20th anniversary outing for Storyteller...
Following numerous releases in the DVD arena by various companies lucky enough to at least part own some rights to Magnum's material, we finally have an up to date release from the band's current record label SPV.
With content and editing control firmly in the hands of the band and their usual team of engineers, the results are exactly what long time fans of the band had hoped for - hardly surprising as incumbent bass man Al Barrow spent a lot of time asking for input and suggestions from the hard core fan base.
Disc one features the entire 2-part set recorded at the Astoria on April 23rd 2005 as part of the "On A Storyteller's Night" 20th anniversary tour. Part 1 featuring a couple of songs from the latest album, including the title track 'Brand New Morning', alongside old favourites like 'Vigilante', 'Back Street Kid', 'Kingdom of Madness' & (of course) 'Sacred Hour'. A rare (these days) and extremely welcome airing of 'Soldier Of The Line' is added to this part of the set - which along with the new songs are at the expense of anything from their most successful album 'Wings Of Heaven'. I suspect this to have been a deliberate piece of planning as other recent DVD releases have been havily weighted towards that era of the band's history.
Bob Catley shows he's lost none of his enthusiasm for putting on a good show and is as solid as ever vocally. Tony Clarkin is obviously enjoying this part of Magnum's career - and is even seen to smile occasionally on stage nowadays (probably something to do with not having a record company pressurising you for top 30 singles every day). Mark Stanway is, well, Mark Stanway - superb keyboardist as always and an integral part of everything Magnum do. The rhythm section of Al and new arrival Jimmy Copley never miss a beat.
The second part of the set is the entire "On A Storyteller's Night" album played in full in the same running order as the original album release. Stunning, awesome, & brilliant are the only words to describe it - and I don't think anyone should need a track by track breakdown. On the day, it was "All England's Eyes" that was the stand out song - being St. George's day as it was!
Throughout the show, the audience were in fine form, really producing the kind of atmosphere that a band needs to perform at the top of their game - and it shows!
As if that's not enough, disc 2 is packed with interviews, on the road and rehearsal documentaries, a 'View from the queue' feature with some very dodgy characters appearing. Topping it all off is the inclusion of 8 promo videos that Magnum made in the 80's for some of their most famous songs - available on DVD for the first time. These are generally up to the normal standard for rock band promos - but one or two of them are actually not too cringe inducing :-)
All in all, a fantastic DVD package which is an essential purchase for anyone with even a passing interest in Magnum, and can be found at a bargain price with a little online effort.
Review by Ian Pollard
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