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Written by Michael Anthony   
Sunday, 15 December 2013 04:00

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Magnum - 'Live in Concert' (Wienerworld)

This ‘new’ release from Wienerworld features Magnum live at Birmingham Town Hall in December 1992, when Wally Lowe (bass) and Mickey Barker (drums) were still in the band and ‘Sleepwalking’ was the current album. The longstanding triumvirate of Tony Clarkin (guitar), Bob Catley (vocals), and Mark Stanway (keyboards) complete the line-up, with Mo Birch (Mark’s wife), guesting on backing vocals.
It all looks and sounds pretty good to me. Great songs, strong performances, nice crisp picture quality, interesting and varied camera shots, and an audience that is both engaged and appreciative. My only word of warning to fans and collectors is that this seems to be a re-packaged and possibly extended version of concert footage that’s been previously available in other guises. A quick bit of research threw up at least two earlier versions, ‘Rocking the World’ and ‘Live at magnumwienerworlddvdBirmingham’ both of which run to 60 minutes. This Wienerworld version has a running time of 98 minutes.


Personally, I always liked the ‘Sleepwalking’ album, though sales suffered from the rebound emotions of those who bought ‘Goodnight L.A.’ and thought (rightly or wrongly) that the band had sacrificed their British edge, and from the lack of a major label promotion budget. Consequently, it’s great to see and hear ‘You’re the One’, ‘Stormy Weather’ and ‘Only in America’ featured here, with ‘The Flood’ provided (along with ‘The Spirit’) as an audio-only bonus track.


Elsewhere, you’ll find many of the usual suspects – ‘All England’s Eyes’, ‘Vigilante’, ‘Pray for the Day’, ‘Les Morts Dansant’, ‘On a Storyteller’s Night’, ‘How Far Jerusalem’, ‘Days of No Trust’, ‘Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping)’, ‘The Last Dance’, ‘Sacred Hour’, ‘When the World Comes Down’ – as the band deliver a convincing ‘best of’ set drawn from what was, in 1992, already a rich back catalogue.


The inclusion of ‘On Christmas Day’ (later to appear on the ‘Rock Art’ album) with all the trimmings, at least explains the pre-Christmas timing of this release. Do pay attention though or you’ll be left wondering how on earth we get from a stage full of Santas, including one in fishnet stockings and thigh-high boots, and Bob’s rendition of ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’, to the dark, threatening and rocked up intro to ‘Kingdom of Madness’? No matter. Are you ready for the Kingdom of Madness? You should always be ready for the ‘Kingdom of Madness’!


Those nice people at Wienerworld do acknowledge that a new Magnum album is in preparation and an extensive UK and European tour planned for 2014, though nothing here gives much of a clue about events or releases since 1992. As it happens, Magnum have been on a fine run of form in recent years, both live and in the studio. If you’ve been out of the loop, there’s still plenty of time for you to catch up before the release of ‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’ next March.







To pick up your copy of 'Magnum: Live in Concert' on DVD - CLICK HERE