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Magnum review: It’s quality that matters and we get that by the bucketful

PUBLISHED: 09:37 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:46 29 November 2018

Magnum played to a packed out Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Adam Aiken

Magnum played to a packed out Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Adam Aiken

Adam Aiken

The fact that such a good crowd turns out on a grotty midweek evening is testament to Magnum’s enduring popularity.

That popularity is fully deserved, as this is a band working hard to remain relevant rather than simply falling back on past glories.

Magnum played to a packed out Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Adam AikenMagnum played to a packed out Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Adam Aiken

Indeed, more than a third of the set is made up of songs from their two most recent albums (although it’s a shame they can’t find room for anything off 2014’s Escape From the Shadow Garden).

It’s the title tracks of those two albums that provide the early highlights, with a fabulously heavy Sacred Blood Divine Lies immediately followed by Lost on the Road to Eternity, which sees keyboardist Rick Benton coming to the fore.

It’s pushing it a bit to say that Magnum is just Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin, but there’s always been something of a revolving door when it comes to the rhythm section (although bassist Al Barrow has been in the line-up for some time). Benton – who looks like a mad professor working his magic on the keys – and drummer Lee Morris aren’t just making up the numbers, though, and they are more than worthy replacements for Mark Stanway and Harry James.

The set has a nice balance between ancient and modern, with the newer songs fitting in well alongside the obligatory How Far Jerusalem and Les Morts Dansant.

Catley remains full of beans, even if he does occasionally resemble your dad trying to pretend he can dance, and both he and Clarkin appear as fresh and energetic as ever.

There are terrific renditions of All England’s Eyes and Vigilante as the show crescendos towards its conclusion, and Sacred Hour brings a progressive-rock masterclass to an end.

A slightly longer set would have been nice, but ultimately it’s quality not quantity that matters – and we get that by the bucketful.

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