Going to São Paulo is always nice. Visiting my local friends and breathing the rock atmosphere that city exhales doesn't have a price. This time was even more special. I was there to meet fellow MetalTalk.net writer, Chris Dale, a friend of mine who I hadn't seen for four or five years and on top of that I'd see Jorn Lande and Mr Big on the very same evening.
It was a very cold (for Brazilians from sunny Rio, that is!) night on a Saturday holiday in Sao Paulo, but there was a very hot place in the city: HSBC Brazil. The reason for this was the return, after 13 years, of Mr. Big to Brazilian territory, causing the cold to be forgotten in a sold out venue of about 5,000 people.
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As announced, at 9pm Norwegian singer Jorn Lande went onstage to open the night. Owner of a beautiful and powerful voice, the musician came to Brazil with his solo band to play some of their successes.
The public, respected Jorn and even clapped their hands together a few times, but they made it clear since the beginning that they were there to see the main attraction of the night: Mr. Big. Not even when Jorn played one of his biggest successes, "We Brought the Angels Down", the crowd was excited. It was a shame, because it was technically a very good show and Jorn is very talented, but I guess Mr Big's audience is not the type of fans who like Jorn's music.
Jorn's gig lasted 1h30min (a bit long for a opening act) and, except for some rare moments, only when the band returned for the encore the audience sang along with him when he played Dio's "Rainbow In The Dark". Before that, he also played the beautiful "Song For Ronnie James," written by him and dedicated to Dio.
At 11pm, Mr. Big stepped on stage to the sound of "Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy" and guitarist Paul Gilbert and bassist Billy Sheehan had adapted drills with them working as picks to play the solo. The circus was set and the fun was just beginning.
With the initial guitar riffs of the second song of the night, "Green-Tinted Sixties Mind", the audience was already on their hands and jumped a lot and seemed to compensate the time standing during the presentation of Jorn Lande's band.
Even the songs from their newest album were on the tip of the tongue of the audience, who came from different places of Brazil. The fact that there were only two shows booked for Brazil (Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre), caused many to travel from all over the country to sell out HSBC Brazil.
While new songs like "Undertow" and "Once Upon A Time" were even heavier live, the classic "Take Cover" and "Road To Ruin" showed how Mr. Big really knows how to write Hard Rock songs and how extremely mingled on stage they are. The group's musical skills are incredible and left most of us speechless that night: Pat masters his drums with talent, Eric occupies all the spaces of the stage, interacting with the audience and demonstrates good vocal skills even in the songs that require a bit more of his voice.
It's hard to find words to define the interaction between bassist Billy Sheehan and guitarist Paul Gilbert. Undoubtedly, the two were able to provide unforgettable moments for those present. Moments that will make most of us check YouTube every now and then just to check if we weren't dreaming that night.
The song which was the most expected of the night came after the encore: "To Be With You", followed right after by "Colorado Bulldog" a song with very interesting bass lines by Billy Sheehan. To close a perfect night, there was another one of those unforgettable moments. "Smoke On The Water," Deep Purple's cover, was performed with some exchange of roles on stage. Paul went to the drums, Pat was on the bass bass, Eric on the guitar and Billy appeared on stage wearing a Brazilian football shirt to take on the lead vocals. In the middle of the song, there was another exchange of instruments and Eric picked up the bass, Billy the guitar and Pat the microphone. Very funny moment! They managed to make a cliché not a cliché at all!
In the end, "Shy Boy", a cover of TALAS, the first band of bassist Billy Sheehan, was played to close this incredible show at 1am.