Magnum brings the “Divine” Lies tour to Bristol
With Radio One’s Big Weekend visiting nearby Exeter and bringing with them the likes of Coldplay and Biffy Clyro, I had a tough choice on my hands. Thankfully, I chose to relive my youth by heading to the Bristol 02 to see rock royalty in the form of Magnum. Way back in 1988 Magnum had been the first band I had ventured to see with my friends and we seemed to spend most of the night singing along as we jumped up and down with our hands in the air with everyone around us. The experience was amazing and sent me in search of more live music, and some 26 years later I’m still going to see as many gigs as I can.
Magnum had brought fellow British rockers Vega as support, and it was them who got us underway. As they hit the stage the expectant crowd fell silent as they stood and enjoyed the show. Being the only support act, Vega got a decent sized set and they seemed to go down well with the Magnum faithful who were out in force to support their heroes.
Their ten-song set saw them play tracks from their impressive back catalogue as well as several tracks from their latest album Who Are We, and it was these songs that seemed to be best received by the crowd.
They worked the stage well with frontman Nick Workman venturing to the barrier on several occasions to high five front row fans. On one occasion he returned with the mobile phone of a fan and proceeded to move around the stage filming his band mates and himself before returning it.
These guys sounded good and even though the crowd had come to see Magnum I’m sure Vega have gained many new fans, not only from their fine performance but the fact they meet fans afterwards where they seemed very accommodating as they signed things and posed for photos with fans.
With the stage set up quickly for Magnum it wasn’t long before the main event started. The lights dimmed and I had flashbacks to the first gig all those years ago. Since then the Magnum lineup has had a few changes with the most notable of these being bass player Al Barrow who seems to have rejuvenated the band. Their style has never changed and they have turned out many a fine album with the latest release being right up there and I was eager to see them live again. The cheers went up from around the venue as the band made their way onto the stage under cover of darkness and as the music started the lights lit up the stage.
They sounded great from the off and their depth of experience shone as they, just as Vega before them, mixed in old and new to wow the crowd. As I looked around the venue, it was as if I had been transported back in time as fans sang with their hands in the air. There was even a younger section of the crowd who still had the energy to jump up and down the entire night. The only thing missing was the plumes of exotic smelling tobacco that had been present all those years ago.
As the songs came thick and fast the new material stood up well and I enjoyed hearing it live for the first time, but it was the band’s classic songs that grabbed the fans attention the most. Magnum must have played some of these songs thousands of times over the years and inevitably songs sometimes get dropped from the set for different tours but the mix in Bristol seemed to be spot on and I enjoyed the whole set.
Obviously I would have been happy if they had played for several more hours but after an hour and a half the band left the stage. Thankfully they didn’t leave for long and as I stood near the front I could feel the floor vibrate as fans clapped their hands whilst stamping their feet and chanting “Magnum, Magnum, Magnum” over and over again. As the band returned their were a couple of big songs missing from the set and as they sat on the drum riser we got a very relaxed and mellow version of one of them before they finished in style with the hard rocking “Kingdom Of Madness.” Frontman Bob Catley then introduced the band and each member got a thunderous round of applause from the crowd before throwing items into the crowd.
As fans headed towards the exit I spotted several family groups amongst them and this family friendly atmosphere was summed up by the fact we had been stood next to Bob’s daughter all night and she too had been singing along and rocking with the rest of us. There was also another woman stood with us that had been to see Magnum nearly 200 times and was considered part of the family. As the venue emptied we continued to chat with Bob’s daughter until their were only about twenty of us left in the venue and these were mostly VIP guests. Bob then arrived and greeted them whilst we waited patiently in the hope that we may also get to meet him. As he stood chatting to the VIP’s with his arm around his daughter you could see he loved having her there with him and you could also see just how proud she was to be there with her dad. She then rejoined us and shortly after her dad came over to meet my friends and I. He was in top form as he cracked jokes and told stories and even posed for a photo with us that made for the perfect end to the night. The experience was everything I expected and more and my choice to see Magnum again had proven to be inspired one.
I must also give the venues staff and security team a mention as yet again they were friendly and helpful and the night went without a hitch.
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