Home / Opinion / Event Reviews / Magnum – Islington assembly hall, London – 9th March 2018

Magnum – Islington assembly hall, London – 9th March 2018

The night kicked off with Rebecca Downes, a blues-rock singer with a fairly powerful voice. She sang the first song while her band played, but after that she strapped on a guitar and played as well as singing. The set tonight included “Believe”, the title track of her last studio album (from 2016) and she ended the set with a cover of the Beatles hit “I get by with a little help from my friends”. I enjoyed her set, but I wasn’t blown away by it.

Following the release of their 20th studio album, “Lost on the road to eternity”, Magnum are on tour around the UK. It’s forty years since the release of their debut album, and the two original members, Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin are getting on in years (70 and 71 years old respectively), but watching them tonight you wouldn’t know it at all – you’d think they were at least 20 years younger from their performances.
The setlist tonight is nicely balanced – enough songs (four of them) from the new album to showcase it, but with plenty of classics from their back catalogue to make sure nobody leaves disappointed. I’m not saying the new material is disappointing (quite the opposite), but no matter how strong the new album is, fans would feel cheated if Magnum didnt include songs such as “Vigilante” and “How far Jerusalem” in the set, so the set tonight gives a good balance of old and new.
They kick the set off with “When we were younger” from the 2007 album “Princess Alice and the broken arrow” before moving to the title track from their last album (Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies) and then coming right up to date with the title track of the brand new album. The first half of the set sticks to songs from the last ten years of so of their catalogue before venturing all the way back to 1985’s “How far Jerusalem” and starting to explore the older material a bit more.

It’s clear that whether it’s old or new material, the fans love it and they really seemt o be enjoying tonight’s set. When Bob Catley waves his arms to get the fans involved the audience is a sea of people waving their arms in time to the music – Bob Catley is such a good frontman he makes it look simple (when it really isnt). The question some people will have though is “how is his voice?”. At 70 years old you can’t expect it to be as perfect as it was 40 years ago and reports from other shows in the last year or so suggest it’s slightly more variable than it used to be, but tonight it still sounds great.
It’s a great set that I thoroughly enjoyed, and judging by the audience reaction then I think everyone there left happy at the end of the night.

When We Were Younger
Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies
Lost on the Road to Eternity
Crazy Old Mothers
Without Love
Your Dreams Won’t Die
Peaches and Cream
How Far Jerusalem
Les Morts Dansant
Show Me Your Hands
Twelve Men Wise and Just
All England’s Eyes
Vigilante
Don’t Wake the Lion (Too Old to Die Young)

Encore:
The Spirit
When the World Comes Down

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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