Fireworks

Kingdom Of Madness

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 29, 2019    
 
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Kingdom Of Madness - The Stables, Milton Keynes (UK) - 17 March 2019

When it was first announced that keyboard player Mark Stanway had decided to leave Magnum, there was considerable disappointment. Fortunately it was announced he was to put together a new outfit under the title of Kingdom Of Madness, covering the Magnum years of 1978-94. Alongside Mark are Micky Barker on drums (Magnum), Richard Bailey on keyboards (Magnum, Alaska), Laurence Archer on guitar (Magnum, UFO, Stampede) and Neil Murray on bass guitar (Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Gary Moore). The vocal duties are led by Chris Ousey (Snakecharmer, Heartland) and supporting on certain numbers and backing is Mo Birch (Magnum, Go West, UB40).

The set list is really what sets Kingdom of Madness apart from Magnum. Most, if not all, of these classics are no longer in the Magnum set, so it was great to hear strong songs that have been lost to the past, and here given fresh life once again.

Opening with the wonderful 'Changes' took me back to my first Magnum show at the original Marquee London on the 'Chase The Dragon Tour' in 1982. The band handled the material with complete ease and confident chemistry, and 'Back To Earth' and hit 'Just like An Arrow' had the audience singing along. Guitarist Laurence Archer looked like he wanted to run around the stage and throw some shapes at times, while the rest of the band looked more at ease keeping in place as they performed.

The biggest adjustment for me as a listener was the vocals from Chris Ousey and Mo Birch. With a sound at times closer to Paul Rodgers and Tina Turner in delivery, it was a slightly different approach than the melodic tones of Bob Catley. That said, Mo's rendition of 'The Lights Burned Out' and Chris' version of 'The Tall Ships' were highlights of the set vocally.

Micky Barker provided one of the first well-arranged and entertaining drum solos I have seen in a long time – it was not in fact, time for a "comfort break" on this occasion! Last but not least, we can't forget one of the most well respected bass players in the business, Neil Murray, whose fluid playing is always a joy to hear. Mark Stanway truly looked to be having the time of his life, full of smiles, and took time to address the audience with heartwarming thoughts on many of these songs.

For me 'Start Talking Love', 'Sacred Hour', and a seriously hard-rocking 'Kingdom Of Madness' (played with original flute intro by Richard Bailey) were my standout moments. If, like me, you long for the classic Magnum somewhat lost to time, Kingdom Of Madness have risen to the occasion.

Ray Paul

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