Having seen Magnum more times than I care to remember, they never fail to hit the spot, and for tonight’s gig at, The Holmfirth Picturedrome, the crowd are packed in like sardines, the place is rammed, Magnum are back, stronger than ever, no doubt helped by Magnum’s latest and nineteenth studio album, ‘Sacred Blood Divine Lies’ which has been being hailed as one of their strongest so far in a successful but chequered career going back to the 1970’s.
But first up with have the support band, Vega. The Frontiers signed British rock band who have just released their fourth album delivered a kick ass set, far better than when I saw them last, at the HRHAOR festival back in March 2015. Nick Workman on vox delivers a charismatic performance and with songs as good as ‘Kiss Of Life’, ‘What The Hell’ ‘Stereo Messiah’ and “Saving Grace” it is no surprise that the crowd lapped up every minute of it.
As the lights dim, a single white spotlight picked out the charismatic white denim suited Bob Catley, as he took to the stage. He was greeted like a long lost friend, the roar from the sell-out crowd was defining, but also very welcoming.
Kicking the night off with Soldier Of The Line, Magnum took to the stage and delivered a storming opening salvo, On a Storyteller’s Night, Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies and Freedom Day.
The new tracks easily fitted into an already classic set list with ease, latest video single ‘Crazy Old Mother’ had the crowd singing the chorus back to Bob without him even asking. Surely the mark of a great band with great fans.
‘Blood Red Laughter’ taken from ‘On The 13 Day’ sounds bigger and brighter than it does on the record, while ‘Your Dreams Won’t Die’ is a great live ballad.
The new album Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies features heavily in tonight’s set, and there is a very good reason why it should do so, it is quite simply one the bands best releases. I did note that out of tonight’s 17 song set list, 9 are taken from the bands last four albums, tantamount to Magnums conviction of their newer stuff. However no matter how good the new stuff is, people do take an awful long time to convert them into “classics”, and Magnum are not short on classics.
Tonight’s biggest cheers are reserved for these songs, ‘How Far Jerusalem’ allows us the chance to listen to Tony Clarkin’s mastery of the guitar, such a criminally underrated player, it’s great to see Tony take centre stage while Bob takes a breather during the instrumental passage, the superb ‘Les Morts Dansant’, such an mournful and thought provoking song that to see all the “lighters” ( for lighters, now read Phones ) in the air is very moving indeed.
The thunderous ‘All England’s Eyes’ grabs everybody attention and its clear that Magnum have a winning formula with the “new blood” of Al Barrow and Harry James. Harry’s tub thumping is as strong as ever and Al barrow’s bass playing and strong backing vocals adds another layer to the band.
After a superb rendition of ‘Princess In Rags’, ‘Vigilante’ nearly brings the house down, this is still my second favourite Magnum song after all these years,( ‘lion being my number 1 ) Mark Stanway’s keyboard work on this song is just awesome, I just hope they keep touring and keep playing it.
The stage goes dark, and Magnum leave the stage to shouts of More, more, more, as the shouts turn to chants of Magnum, Magnum, Magnum they return to the stage and Bobs sits on the end of Harrys drum riser, with Al and Tony seated either side before Tony starts an almost Blackmores Night style medieval introduction to what is to become ‘The Spirit’. The final song for tonight is another song that has grown in style and substance over the years, Kingdom of Madness.
The 17 song set list is criminally too short for a band with this much music, and I know they can’t please everybody, so include ‘Don’t Wake The Lion’ on the next tour and just please me.
1.Soldier Of The Line
2. On A Storytellers Night
3. Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies
4. Freedom Day
5. Dance Of The Black Tattoo
6. Crazy Old Mothers
7. Blood Red Laughter
8. Your Dreams Won’t Die
9. How Far Jerusalem
10. Unwritten Sacrifice
11. Twelve Men Wise & Just
12. Les Morts Dansant
13. All England’s Eyes
14.Princess In Rags (The Cult)
16. The Spirit
17. Kingdom of Madness.