Last month, I picked “To be with you” at karaoke and failed miserably – the backing track did not, in any way, resemble the song that I know and love so well. A sad little me posted a link to the video on
A dear old friend posted a comment, saying that they were doing a one-off gig in London to promote their new album. Now, I have loved MR. BIG since I was sixteen years old but in those days, didn’t have the money to go to a gig. It didn’t take much thinking about!
So for four weeks, everyone has had to put up with me having little bursts of excitement and I wasn’t disappointed. The excitement kept coming through in bubbles throughout yesterday: when I was getting ready, when I got in lane for the A3, when I was 20 miles from London, when I parked, when I waited for S at the station, as we got back on the Tube to go to the gig and when we were waiting for them to hit the stage.
As I drove past the venue, I spotted a turning with a big parking sign, took it and then, despite the fact that I normally carry on going if the signage does not direct me otherwise, I turned right. I stopped in what I thought was a residents only bay to gather my wits – I had just driven through the centre of London Town! – and spotted a sign saying “To pay for parking, call this number (I can’t remember the number) quoting this location (another number). I called and paid for two hours, sorted my bag out and when I looked up, a Parking Warden and two other drivers had appeared around my car and seemed to be engaged in a slightly heated debate. When I got out, the Parking Warden asked me if I had done it. When I replied in the affirmative, he asked me how so I told him that I had called the number on the sign. The two gentlemen settled down immediately and asked me what they needed to do. As they moved off to make their calls, I asked him what to do after my two hours was up and he told me that in 1h 45, parking was free! Result! I went around the corner and found that my suspicions were correct, I was right behind the venue!
As I rounded the corner, I was surprised to find that although it wasn’t yet 17:00 (doors at 18:00) there was a queue around the block. I spotted the “Underground” sign across the road and made my way to Euston and waited for my friend. It was almost six years since we last saw each other but as soon as he arrived, the years disappeared.
We had dinner at Roti King and the food was fan-flippin-tastic! It was a tiny cellar kitchen, with too many tables in the space and very basic but it was the very best food. I have eaten in lovely restaurants that show tremendous promise but the food has left me disappointed – I would rather eat good food in poor surroundings!
We headed back to the Tube and travelled the two stops to Camden but when we reached the surface, I was confused, the venue was nowhere to be seen! We tried the other exit, still no sign of the venue. Technology came to the rescue, we were an eight minute walk away – I had got on at Mornington Crescent, I just hadn’t realised.
A big Yorkshire man in a grey sports coat was chatting to us and he said, “So, the new drummer. What’s the scoop?” S replied with: “Parkinson’s” The chap was clearly embarrassed and a little unsure of how to respond, managed a “Tragic” and then toddled off to his friends.
The space that we’d picked was fine until more people crammed in and we ended up squashed up to a table with people constantly walking back and forth in front of us so we went on an expedition to find a better spot and at the very top tier, found the perfect one, with comfy seats and a view all the way over everybody’s heads. I could see the fabulous bas-god that is Mr. Billy Sheehan all the way through, including the drill section in Daddy, Brother, Lover and Little Boy! It was absolute bliss. Matt Starr, the session drummer that had been seconded in to cover for Pat was phenomenal and his kit was to die for.
When Pat appeared on the stage, we were surprised. He had a little chat with the audience whilst acoustic guitars were brought on and he looked a little fragile but was obviously over-the-moon at being on stage with the band again, albeit with a tambourine in hand. To my delight, they performed “Wild World”, I love their version of that song and it is one of only a few that I hear a certain quality in Eric’s voice that I absolutely adore. At the end, Eric asked Pat if he would do a little drumming for them and as I sang along to “Just Take My Heart” I was watching Pat intently and found myself crying. It was so magical to see him drumming. He carried on during the next song – one from the new album – before taking his bows.
He re-appeared later and alternated between his tambourine and a set of cymbals until the band did a big swap and he took lead vocal, Paul Gilbert (guitar-god) took to the drums, Eric took the bass, Billy lead guitar and Matt a spare mic and air guitar. It was most impressive!
Because there was an early curfew (we assume because of the residential area close by), the band didn’t take a break so it was two hours of solid music. Mr Sheehan and Mr Gilbert each taking a turn at a solo to give the rest of the band a couple of minutes and several absolutely stunning bass/guitar sections with just the tow of them doing what they do best – what a treat to be able to see that live!
The band are looking great with their stylish haircuts (except for Billy – but his hair was somewhat more grey and tied back) but that’s just my opinion, I was never a fan of the poodle man look. Eric can still wail, and of course, Paul and Billy are as amazing as ever.
The gig was just the right mix of old and new and they finished with a resounding cover of MR. BIG before taking their bows, arm in arm as only the best of friends could. The boys made Matt join them for those bows but made Pat their champion. He was, without a shadow of a doubt, the star of the show and was still taking his bows long after everyone else.
That ranks as one of the best gigs I have ever been to.
We had a drink an a chat outside a nearby pub and went our separate ways. It took me two hours to get out of London, traffic was horrendous and that threw me, it’s normally a dream to drive through the city late at night. I crashed into bed at about 02:30, still buzzing from a brilliant night.