS, Sheryl Crow and Kevin Gilbert to Peter Gabriel and Eric Burdon and the ANIMALS. In 1996, Nick took Phil Collins‘s place in GENESIS and played on their “Calling All Stations” album. He has also carved out a major presence in the progressive rock world with his bands, SPOCK’S BEARD and BIG BIG TRAIN.
Before joining the Sweetwater team, Nick spent almost five years touring with Cirque Du Soleil‘s “Totem” as drummer, vocalist, and assistant bandleader.
When D’Virgilio‘s addition to MR. BIG was first announced in March, Sheehan said in a statement: “We found a wonderful drummer in Nick, and he’s got a great voice too. Nick has a vocal range similar to Pat‘s, and he’ll be able to do the parts Pat did with a similar finesse. It’s a big relief because MR. BIG has always been heavy on the harmonies. When the band began, we really relied on each other. We knew each guy would do exactly what he needed to do vocally and to do it righteously, on key, and in time. It’s difficult to find a drummer who sings in that range, but Nick has the voice we really need onstage.”
Gilbert concurred, saying: “Nick gets close to the spirit of Pat Torpey. Billy, Eric [Martin, vocals] and I have been really happy with the music we’ve already shared back and forth. I’m impressed with Nick‘s level of musical adaptability and breadth of skill. He and I have done some recording together, and I was blown away with his groove, and how he just played what fit the song. If the song requires him to be more progressive and stand out, he will stand out. But if the song requires him to groove, he will groove. That’s actually a rare thing, and it really fits in with what we do in MR. BIG.”
Martin added: “I love the fact that Nick was a fan of Pat Torpey and wants to keep our BIG sound intact. When I first saw his audition demo video of the ‘Lean Into It’ song ‘Lucky This Time’, Nick was playing drums with those signature Pat snare hits and singing harmonies spot on to what Pat used to do. It gave me goosebumps!! I am so thrilled to have this man who will be filling some mighty BIG shoes join us on our last tour.”