Nearing the end of the UK leg of their “Divine” Lies tour Magnum have arrived in Glasgow in support of their new album Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies. Their first studio album was released way back in 1978, and I think I started listening to the band while I was still in high school. I think the first album I picked up of theirs was On a Storyteller’s Night, yet this will be the first time I have seen them live. I lost track of them a bit after Wings of Heaven but have been rediscovering them again in recent years. Their last few albums have been especially strong so I was looking forward to not only the classic tracks but also seeing how the new material came across live.
First up tonight is the UK’s very own melodic rock, and 80’s inspired, six piece: Vega. For many support bands playing Glasgow mid-week the best they might hope for is a half filled hall of semi-interested fans who really only came along to see the headline band. Vega have managed to buck the trend here however and have an almost full hall who have made the effort and turned out to see them. While the band look slightly cramped, part of the stage is taken over by Magnum’s drum kit and gear, they make the best of the space they have and as always in the Garage the sound is pristine.
Singer Nick Workman reminds me of a young Joe Eliott for some reason, perhaps it’s his vocals, looks, or mannerisms, whatever it is he has captivated many in the crowd tonight with his emotional delivery and faultless vocals. The band, who now have four critically acclaimed albums under their belts, manage to fit something from each of their albums into their set but the majority comes from their latest offering Who We Are. The highlight of the set for me is probably the upbeat AOR anthem “Wherever We Are” with its incredibly catchy chorus. The band finish their set with “Saving Grace” from the last album. Nick has the crowd clapping along and even manages a Freddy Mercury style call and response sing-along. I’m sure the band left the stage tonight gaining quite a few more new fans. If you’re going along to see Magnum on this tour make sure you turn up early to see these guys and give them your support.
2. Gonna Need Some Love Tonight
3. Kiss of Life
4. Every Little Monster
5. Stereo Messiah
6. All or Nothing
7. What the Hell
8. White Flag
9. Wherever We Are
10. Saving Grace
While the hall was pretty full for Vega a few more fans have managed to squeeze in for headliner Magnum’s appearance, the majority of whom look like long time faithfull Magnum’ites (if that’s a word) who have followed them down through the years.
As the lights dim, and the short intro finishes, the band kick off with the classic “Soldier of the Line” from the 1982 album Chase the Dragon which is greeted with an eruption of cheering from a crowd who could probably have sang this word for word without the help of Mr Catley.
Tony Clarkin’s guitar tone, through what looks like a Marshall JCM800 sounds amazing. While bass player Al Barrow grins and bops around the entire set, Tony is the absolute antithesis with a look of determined concentration on his face as churns out those guitar riffs we all know and love. Bob, dressed in white denim and standing out from the other guys in black, may be getting on in years but he’s still pretty nimble on his feet and while his voice may not be quite as strong as it was in his earlier years he still sounds great. Even at 68 years of age he still manages to flirt with some of the girls at the front of the stage who seemed to be loving it.
If I had any reservations about whether Magnum could still cut it live nearly fourty years after their debut album they were gone in an instant. Bob had the crowd clapping along right from the off. The band follow on from their opener with “On a Storyteller’s Night” reminding everyone just how many great rock tracks these guys have written.
The majority of songs however come from their critically acclaimed new release which fit very well amongst the older material. While the fans in here tonight aren’t quite as familiar with the new songs they are still very well received. The band have nineteen studio albums to date but many of the rest of the songs tonight come from their classic 1985 album On a Storyteller’s Night with smattering from some of their other works.
The highlight of the set for me, which actually gave me goosebumps, was “How Far Jerusalem”. It’s great to hear these older tracks and they took me straight back to my teenage years. It also seemed to be a favourite of the audience here who sang their hearts out along with Bob. Mark Stanway, who is almost out of sight behind his Kawai MP7 and MP8 keyboards, sounded great on this one.
It’s a fairly stripped back stage show this evening, not even a backdrop, just a smoke machine providing a bit of atmosphere and a couple of vertical smoke machines blowing jets into the air but it works very well. Bob also doesn’t spend a lot of time chatting between songs but it’s really the music that does the talking tonight and that’s what we’re all here for.
“Kingdom of Madness” finishes off the set and bassist Al Barrow looks visibly shocked at the volume of the crowd singing along with the chorus.
Great gig and I only wished I’d managed to catch the band live years ago. I’ve really been missing out. There was a guy just a couple of rows in front of me who never stopped smiling throughout the entire set which I think really sums up the show tonight. Great fun and a great mid week pick me up. Outstanding.
1. Soldier of the Line
2. On a Storyteller’s 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 and Just
12. Les Morts Dansant
13. All England’s Eyes
14. Princess in Rags (The Cult)
16. The Spirit
17. Kingdom of Madness
All photos by Gary Cooper. Full sets coming soon.