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Astoria, London Saturday 23 April 2005

Back in 1985 I was on my way to my first rock festival, Donnington, at the tender age of 17 with my good friend Phil Berisford and on the coach from Stoke all the fellow rock fans were raving about Magnum.

Now I knew the name having read about them in Kerrang! but hadn’t heard any music. Well after seeing them open the festival (and along with Marillion, band of the day) I became a fan and have been ever since.

Fast forward twenty years to the Astoria where Magnum are celebrating twenty years since they released one of their key albums, ‘On A Storyteller’s Night. Three fifths of the line-up are still present from the album’s release Bob Catley, Mark Stanway and Tony Clarkin. Joining them are long serving bass player Al Barrow and for these dates only Paul Rodgers drummer Jimmy Copley (Harry James the usual drum stool occupant is busy with his other band Thunder).

Two sets tonight with the first set including classics like ‘Vigilante’, ‘Back Street Kid’ and ‘Soldier Of The Line’ mixed with newer tunes like ‘Brand New Morning’. The band are obviously loving every minute of the gig and a packed Astoria respond in kind, especially down the front as the whole gig is being filmed for a DVD release.

Second set is the complete ‘Storyteller’s’ album, so we get a rocking ‘Just Like An Arrow’ (or as Bon Catley quipped ‘Just Like Al Barrow’), the epic ‘How Far Jerusalem?’ and of course the title track, which damn near brings the house down. Definitely a unique gig and one with some great memories to keep - Magnum have still got the class and tunes that separates them from so many other also rans. So can we have a 20th anniversary show for ‘Vigilante’ next please?

Review: Jason Ritchie

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