Not much more than you’d expect

In this decade, it’s not easy for Mr Big to find an audience.

They are a classic hard rock band but – thanks mainly to “To Be With You” – considered a little too wussy to inspire the sort of loyalty that Iron Maiden or even the likes of Kix enjoy. They’re virtuoso musicians who seem to give almost as many clinics as gigs, but too commercial to attract the same acolytes who fawn over Satriani and Vai.

Where else for a musical square peg than the proverbial square hole that is Japan? That’s where this thoroughly enjoyable live acoustic album was recorded. Even massive Japanese crowds have been known to merely applaud politely after being treated to fireworks, strippers, blood and fake beheadings so one might be concerned that an album with a title like that might have little more than muted tittering between songs, but actually the boys manage to inspire a fair racket from their audience.

This isn’t much more than you’d expect: breath-taking unplugged chops from Billy Sheehan, Paul Gilbert and Pat Torpey on the likes of “Still Ain’t Enough For Me”, “Voodoo Kiss” and, inevitably, “To Be With You”.

But it’s also a reinforcement of just how good 2011’s What If… opus was – and perhaps a second attempt to get more attention for it. Mr Big were supposed to do a full US tour in support of that album but didn’t, presumably because of poor sales. “Undertow”, “Stranger In My Life”, “Still Ain’t Enough For Me”, “Around The World” and “As Far As I Can See” are all here and lose nothing from being stripped back.

If you’re sick of death metal growls and shredding guitar and looking for something fresh and accomplished to listen to on an upcoming weekend drive, this is the record for you.

1. Undertow
2. Still Ain’t Enough for Me
3. As Far As I Can See
4. Voodoo Kiss
5. Take Cover
6. Around the World
7. Stranger in My Life
8. All the Way Up
9. To Be With You
10. Nobody Left to Blame