CD Review: Mr. Big – Live From The Living Room

Mr. Big, Live From The Living Room

Combine four of the most talented rock musicians and you get one very big band. Ahem… A band so big, you’d have to call it Mister! But, Mr. Big is one band that never really made it all that large in the grand scheme of things. They had a number one Billboard Top 100 hit on their second album in 1991, but that’s about it.

Fast forward about 20 years, seven albums and a dozen live albums later and you get the first ever acoustic performance of the one band that could honestly pull off an unplugged CD with little effort. The result, as good as it musically sounds, sadly ends up falling a bit flat.
Live From The Living Room suffers from being an acoustic album mostly based on the band’s last studio album What If…, so the songs are an unbalanced representation of what really should be heard in acoustic form for such a monumental recording.
Let’s face it, Mr. Big hasn’t charted an album in the US since 1993’s Bump Ahead, so the idea that material from the band’s first three albums is only represented by To Be With You and Voodoo Kiss means that this album is really only for fans of the last album.
The band’s performance is really good and Eric Martin’s voice is still as cool as ever, but there just seems to be something missing from making this a classic acoustic album like Tesla’s Five Man Acoustical Jam.
The difference might be that Mr. Big took too long in its career to make this album. So by waiting so long and using mostly newer material, casual fans and rockers looking for that spark from the past get lost in a blur of unrecognizable material. And an acoustic version of To Be With You, no matter how good or bad it might be, is not enough.
I’ve always wanted to hear something super cool come out of Mr. Big. During the height of their career in 1991, I spent months trying to locate as much old and out-of-print Eric Martin, Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan records as I could find. And there are songs on their past records that I remember more than I remember most Mr. Big material – minus the Lean Into It album (who doesn’t like Green Tinted Sixties Mind?).
But in the end, Mr. Big never became the band I had hoped for and the acoustic album will be forgotten relatively easy.