Magnum – Escape From The Shadow Garden Tour 2014 Live


A treat for anyone who wasn’t there and a fabulous reminder for anyone who was!

Review by Gary Cordwell


Release date: 11 May 2015

National (and not to mention local) melodic rock treasures Magnum continue their prolific purple patch with this, their umpteenth live album. Hot on the heels of Escape From The Shadow Garden comes this lavishly packaged live recording of the accompanying European tour which, if my failing memory serves me, rocked up twice in our Midlandy domain. But enough rambling – do we really need another live Magnum album? Well, yes, when this line up is playing so strongly and recent albums have been so good… they deserve their own live document!

Which is what we have here. The album is front loaded with recent tracks – 6 post 2011. And they are uniformly brilliant, standing shoulder to shoulder with anything from their illustrious back catalogue. A dramatic keyboard intro starts us off and then, boom! We are off into a masterclass in how to play melodic rock. The band play hard and tight, delivering one dramatic, powerful gem after another. And it sounds huge – Harry James supplying some seriously Bonham-esque ooompf at the back while a performance of sheer class and vitality unfolds. Sure, we can’t see Bob Catley’s jazz hands and ‘unique’ shape throwing but his powerful, gritty vocals and crowd working expertise more than compensate, but this really is band leader Tony Clarkin’s album. He has spoken in recent interviews of having reconnected with his instrument and boy, does it show! He is all over these performances. Ok, so he may not be the most engaging, dynamic of performers but his playing is alive and joyous, peeling off portentious riffs or supple solos with equal aplomb!

And here come the oldies! A hat-trick of …Storytellers Night classics is stunning – beloved songs given a 21st century sheen. A 10 minute ‘How Far Jerusalem’ has an atmospheric instrumental midsection that sounds perfectly planned and paced, no flabby noodling here. And ‘Les Morts Dansant’ has the crowd on tenterhooks, reacting to every nuance until the ‘Baba O’Rielly’-style powerchord payoff! There is a storming version of ‘Vigilante’ from, erm… Vigilante – note perfect and fiery, while early favourite ‘Kingdom Of Madness’ rounds off the evening flawlessly, building up to a proper, fists in the air, old skool big finish, complete with pyros!

So there we are, a beautifully produced document of a great live band which is pretty much indispensable – a treat for anyone who wasn’t able to be there on the night or a fabulous reminder for anyone who was! Let’s hope the next studio album won’t be too far behind.

Magnum - Escape8 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Live Til You Die
  2. Black Skies
  3. Freedom Day
  4. Dance Of The Black Tattoo
  5. Blood Red Laughter
  6. Unwritten Sacrifice
  7. How Far Jerusalem
  8. Les Morts Dansant
  9. Falling For The Big Plan
  10. All Englands Eyes
  11. Vigilante
  12. Kingdom Of Madness