Mr. Big will get together for The Big Finish, a final worldwide tour in which the band’s set will include the entire Lean Into It album. With the passing of drummer and co-founder Pat Torpey, who lost his battle with Parkinson’s disease in 2018, Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan and Paul Gilbert will mark the end of the legacy of the band. Joining them on drums is Nick D’Virgilio.
“We’re in the process of making sure we come up with a suitably big entertainment extravaganza to go along with our music,” Paul Gilbert said. “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.”
The first leg will take the band to Japan and Southeast Asia in July and August, while shows in South America, Europe, and the U.S. will launch in early 2024 and will be announced soon.
“If we were in the movie business, we’d just put it all up in lights and say, ‘Welcome to The BIG Finish,'” Eric Martin said. “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.”
“We wanted to do a proper farewell,” Billy Sheehan said, “and this seems like the right way to do it.”
Joining Mr. Big to celebrate a 35-year, perpetually electrifying performance rush is Nick D’Virgilio. “We found a wonderful drummer in Nick, and he’s got a great voice, too,” Sheehan says. “Nick has a vocal range similar to Pat’s, and he’ll be able to do the parts Pat did with 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.”
“Nick gets close to the spirit of Pat Torpey,” Paul Gilbert said. “Billy, Eric, 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.”
“I love the fact that Nick was a fan of Pat Torpey and wants to keep our Big sound intact,” says Eric. “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.”
While the set will include tracks from across the band’s entire career, Lean Into It, from start to finish, will be a natural highlight. The Platinum-selling 1991 album featured the power-drilled and power-chorded Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy, as well as their global smash, To Be With You.
“To Be With You helped put the stamps in our passports,” Martin says, “but we really nailed it on Lean Into It. I’m still in awe of how Billy and Paul play on that album because they’re such brilliant players. I used to call them the dynamic duo. And Pat Torpey was an underrated drummer, in my opinion. I mean, just listen to his tone! Lean Into It is totally indicative of who we are as a band.”
“Lean Into It was put together much like a movie,” Sheehan says, “with an opening scene that lets us get into the dialogue and find out what the story is. And then you get the love scene, the car chase, and the punchline ending. I think it’s a perfectly sequenced album.”
“Some people thought we had brought in professional background singers to do all those harmonies on Lean Into It,” Gilbert says, “but no, it’s really us. We always felt like we had something to prove whenever we went on the road and did all that singing ourselves, just to show everyone that we really could do it.”
“I hope the people who come see our shows get to feel what it’s like when musicians get together and really play and sing the songs they wrote,” Sheehan says. “We want the audience to be one with us and feel our evening together was a magical and beautiful event.”
Paul Gilbert agrees. “Music is like time travel,” he said. “You can hear something that takes you right back to 1992, and it reminds you exactly of what was happening back then. On this tour, I want to give people the opportunity to time travel like that and go, ‘these guys are on fire! Good music is timeless.”
“I love playing with these guys,” Eric Martin said. “And if I’m being honest, I don’t want it to ever end. I’m the guy who just knows we still have that special spark together, and I always want to keep the torch burning.
“But if it really is the end, then I want us all to have a happy ending together. We’re a great live band. I want everybody to come out and see us because we want to blow you away and have you all think as you’re leaving, ‘Mr. Big really is the real thing.'”