It’s a balmy evening as MetalTalk enter Cambridge Junction for an evening of classic rock in the presence of Brummie legends Magnum. This is the opening night of their tour to celebrate the release of their wonderful The Monster Roars album.
Magnum, Vega, Theia. Cambridge Junction – Monday 28 March 2022
Words: Robert Adams
Photography: Steve Ritchie
Theia starts proceedings off at 7.30 sharp to a responsive crowd. Reduced to a duo these days after losing their bass player, this didn’t hinder Theia in any way at all. Their energetic half-hour set was met with great favour from the rapidly filling Cambridge Junction.
Next up was the marvellous Vega. This is my first time seeing them live, and they certainly did not disappoint. Vocalist Nick Workman wasted no time in getting the Cambridge crowd on their side with call and response vocals, and they were soon eating out his hand.
The arrival of ex-Inglorious guitarist Billy Taylor to Vega certainly adds a splash of colour, with his bright red Mohican standing out. Still, he was added to the band for his playing, and he sounded wonderful.
The whole band were wonderful tonight, and they made the ballsy move of closing their set with a cover of Def Leppard’s Animal, which the Cambridge crowd adored.
It’s been far too long since I saw Magnum live. My last time was at the now-defunct Marquee in London just before Tony and Bob formed Hard Rain, so I was really looking forward to seeing them again.
Entering, receiving a hero’s welcome, they kick off proceedings with a bouncing Days Of No Trust from their Wings Of Heaven album, and it’s just glorious. Bob Catley is as gesticulative as ever and is as warm a host as you could imagine. The crowd helped him out by joining in on the choruses of pretty much every song played tonight.
With so many songs to choose from, the setlist covers many years and wonderfully showcases the strength of Tony Clarkin’s timeless songwriting. Every decade of Magnum’s career is represented tonight, and every song played is welcomed like a long lost friend to the adoring Cambridge crowd.
More up to date songs like Where Are You Eden from 2020s The Serpent Rings album sit very nicely alongside “the hits” like Vigilante and Wild Swan. The Monster Roars title track and The Day After The Night Before are very well received.
The lyrics to Rocking Chair are even more pertinent to the band and the fans now – given that Catley is 74 and Clarkin is 75 – and the roar that greets Catley when he sings, “I need my rocking, but I don’t need my rocking chair” makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Closing the set with the timeless Kingdom Of Madness, the band take their leave, but the Cambridge faithful soon call them back, and we are treated to two bona fide Magnum classics, On A Storyteller’s Night and Sacred Hour, before the band leave for good.
It’s official – Magnum still rock. This was my twelfth time seeing Magnum and, as I said earlier, my first time since the mid-’90s.
Magnum live is certainly still a fantastic night out. Catch them if you can on the remaining dates. You will love it.
Magnum Set List :
Days Of No Trust
Road To Eternity
The Monster Roars
The Archway Of Tears
Dance Of The Black Tattoo
Where Are You Eden
The Day After The Night Before
Les Morts Dansants
All England’s Eyes
Kingdom Of Madness
On A Storyteller’s Night