DE MEESTER, ALMERE, HOLLAND
16th November 2013
Eric Martin is best known for his role as frontman for Mr Big but also has a large body of solo work and has even been fleshing out his metal credentials working with Avantasia recently. On a recent trip to Holland I spotted he was playing an acoustic show in a club in Almere so I made a wee detour to check it out.
De Meester is yet another of these small new looking venues you find all over this country. On entering I enjoyed the free drink you get with your ticket (nice touch!) while checking out the empty stage where Mr Martin obviously wanted to feel at home as it looked like a living room with standing lamps and comfy chairs!
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Wandering on stage in front of a small crowd of what were mostly Mr Big fans the evenings entertainment started with Mr Martin playing low key acoustic renditions of lesser known Mr Big tunes 'Where Do I Fit In?' and 'Water Over The Bridge' setting the pattern for the night. Most of the set was drawn from the Mr Big back catologue some explained to the audience, others just fired away back to back.
There was a crowd singalong arrangement of 'Shine' and a local guitarist joined him on stage to fill out the sound for 'Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy' which was one of the better songs of the night.
A lot of the crowd seemed to know the songs and sing along, obviously more successfully on the more famous tunes like 'Wild World' and 'To Be With You' (a song he wrote for a girl when he was 16 and he still didn't get her!) but the American host for the evening didn't think the crowd were responsive enough and he frankly has a strange sense of humour which didn't help. He and the crowd struggled to reach a rapport in a slightly strained atmosphere at times.
Eric Martin still has a great voice and plenty of talent though and there were some great musical highlights such as an impromptu version of his solo song 'Sucker For A Pretty Face' where when he forgot the lyrics he sang them in French instead hoping we wouldn't notice and a cracking cover of old standard 'I Just Want To Make Love To You' as well as the aforementioned Mr Big classics.
However overall there was just a little something lacking in this performance so it was no surprise that after finishing with another old standard in 'Crossroads' he left the stage to warm applause but did not return for an encore.
An interesting night overall but maybe a little underwhelming for me. I expected more but maybe I didn't realise how low key it was supposed to be. There wasn't even a merch booth!