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Mr. Big - 'Live From The Living Room' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/ea/5e/59/2035_mrbiglivefromthelivingroom_1331754220.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 14, 2012    
 
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This is more than just an unplugged record -  this is an invigorated reformation.

Like Deep Purple, Mr. Big are one of those great live acts that play so well, when they issue yet another live album, you don’t mind. Well, I certainly don’t, because not only do they always deliver the goods, they also happen to be my favourite group. As such, I experienced a rather geeky feeling of euphoria when the original line up of Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan, Paul Gilbert and Pat Torpey reformed. That feeling returned when they issued a brand new album ‘What If…’ and to top it off, it was really, really good! So, upon hearing that ‘Live From The Living Room’ was coming out, I was a very happy bunny indeed.

Again, like Purple, Mr. Big aren’t afraid to do some different things with their live albums. Like ‘At The Hard Rock Live’, this album is pretty much an unplugged record. ‘What If…’ is mined heavily, with no less than seven of the tracks on offer taken from the latest album. It’s a good move, the band is obviously thrilled to have new songs to play and all of them work superbly in the stripped down format. ‘Undertow’ is a terrific opener with Eric sounding crisp and clear, over the exquisite playing of Sheehan and Gilbert, while Torpey handles all manner of percussion in the background. The skill of the band means they can take a rocker like ‘Around The World’ or a ballad such as ‘As Far As I Can See’ and still make them work just the same. There’s a little bit of electric guitar from Gilbert on the finale of ‘Nobody Left To Blame’, but for the most part, things are kept acoustic.

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There are some of the classics present of course – the magnificent ‘Take Cover’ and groovy ‘Voodoo Kiss’ are performed, as well as the obvious inclusion of ‘To Be With You’. What makes it even better is the band includes a string section for the last four songs, one of which is the aforementioned hit ballad. It works superbly with this added dimension and is one of the best renditions of the song I’ve heard.

Any fan of Mr. Big knows they will get a good performance from the band, but this is more than just an unplugged record – this is an invigorated reformation, keen to air new material and add something to the old stuff. It’s excellent, and let’s hope for more!

James Gaden

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