Live Review : Eric Martin + Rob Wheeler @ Eleven, Stoke-On-Trent on October 30th 2018

Rob Wheeler appeared on stage for his acoustic set to an excited crowd no doubt waiting to see the local lad perform. Rob was accompanied on stage for his 9 songs set by Stephen Tams on keyboards & Elizabeth Birks on backing vocals, he played a mixture of songs from his debut album 'Little Ghosts Full Of Songs' from last year & his new album 'Luxury of Time' that will be released early next year. Personally I am always a fan of acoustic sets, simple stripped down music that is easy on the ears & gives you a chance to absorb the lyrics while the song is being played, Rob & his band members did not disappoint, each song was warmly received by the ever growing crowd.

Mr Big frontman brought his solo set to Stoke on the final date of a UK tour with support on stage from good friend David Cotterill and excellent guitarist from the rock band Demon. Although Eric isn’t in the usual setup we are accustomed to with Mr Big tonight, the two musicians complemented each other perfectly in harmony, seamlessly knocking out tune after tune with a rather lengthy but relaxed acoustic set with no less than 17 songs comprised mainly of Mr Big songs.

Despite being 57, Eric Martin remains ageless, demonstrating boundless energy in his performance. The glass of red wine left by his side on that stage may have helped during the stripped down gig may I would like to think that Eric is just one of those gifted vocalist and more than capable guitarist.

'Take Cover', one of the most emotional songs of the evening was a tribute to late Mr Big drummer Pat Torpey which was extremely well received and respected by the crowd. The usual crowd-pleaser, ‘Superfantastic’ and ‘Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy’ get the crowd joining in. Eric wraps up the evening with ‘Green Tinted Sixties Mind’ before heading to Sweden and the USA.

Words by Kevin Phillips
Photography by Jude Hadfield