Friday, 25th May 2001, Richmond Hall Carlisle

As we (myself and my wife) travelled up to Carlisle I anticipated quite a performance from both Bob and Ten. Them being nearly at the end of their first full European tour, you would think that earlier hiccups "if any" would be long gone. I arrived at the venue, (eventually) a well-hidden, small place I suppose a typical venue (smaller than Maximes) due to the general lack of interest in rock music in the UK at the moment. I was told earlier in the week that only 100 advanced tickets had been sold out of a possible 400 so to expect 150 to turn up on the night as realistic, small audience yes, but people who know good music never the less. On entry it was no surprise to see a small stage towards one corner of the hall but high enough for all to see no problem.

Well at this point I have to admit my guilt, no Bob Catley CDs in my collection (only Magnum) indeed I have only heard the tracks released on the Now And Then sampler disks, but I saw Magnum on five occasions during the 80's and still possess the memorable Hammersmith concert on video, so I know what Bob is about, a true entertainer, never a bad gig and I expected the same tonight. Just gone 8pm he and his band took to the stage, due to the nature of the place (dressing rooms at the back of the venue) weaving in and out of fans on the way, and what a rapturous applause he was greeted with the 150 or so fans also knew what Bob can do.

Opening with 2 songs from his new album Middle Earth you knew he was up to full speed, fantastic I never knew how much I missed listening to this guy with his own special sort of stage presence that no one can match, but who was the lead guitarist equally capable of pulling it off on the big stage, with perfect riffs and serious attitude (but no room to strut his stuff on a tiny stage). There is no doubt he can play guitar - Vince O Reagan is one to watch he really looked like he was enjoying every second.

With a mixture of songs from his 2 previous albums and a handful of Magnum classics including Vigilante, On A Storytellers Night, Start Talking love and finishing with Days Of No Trust that was it, you knew you had seen one of best entertainers rock music has to offer backed up by a new breed of talented musicians, Paul Hodson/ keyboards, Al Barrow/ bass and Colin Alltree/ drums.

Next was the real reason I had travelled 95 miles, Ten. I am sorry but they can do no wrong and maybe someone who could not criticise them should not be reviewing this gig, or can I? Sure enough Ten made their entrance through the crowd to the taped intro of March Of The Argonauts. Vinnie screamed into Fear The Force followed by Bright On The Blade but with Gary's vocals not quite loud enough the sound man had some explaining to do. Luckily sorted quick, but where was Don Airey? I must have missed something but I was under the impression he was to be part of the touring band not just recording with Ten? Please someone fill me in!

A return to the stage from Paul Hodson was enough to fill the gap. As I expected Ten were in top form. It was good to hear the new material they had recorded since the last time I saw them (Maximes 97 or was it 98?) Spellbound, The Stranger, then a whole string of their greatest songs including one of my faves, and first song I ever heard by Ten, After The Love Has Gone.

It was all over too soon, yes much too soon just over 1 hour too soon, major disappointment, where was the rumoured one and a half hours from Bob and Ten? Neither did much more than 70 mins, and why did Ten not do the best song they ever wrote - "Red"? Yes I did enjoy the night; Bob was a star, Gary and the guys really rocked again and showed why they are the best band to hit the rock scene in the last 5 or 6 years, but I can't help feeling a little cheated with lack of stage time. Let's hope they put it right on the big stages in the near future.

Nigel Eubank