33. Live At The Symphony Hall - Live on The Road To Eternity
Although a concert film of the Birmingham Concert Hall gig had originally been planned, that turned out to be impossible. Logistics prevented the gig from being filmed. So Band and record company decided to have a live album out. It was published on 18th January 2019 and contained the full show from the Symphony hall on two CDs, three LPs in greenish vinyl plus CD or as a digital download. The track list was identical with the set list of the 2018 gigs: “When We Were Younger”/ “Sacred Blood ‘Divine’ Lies”/ “Lost On The Road To Eternity””/ “Crazy Old Mothers”/ “Without Love”/ “Your Dreams Won’t Die”7 “Peaches And Cream”/ “How Far Jerusalem”/ “Show Me Your Hands”/ “All England’s Eyes”/ “Vigilante”/ “Don’t Wake The Lion (Too Old To Die Young)”/ “The Spirit”/ “When The World Comes Down”. Tobias Sammet had flown in from Germany again after the failed first attempt, when the gig had to be cancelled because of heavy snowfall in the Birmingham area. He performed “Lost On The Road To Eternity” with Bob. Lee Small (who had also provided background vocals on the track on the studio version) and Rebecca Downes (who had provided background vocals at the BBC acoustic performance) both performed “Without Love” with the band.
Fans and critics called the live performance “stunning” and even people who had already seen lots of MAGNUM-gigs called the performance “very special”. Once again did Lee and Rick add to a new and fresh touch to older songs, e.g. “Don’t Wake The Lion”, which caused Tony to put it back in the set, which he explained in a radio interview.
The band did a short winter tour to support the upcoming release in November/December 2018. There were two small changes in the setlist: the opening track was replaced by “Wild Swan”, which got a new intro and sound design, compared to former live versions. The other new song was “Sacred Hour” which replaced “The Spirit”. It was interesting to hear the well-known intro now interpreted by Rick, which sounded quite different to the original, although he played the same notes. Support on that tour were yet again REDS’COOL from Russia, who had meanwhile exchanged their singer and bass player. The new singer had been brought in at such short notice that he had to use an iPad for the lyrics. He did a good job, although Slava’s unique voice was missed. The band played some gigs in Germany and the UK, with the final gig seeing the band for the first time in Greece, at the Gagarin club in Athens.
In a set of interviews around the release of the live album the band stated that they were about to play some festivals in 2019 and that the next studio album was to be recorded throughout the year with a release date in early 2020. The reviews of the album were very positive again. The only point of criticism that came up occasionally was that the album was a very close follow-up to the “Escape From The Shadow Garden Live”-album. However, as the song choice was mostly different it was easily accepted as a nice addition to MAGNUM’s live catalogue. Most reviews hailed the crisp recording quality, the compact sound of the band and the guest vocalists.
The chart positions were almost incredible for a live album: Nr. 18 in Germany, 16 in Sweden and even position 2 in the official British Hard Rock charts. The album also peaked in several Hard Rock charts and did also well in downloads.
In Summer 2019 MAGNUM played a few gigs in the UK and three festival shows in Sweden, Spain and Germany. The latter was recorded in full and broadcast three weeks later in full and in high definition. The set list was identical with the one of the last winter tour and the festival shows were cut down to one hour.
On 25.6.2019 news were announced on all social media. But people who had expected an update on the recording of the new album were disappointed. It was the announcement that Al had left the band after over 20 years (counting in his work in HARD RAIN). Due to the fact that he had moved to the USA he didn’t want to be away from home for so long and would go for some new projects in America in future. He was replaced by Dennis Ward, a prolific American bass player living in Germany, who had been in PINK CREAM 69, UNISONIC ans PLACE VENDOME and worked with many other bands, notably TEN and VEGA as a producer too.