Wednesday 4th June

Magnum live 2014MAGNUM
Sweden Stage

The first day at Sweden Rock is always special. You’re excited to be there and your expectations for the whole thing is just mountain high. It also gets a little bit better when you’re about to watch something that you’re really looking forward to. Last year it was Threshold, but they were a disappointment as their sound was really, really bad. This year it was Magnum. And Queensrÿche, of course, but their gig rained away from me. Magnum has always been a highly esteemed band for me and I haven’t caught the band live since 1990 on their Goodnight L.A. tour, as I missed their gig at SRF in 2010. That album wasn’t as great as its predecessors, but the gig was a real killer. Now, Magnum’s four latest albums has been really, really good, so this gig was something I didn’t want to miss. I was really impressed by Bob Catley’s vocals when he sang with Avantasia last year so there were some great expectations on that as well. Those expectations wasn’t fulfilled, I’m afraid. The biggest problem was their set list. I know that Magnum is a band that moves forward and doesn’t want to live on old merits, but when you play a festival, it is not like it is your own gig and like it or not, people expects the classics. They opened up with “Live ‘Til You Die” from their new album Escape From The Shadow Garden and it is a really great song, but it didn’t exactly cause an explosion among the fans, probably because not many people knew the song. The thing is, lots of the attenders at festivals are people who really don’t check out band’s newer stuff and are there to hear the classics. As an artist, that might not be what you want, but it’s the fact and if you want to create a great atmosphere, you just have to accept that. “Dark Skies” from The Visitation is also a really great number, but failed to make any impact at all. This continued until song number seven when they finally played “How Far Jerusalem” and “Les Morts Dansant” from On A Storyteller’s Night and it was only too clear that those were the songs people wanted hear. The set ended with “All England’s Eyes”, “Vigilante” and “Kingdom Of Madness” and that was what the crowd had been waiting for, but unfortunately, it was a tad too late. Not even the brilliant encore of “The Spirit” and “Sacred Hour” could save what the beginning of the gig had destroyed. Magnum played 14 songs out of which half of them were newer stuff. Too many at a festival, I’m afraid. Two newies, three tops would have been enough here. Other than that, I have no complaints on their musical abilities – Magnum are all top-notch as players, but just as on their new album, Bob Catley’s voice sounds strained. But there was no off-key singing so a little strained is something that you have to expect from a 66-year-old. But it is a little sad to state that once again, the first band I get to see at SRF is a small disappointment.

Magnum’s new album is reviewed here:


4-Sound Stage
Bayley: 4/10
Di’Anno: 1/10

There has been some talk about the bands that I should have seen, but for different reasons missed. Now, here’s one gig that I had decided on not to watch, but ended up watching anyway. Sometimes those gigs really happily surprises you, like Danko Jones did a couple of years ago. However, this didn’t surprise me the least. At least not in a good way. When it comes to Blaze Bayley, I have never been even close to a fan. I never liked Wolfsbane and the fact that he got the job as Bruce Dickinson’s replacement in Iron Maiden was a big shock. The guy doesn’t even come close to Bruce vocally. His solo work with his own band Blaze isn’t necessarily bad, but I find those records extremely uninteresting and dull. Also, the two albums he made with Iron Maiden, The X Factor and Virtual XI are both crap, both musically and production wise. To Blaze’s defense I might add that it wasn’t his fault that they sucked – those songs couldn’t have been saved by any Bruce Dickinson in the world and to be honest, neither of Bruce’s last albums with Maiden, No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark were that much to write home about. Needless to say, it didn’t come as a shock that I found Blaze’s performance, which consisted of only five Maiden songs “Lord Of The Flies”, “Futureal”, “Sign Of The Cross”, “The Clansman” and “Man On The Edge”, really, really boring. Blaze Bayley is a limited singer and as a frontman a lot is left to be desired. He clearly misses that little something to put him up there in the big league.

But all this was nothing compared to what we were about to witness from Iron Maiden’s original singer Paul Di’Anno. I have always found Di’Anno extremely overrated as a singer, but the songs on Maiden’s two first albums are really great, especially on the debut and from the clips I have seen, Di’Anno was alway a brilliant frontman who knows how to work an audience. This evening, however, was a complete disaster. His performance was so useless that he made Blaze’s almost brilliant in comparison. I’m not sure he even deserves the 1/10 rating I gave his gig. This could actually be the worst gig I have seen in my life, tied with Lita Ford’s comeback gig at SRF a few years back. First of all, Di’Anno is in real bad shape. He had to use his mike stand as a cane to even be able to walk on stage and finally there he didn’t, of course, move an inch during his whole set. As a singer Di’Anno is even more limited than Blaze, but this night he couldn’t sing at all. He missed lines, couldn’t reach even the lowest notes and he got lost in the vocal melodies. Look at the songs he played – “Sanctuary”, “Wrathchild”, “Remember Tomorrow”, “Killers”, “Phantom Of The Opera”, “Transylvania”, “Running Free” and “Iron Maiden”, the last two together with Blaze. Now ask yourself how bad you have to get to fail with a treasure of songs like that. It has been said that this gig was Di’Anno’s last and after witnessing this, I think that that is a very good idea. This is the end of the line for Paul Di’Anno, I’m afraid!


14 comments on “Wednesday 4th June

  1. I have seen many pics of Paul walking with a cane…due to a motorcycle accident I think? Regardless, the man has no regard for himself at all. I’ve read his book and that nonsense only proved one thing. Di’Anno’s a child in a man’s body.

    Shame about Blaze. I really liked him for a while. I have his first two solo albums and his first live, and I have to say I really liked them.

    • Well, I have never been a Blaze-fan so maybe my review is a bit unfair. I mean, he must have done one hell of a concert to make someone like me change my opinion. Maybe a Blaze-fan would have liked the gig more than I did.

      • I don’t know if you have heard his album Silicon Messiah. It was pretty good. Very heavy. But I think he has his limits as an artist, and the Blaze albums I own are sufficient for me.

      • I got on a burned CD. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t do anything for me. I can’ t remember one single song off of it.
        Yeah, I think so too. There’s a reason why he isn’t a big artist after all these years in the business.

  2. Well.

    As a music journalist, this may be one of the worst and most misleading reviews I have ever read.

    You clearly have no basic conception of being objective in your view of the concert(s). On the contray, you give away your own subjective opinion away during the first 10 sentences?

    And what about the band?

    You, my friend, should not be in the business of concert reviews.

    Writer and fellow music journalist

    • Well.
      Are your opinions based on this review only and if so, which review are you refering to? Magnum or the Bayley / DiAnno review?
      Well, see, I am not a music journalist, I write my reviews based only what I think, my opinons are just that – opinions, nothing else.
      This review is not misleading at all, it is only based on my taste and how I experienced the concert. I was very clear on the fact that I am not a bif fan of neither vocalists so with that in mind, I was objective.
      And fyi, I am not in the business at all. I do this on my own free time because I enjoy it and I do not get paid.
      It would be intersting to find out which mag / site you write for so I can see for myself how a REAL music writer that belongs in the business does it.

    • Hehe. Yeah. And isn’t objectivity something quite subjective when you think about it…? 😉

      • For some, objectivity is merely hiding your bias. I don’t know what reviewers I enjoy, that don’t add their own personal feelings and tastes to a review. A review cannot come from a vacuum, but as long as you’re honest from the start, who cares? This clown even admits you revealed your feelings right from the start. Perfect! Job well done. I can read your review and weigh it based on your stated bias.

        Much better than some professionals who get paid big bucks to pretend they’re objective.

        Just my opinion as a non-professional myself.

      • Exactly, Mike. I did “give away” that on purpose because I wanted the readers to know exactly what my opinions were on the two vocalists. But what would have happened had they blown me away? I would have written a review that said that Paul and Blaze were awesome, but I still wouldn’t have been “objective”. My guess is that Mr Cheezgrater wouldn’t had responded to this review at all if the review had been a positive one. I get feeling that he’s just one pissed off Maiden-fan that didn’t like me slagging off their ex- singers. See if he can prove me wrong.

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