This is Magnums 9th live album and is a fitting reminder of just how good last year’s studio release ‘Escape from the Shadow Garden’ is. If you missed the supporting tour then this is as faithful a reproduction as you are going to get, my venue on that tour was 53Degrees in Preston, but the less said about that venue the better.
The first 6 tracks are taken from Magnum’s last three Studio albums, opening with ‘Live till you die’ a modern classic Magnum song in the making. The opening riff to The Visitation’s ‘Black Skies’ gives the band a edger sound, Bob is sounding as good if not better than ever and what can you say about Tony Clarkin, the man is a genius.
‘Freedom Day’ and ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’ are defining Magnums new heavier sound and the band aren’t afraid to play them live with both five string bass player Al Barrow and drummer Harry James delivery a power house of a rhythm section. Pianist Mark Stanway’s playing is as fluid and complementary as ever especially on ‘Freedom Day’ the interplay between Tony and Mark is just sublime, a joy to watch and a pleasure to listen to.
‘Blood Red Laughter’ is another strong track and deserves a place at the live table as well as the slow burning ‘Unwritten sacrifice’.
The second half of the set see’s Magnum delivery the classics, but there are so many of them it must be hard to choose the set list.
We get the mighty ‘How far Jerusalem’ the astonishingly moving ‘Les morts dasant’, the unexpected ‘Falling from the big plan’ as it’s taken from the Escape album, then it’s back to the classic’s with the anthemic ‘All England’s eyes’ and the uber catchy “Vigilante”.
‘Kingdom of madness’, off course, rounds the set and the night off. My only critisim is that the running time and the gig is a little on the short side, another couple of tracks, both favourites of mine ‘Don’t wake the lion’ which hasnt been played live since 2010, or ‘Midnight’ has’nt been played since 2008, or countless other songs would have made a wonderful gig and disc. Still, can’t wait for the next tour.
I have seen Magnum live many many times over the years and they never fail to impress, and this live release is no different, it is worthy of a place in your record collection
01.Live till you die
04.Dance of the black tattoo
05.Blood red laughter
07.How far Jerusalem
08.Les morts dasant
09.Falling from the big plan
10.All England’s eyes
12.Kingdom of madness