Concert Reviews

Magnum / Rebecca Downes Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 10, 2018    
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Magnum / Rebecca Downes - The Picturedome, Holmfirth (UK) - 24 February 2018

The last time I saw Rebecca Downes I only managed to catch the end of her set, so I was determined to see the whole show this time around. The Picturedrome was probably ninety per cent full when Downes took to the stage with her band of Steve Birkett (lead guitar and backing vocals), Rick Benton (keys and Hammond organ), Dan Clark (bass guitar) and Lloyd Daker (drums). The diminutive Downes had an impressive, powerful voice with quite the range and there was a mutual appreciation between the crowd and herself. Highlights of the forty-five minute set were 'Night Train', 'Sailing On A Fool Of Tears', 'Believe' and 'Back To The Start'.

It was fantastic to see a capacity crowd of over six hundred Magnum fans be there to witness this UK National Treasure take the stage; with twenty albums now in their back catalogue, choosing a set-list which will please all their legion of fans is now a near-on impossible task. Bob Catley might not possess the vocal range he once had, however, he is far from over the hill and with the quality of the sound, which is normally afforded to artists at The Picturedrome, put in a more than decent performance.

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I'm always interested to hear which songs a band chooses and then the order that these songs are played in. In football terms, this was definitely a game of two halves; the first being devoted to material from albums released since their reformation at the beginning of the millennium and the second being the Classic era. They had no need to go big from the offset as the audience were all diehard fans to start with. The loss of Harry James (drums) and Mark Stanway (keyboards) could have seen the band diminished, however, the introduction of Lee Morris (drums) and Rick Benton (keyboards) appeared to have given Magnum a new vigour; the same can be said for the songs from the new album, which included the excellent title-track 'Lost On The Road To Eternity', 'Peaches & Cream', 'Show Me Your Hands' and the pick of the bunch 'Without Love'. As good as all these songs were, the atmosphere seemed to notch-up a couple of levels starting with the one-two combination of 'How Far Jerusalem' and 'Les Morts Dansant' from the groundbreaking 'On A Storyteller's Night' opus which is now thirty-three years old! Tony Clarkin – song-writer extraordinaire – and bassist Al Barrow completed the line-up of this extremely tight band.

The final three songs which closed the main set were simply jaw-dropping: 'All Englan''s Eyes', 'Vigilante' and the epic 'Don't Wake The Lion (Too Old To Die Young)' with the latter being worth the entrance fee alone – it was simply breathtaking. The band left the stage briefly before they then returned for a deserved two-song encore. Any lingering thoughts that this was not a diehard audience were dispelled with the reaction to 'The Spirit', the oldest song played this evening from their awesome 1982 album 'Chase The Dragon'. That just left time for 'When The World Comes Down' to bring a magnificent show to a close.

Review by Mark Donnelly, photo by Andy Brailsford

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