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Tivoli, Buckley, 12 April 2011
by Steve Goudie
start of the band's UK tour, GRTR!'s Managing Editor David Randall
reveals a darker past ... and nothing to do with the Tivoli's interior
I have to
admit in the 1990s I was obsessed with Magnum. A second generation fan,
there was something about their music and perhaps their grunge decade
plight that appealed. It saw them playing in venues like the Tivoli an
old picturehouse in Buckley, North Wales but I followed them further, to
festivals and to Birmingham Town Hall where they filmed a gig for
Now 20 years
later the band returned to the "Tiv" at the start of the UK leg of their
European tour. And bizarrely it was almost as if time, and Tony
Clarkin's hair loss, had stood still. Whilst I am smug that I saw the
classic line-up in the early 1990s before they imploded, the fact is
the current band has being going almost as long with bassist Al
Barrow part of the Magnum-lite Hard Rain configuration and Harry James
on drums joining them soon after.
During the 1990s, GRTR!'s Managing Editor mercilessly stalked Magnum, but
in a nice way (at least that's what he tells us).
Almost 17 years to the
day the band return to the Tivoli.
fresh-faced Bob Catley in the Tiv; Randall forced him to hold a
recently-acquired copy of the band's debut single.
2012 will be a bit special for the band and they'll celebrate their 40th
anniversary in style but for now there's a new album to promote, the
generally well-received 'The
I'm not sure
if my repeated Magnum gigs, two decades ago, were as much about the song
'Vigilante' as anything else. Here it is the lynchpin of a fine setlist
and still stands proud as one of the finest heavy rock wig-outs…ever.
Vigilante's ascendancy should not obscure a fair number of more recent
tracks tonight showing that the band - and Tony Clarkin in particular -
has never lost a way with a good melody and infectious riff. From "Into
the Valley of the Moon King' we got 'All My Bridges' and 'The Moon
King'. And 'Brand New Morning' from the band's 2004 album of that name
was simply superb.
to the sense of history theme, I probably like Magnum for all the wrong
reasons; well at least different ones than the Storyteller's
So I actually like albums like 'Goodnight LA'
when they flirted with American AOR sheen and its successor the
excellent 'Sleepwalking' which
included the wonderful 'Stormy Weather'. Sadly, although perhaps
unsurprisingly, both these albums were missed out tonight along with the
excellent 'Rock Art' (1994). In truth, a few curveballs in this
direction wouldn't have gone amiss.
there's Bob Catley, as ever the genial frontman whose voice is in fine
fettle and whose gesticulations provide a visual foil to Clarkin's
lyrics which frequently touch on injustice or war. "'Freedom Day' from
the new album was particularly impressive tonight.
With a final
salvo of 'Kingdom of Madness' and 'Storyteller's Night' (both
highlighting Mark Stanway's consistently excellent keys), Magnum are
sounding more majestic, and magnificent, than ever.
Back to Earth/ When We Were Younger/ Wild Angels/ Brand New Morning/
Mother Nature's Final Dance/
How Far Jerusalem/ Spin Like a Wheel/ The Moonking/ Freedom Day/ Les
Morts Dansant/ Black Skies/ All My Bridges/ All England's Eyes/
Vigilante/ Kingdom Of Madness/ Encore: Midnight Kings/ On A Storyteller's Night
Check out an
interview with Tony Clarkin (2009) in our radio podcast section
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