O2 Academy, Newcastle

14 April 2011

I got myself placed front and centre, which often means a terrible sound but today the sound in the Academy was surprisingly clear, not like a couple of years ago when Bob was completely inaudible. And front and centre is the best place to experience the atmosphere of a Magnum gig. I see a lot of live bands in a lot of musical styles but nobody I see quite generates the atmosphere that this band can. Magnum leave me hoarse from singing, bruised from clapping, and weary from jumping up and down for an hour and three quarters.

With 15 albums to draw from, an hour and three quarters is never going to be enough to play everything and there are a few notable omissions, but enough songs drawn from different eras to keep me happy. They opened with Back To Earth, a song I don't think I have heard them do since their farewell gig in 1994 (such a surprise that it actually took me a while to realise what it was!), which led me to believe the set would be heavy on old songs, but actually there was a big chunk of modern (post-reunion) material among the classics. And the strength of the new material is enough that they sound like classics already.

I think there were four songs from the newest album — I haven't heard this yet (a situation that will be rectified as soon as I finish this review) but I liked everything offered here. How can a band at this stage of their career continue to turn out new material, every year like clockwork, and have it sound as fresh and inspired as this? Tony Clarkin is a genius and still probably my favourite single songwriter of all time.

I don't know what else to say — the band were on top form, and you all know what that means.

I always come out of a Magnum gig feeling like I've just witnessed the best concert I've ever seen. This one was no exception.

I'm already looking forward to next year's.

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