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BOB CATLEY/Danny Vaughn
London, Underworld,Camden 30 May 2003
Quite a group (around a dozen) of us die-hard Magnum fans in
attendance for this one, including our Magnum discussion list
founder, Mike, who was amazingly at his first ever Magnum / Bob C
gig - he is American, in the US forces, and has just begun a 3 year
tour in the UK - so the anticipation was high in the World's End pub
before hand, with the band to keep us company, and Bob's latest
songwriter (keyboard player Paul Hodson) managing to remain extremely
modest in the face of the rave reviews the album (When Empire's Burn)
has been getting.
So, into the leaky, creaky Underworld we go, to join a good sized
crowd for the venue (about the same number as John Wetton pulled in
earlier in the year). Danny Vaughn first up and he played a pretty
good set of acoustic material - I'm not familiar with his solo works,
so couldn't really get into it played acoustically until the last
track of the set, which was Tyketto's `Forever Young', and was
excellent. Mid way through he had a little dig at Aerosmith, seeming
to suggest that their `Hangman Jury' from the `Permanent Vacation'
album wasn't quite as original as had been made out, and proceeding
to play a very similar sounding track.
Then the main event of the evening - Bob & band came on in darkness to
the strains of `The Torment' on tape, fired up into `Children Of The
Circle', and remained in darkness for about 30-40 seconds until
someone found the switch for the stage lighting. This song
immediately lets you know that the new album is a change in
direction, with a harder edged rock sound, whilst still retaining the
character and expression in Bob's vocals. Another new song, `This Is
The Day' followed, and it became clear that playing together in the
studio has really helped this band on stage - they are now so tight,
and really interact well together. Vince O'Regan's guitar solos are
now unmistakably his own, rather than trying to emulate a Vinny Burns
Photography by Martin Kessel
We then sojourned into `Middle Earth' for the majestic (pun
intended) `Return of the Mountain King' and `Stormcrow & Pilgrim'
before returning for the title track of the new album. The opening
two tracks of Bob's solo career then followed, `Dreams' and `Scream',
and are clearly still firm favourites with band and fans alike. The
fourth new song of the eight played so far, `I'll Be Your Fool',
shows that Bob is really happy with this album and believes it can
stand up well against the Gary Hughes penned material (and he's
right), before going back to the first collaboration with Mr. Hughes
and `Far Away'.
Then came the moment that always gets the crowd bouncing at a Bob gig
(although quite a lot of us already were) - a couple of Magnum
songs, `Start Talking Love' and `Lonely Night', the latter featuring
a return to the stage of Danny Vaughn to lend his six strings and
vocal chords to the effort. Nicely done all round, but then came the
shock of the evening - new track `My America', probably unheard by
quite a few of those there before this moment, gained an equally
exuberant crowd reaction as the Magnum songs. Well done Paul Hodson,
this one is probably a dead cert for every Bob Catley live show from
now until the end of time. Off they went for a couple of minutes
before returning with `The Pain' - the only inclusion from
the `Legends' album on this tour, and the now traditional
closers `Fear Of The Dark' and an excerpt from `Madrigal'.
Top performance all round, 110% effort from Bob and the band as
usual, not forgetting the phenomenal efforts of Annie Minion on the
merchandise stand as always.
The Bullingdon, Oxford (31 May 2003)
Not much to add as set list identical to the previous night. The
Bullingdon is a pub with a back room for music, and an even smaller
stage than the Underworld. Paul's keyboards were perched right on the
edge, and he was a bit worried about falling off, especially as it
was so high (2ft is a long way to a little guy). Full marks on the
night to Danny Vaughn, as the air conditioning was off during his set
and the conditions were not far from tropical. He carried on
regardless and played his full set, but must have come off a few
Photography by Martin Kessel
De-hydration was not a problem for Vince though, as it became clear
that his more vigorous face pulling towards the end was not an
attempt to mimic Bob, but rather an intense need to part company with
some of the liquid refreshment he had enjoyed earlier. You can
imagine his glee when Bob decided they wouldn't leave the stage
between main set and encore, and a pained cry of "will you f***ing
hurry up" when Bob was introducing the band at the end was followed
by a Vince shaped blur heading off stage.
`My America' once again received a fantastic response from those
present, and Danny Vaughn had obviously recovered enough from his
ordeal to once again join an already crowded stage area for `Lonely
Night'. Another interesting moment was Al standing behind Bob and
perfectly imitating his hand gestures as he introduced `Stormcrow &
Pilgrim', which earned him a laugh from the crowd and a curse from
Once again, all were as sociable before and after the gig as always.
The UK tour is now over, but a European tour is being planned for
later in the year, so if there's a show in your area - check it out!
Bob Catley - Vocals, expansive arm waving, and Olympic class gurning.
Vince O'Regan - Guitars, backing vocals, clowning around, and general
Al Barrow - Bass, backing vocals, short (yes, short) hair, and crowd
Paul Hodson - keyboards, backing vocals, song writing, and still
sobering up from Wolves' playoff win.
Jamie Little - Drums and generally encouraging Vince to make a fool
Intro (The Torment)
Children Of The Circle
This Is The Day
Hall Of The Mountain King
Stormcrow & Pilgrim
When Empires Burn
I'll Be Your Fool
Start Talking Love
Fear Of The Dark
Excerpt from Madrigal
Text © 2003 Ian Pollard