O2 Academy, Newcastle

30 April 2014

One of the Academy staff was chatting to us in the queue, and said that only 350 advance tickets had been sold, out of a capacity of 1600. Since the reunion nearly 15 years ago, I've seen Magnum's audience grow year by year to the point where the Academy has appeared packed (at least downstairs) for the last couple of years, so this was a bit worrying. And indeed inside the Academy the crowd is more sparse than I can remember since they started playing there.

I really hope this was just a temporary blip, because the band delivered as well as they ever do, and the audience that was there loved every minute of it.

Probably about half the set was drawn from the last two albums, a brave and unusual move for a "classic" band these days, but one that paid off because the new material got a great crowd reception.

Inevitably, though, the biggest cheers come for the old standards: How Far Jerusalem (with lengthy guitar solo), The Spirit, and a palm-punishing clap-along to All England's Eyes, Vigilante, and Kingdom of Madness to end the set.

Sacred Hour in the encore saw Bob appearing to forget the words and sing the verses in random order — word-perfect on every new song, then stumbling on something he must have sung hundreds of times! The band just grinned at each other, shrugged, and worked with it.

I go to a lot of gigs, and there's nothing like a Magnum gig, and nobody like Bob Catley for working a crowd. Brilliant atmosphere, brilliant music, and just a massive feel-good experience all round. Every time. I hope they never stop.

Best concert I've ever seen.

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