20. Livin’ The Dream - On Another Storyteller’s Night

By the end of November 2004 a real treat for the fans was announced. As MAGNUM’s most popular  and bestselling album was to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2005, the band announced two very special concerts to celebrate this. The two gigs to be staged in Wolverhampton and London would consist of two parts: MAGNUM classics and tracks from “Brand New Morning” and then – in a second part – the entire Storyteller album performed live.

The fans were thrilled and started to get their tickets immediately – a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be part of this great event.

   Those people not being able to attend the concerts were consoled by the fact that both nights were to be filmed for the release of a live DVD. Bob stated that this conveyed the live experience much better than a live album, so the idea of bringing out a concert film came up. These concerts were to conclude a European tour, which took them to Germany, Switzerland and Holland, whereas in summer the band would play at the Sweden Rock Festival again. Unfortunately, THUNDER, Harry James’ original band, was touring at exactly the same time as MAGNUM, so they had to find someone to stand in on drums. Immediately rumours occurred that Mickey Barker was to return as he had recently left THE BUSHBURYS. But this proved to be wrong when it was announced that Jimmy Copley (who played with Mark In M3 – CLASSIC WHITESNAKE) would stand in. Jimmy was a very experienced drummer so the fans were pleased to have a decent replacement at least.

   Coinciding with the tour Sanctuary Records re-issued “On A Storyteller’s Night” but this time as a double CD. Whereas the first disc was the re-mastered original album, the second disc contained the original demos: “How Far Jerusalem”, ”Endless Love”, ” Before First Light”, “All England’s Eyes”, “Come On Young Love (#1)”, “Come On Young Love (#2)”, “Les Morts Dansant (P.K.A. Cannon)”, “The Last Dance” and a 25-minute interview.

   The most interesting versions were “All England’s Eyes” with a melodica solo in the middle, as Tony didn’t have his guitar in the studio on that day. “Come On Young Love” would eventually be released as “Steal Your Heart” but the demo version is so different that it sounds like another song. Originally “The Last Dance” was intended to be a rocker, as the demo version shows; it works much better as a ballad though. The demos were still recorded with Kex Gorin drumming and a drum machine. The interview was the same that had previously been released on picture disc, as part of the “Invasion” double vinyl album and on an earlier CD version of “On A Storyteller’s Night”.


   The double CD came in a cardboard sleeve with a new artwork. It showed the well-known Storyteller-motive in an oval golden frame on a black background. The Magnum-Logo was the same as on the original album, except for the colour that was now golden and white. A banner underneath pointed out to the 20th anniversary of the album.

   Shortly after the tour the first five albums and the 1996 live CD“Stronghold” were re-released in a similar fashion, too. All of these were digitally remastered with lavish booklets. Especially “Kingdom Of Madness” was really remarkable as it was equipped with the original “King’s Hall”-Cover and had the first two MAGNUM tracks “Sweet For My Sweet” and “Moving On” as bonus tracks on a second disc along with other songs. Even the first HARD RAIN album was re- released in early 2006.

   The European tour was staged in April 2005 with tickets selling very well and many venues being jam-packed or sold out. The setlist was the same as at the two concerts for the DVD recording: “Brand New Morning”/ ”Back Street Kid” /”Need A lot Of Love” /”Soldier Of The Line”/ ”We All Run”/ ”Vigilante”/ ”Kingdom Of Madness” – 15 minutes break – “How Far Jerusalem”/ ”Just Like An Arrow”/ ”On A Storyteller’s Night”/ ”Before First Light”/ ”Les Morts Dansant”/ ”Endless Love”/ ”Two Hearts”/ ”Steal Your Heart”/ ”All England’s Eyes”/ ”The Last Dance”.

   “Endless  Love”, “Before First Light” and “Two Hearts” hadn’t been performed for ages whereas “Steal Your Heart” was completely new to the live set. The stage was set as usual with Bob bang in the middle, Tony on his left and Al on his right. Mark’s keyboard stand was on a pedestal behind Al and Jimmy’s drum kit was placed behind Tony on another pedestal. All band members were obviously enjoying themselves with Jimmy doing a marvellous job and even Tony interacting with the audience, which had previously been the exception. During the DVD shows the stage was specially decorated with a large canvas in the background onto which several laser effects were projected. Fireworks detonated during the first and last song and “How far Jerusalem” was introduced by a mysterious “Storyteller” (who indeed was Al’s younger brother Scott) in a mirror-decorated costume “speaking” a new intro (which had been pre-recorded).

   Even the merchandising stall was much better equipped than during the last tours with T-shirts in all sizes, hooded shirts, Ladies’ shirts, sports shirts and baseball caps. The Astoria crowd could even buy a limited edition T-shirt which showed the new “Storyteller”-motive on the front, but “23.4.2005 London Astoria  On A Storyteller’s Night 20th anniversary – I was there!!” on the back.

   In September MAGNUM played one more gig at the “Party In The Paddock”-festival in Buckinghamshire.

   The DVD-release was on November 7th. Its title was “Living The Dream” which was thought up by Al Barrow summing up the feeling being a member of MAGNUM. The cover showed a wheel of the tour bus with the title inscribed in the dirt on the wheel housing  and a cobweb full of morning dew linking both. The DVD was crammed full with the show and heaps of bonus material, interviews with the band and the fans, all studio videos up to 1990, a new acoustic version of “The Spirit” and even two Easter eggs (bonus material, hidden on the DVD). Several reviews hailed the DVD as a masterpiece and obligatory for every fan!

The band went on tour again, this time supporting the DVD. The “Living The Dream”-Tour was staged in Sweden, Germany and Great Britain in November/December 2005. The gig in Reichenbach/Germany was a very special one for me, as this was the first time I took my older son, Benjamin to a concert with me and – obviously – MAGNUM had another ardent fan after the gig: he even slept in his new T-shirt weeks after the concert!!!

   The setlist was slightly changed: “Brand New Morning”/ ”Back Street Kid”/ ”Rockin’ Chair”/ ”Need A lot Of Love”/ ”Soldier Of The Line”/ ”We All Run”/ “The Spirit”/ ”Vigilante”/ ”Kingdom Of Madness” – 15 minutes break – “How Far Jerusalem”/ ”Just Like An Arrow”/ ”On A Storyteller’s Night”/ ”Before First Light”/ ”Les Morts Dansant”/ ”Endless Love”/ ”Two Hearts”/ ”Steal Your Heart”/ ”All England’s Eyes”/ ”The Last Dance” and finally “Kingdom Of Madness”.

   The comeback of the two additional songs was hailed everywhere, especially as both songs were rendered in beautiful and very impressive versions.

   There was some new merchandise and  Al and Bob stated that Tony was already writing the first bits of a new album to be out in early 2007. Recording was to start soon. Kit Woolven, producer of the “Storyteller”-album had signalled interest in another cooperation so that was one of the options being discussed but finally dropped.