Mr Big at the Des Plaines Theatre in Des Plaines, IL

For the second show in the area in one week, Mr Big brought The Big Finish Tour to the Des Plaines Theatre. 

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a whopping 33 years since the release of Mr Big‘s Lean Into It. Following the passing of drummer Pat Torpey, the band announced they were going on hiatus as they felt they could no longer continue. However, in November 2022, came the announcement that they were taking to the road for one last hurrah. With that came the tour dates for The Big Finish. The Des Plaines show sold out in under an hour so the fans were obviously eager to see Mr Big for one last time. 

What better way to mark their last-ever tour than performing Lean Into It in its entirety, so that’s exactly what they did. They initially kicked off the evening with “Addicted to That Rush,” “Take Cover,” and “Price You Gotta Pay” before launching into playing the seminal album in order. The excitement grew as they shredded their way through “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy” as the fans eagerly awaited the moment the drills come out. Sure enough, there they were!

The Des Plaines Theatre was transported back to 1991 as the whole audience sang along with every song, including “Green-Tinted Sixties Mind” and “Never Say Never.” It seemed like in no time at all they were rounding out this section of the show with the venue-wide singalong to mega-hit “To Be With You.” The theater was filled with everyone’s phones in the air as they recorded the performance of this song for one last time.

But that wasn’t the end of the night. Oh no, there was plenty more to come including a face-melting guitar solo from Paul Gilbert and the most impressive bass solo you’re ever likely to see from Billy Sheehan. The three founding members were joined by their new drummer, Nick D’Virgilio. Nick got the opportunity to come up front for their cover of “Good Lovin'” which saw him take over guitar duties, Paul on drums, Eric on bass, and Billy on vocals. Just when you think they couldn’t be any more talented, they go and pull this out of the bag! 

Throughout the show, they all looked like they were having great fun performing together and interacting with the crowd. This was not a sad show because it’s coming to an end, but rather a celebration of what they have achieved. The fans were clearly happy they got to experience this one last time. Eric Martin’s voice sounded incredible and it’s a wonder he can keep performing these songs show after show. As a frontman, he more than delivers. What can we say about Paul Gilbert that we haven’t said before? The guy is a master of the guitar. What he can’t do with that instrument, isn’t worth doing! And he can play the drums, too! Come on! Billy Sheehan is one of the biggest personalities you’ll see behind a bass. It’s like there’s just too much energy in that guy that needs to get out, which typically results in his bass being swung around.

As bittersweet as it is to see a farewell show, it’s something you have to attend or you’ll kick yourself for missing it. There are only a handful of North American tour dates left before they head to Europe in March. They do have some additional Stateside dates in May on the West Coast, so if you’ve been wondering whether or not to get those tickets – this is your sign to do it! As much as we’d love to think this might be one of those never-ending final tours, at the moment, unfortunately, that does not look to be the case. So let’s take it for what it is, and soak up every moment we can.  

MR BIG
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DES PLAINES THEATRE
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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!