13. Keeping The Nitelight Burning - But Unplugged
In the early nineties the television programme MTV had started a series of live shows in which no or hardly any electrical instruments were used. As the audience sensed that this was the chance to see whether their idols could convince them of their qualities even without the latest technical equipment, “Unplugged“, as the programme was called, became extremely successful. International superstars like Phil Collins, KISS, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Germany's Herbert Grönemeyer and many others queued to perform here.
Although Tony wasn't asked to perform on MTV with MAGNUM he liked the idea of the whole thing and decided to rearrange some older songs for an acoustic album to be recorded in the Zella Studios.
“Keeping the Nitelight Burning“ was out on November 22nd 1993. There were twelve new versions of older songs on it: “The Prize“, “Heartbroke & Busted“, “Foolish Heart“, “Lonely Night“,
“Start Talking Love“, “Only A Memory“, “Need A Lot Of Love“, “Maybe Tonight“, “One Night Of Passion“, “Without Your Love“, “Shoot“ and “Soldier Of The Line“. The black and white cover photo showed the band sitting in a dark room with old-fashioned instruments with Bob holding a fifties-style microphone. The top third of the cover was blue with the MAGNUM logo from the “Sleepwalking“-album as a neon sign.
A horn section and a cello reinforced the band during the recording. “The Prize“ featured a cello introduction, a 6/8 rhythm instead of the original 4/4 and Mickey playing hand drums. “Heartbroke And Busted“ didn't change the rhythm but was dominated by Tony's acoustic guitar. “Foolish Heart“ got a completely new sound because of the horn section. “Lonely Night“ became a slow ballad whereas “Start Talking Love“ featured Tony on acoustic guitar and Mark on the piano, “Only A Memory“ became an a-cappella song. Maybe the most unusual change was done to “Need A Lot Of Love“ which suddenly became a Reggae song! “Maybe Tonight“, once a true rocker, was also converted into a ballad and “One Night Of Passion“ was equipped with Jazz elements. The only lately rediscovered “Without You Love“, which had been on the “Archive“ album was only slightly modernized just like “Shoot“, that changed its mode only a little due to piano and acoustic guitar. The highlight of the album was “Soldier Of The Line“, with the new piano intro and such a tight atmosphere that it sent shivers down your spine.
The band didn't go on a tour to support this album but at least they played a summer festival in Corby and the traditional Christmas show with a few warm-up gigs. This time the show was at Wolverhampton on 20th December 1993 where they performed as many as twenty-one songs:
“Intro“/ „All England's Eyes“/ „Guitar Solo“/ „C'est La Vie“/ „Soldier Of The Line“/ „Rock Heavy“/
“On A Storyteller's Night“/ „Sometime Love“/ „Les Morts Dansant“/ „How Far Jerusalem“/
„Start Talking Love“/ „Heartbroke & Busted“/ „The Spirit“/ „Vigilante“/ „Days Of No Trust“/
“Kingdom Of Madness“/ „Hard Hearted Woman“ (Then called “Feel Of A Woman“)/“Sacred
Hour“/ „When The World Comes Down“/ „Merry Christmas“ and “On Christmas Day“. The set featured two brand new tracks, “Rock Heavy“, a song with a Reggae rhythm and “Hard Hearted Woman“, a rocker .“Start Talking Love“ and “Heartbroke and Busted“ were rendered in acoustic versions as they had been recorded for “Keeping The Nitelight Burning“. Robyn Catley spoke the intro of “On A Storyteller's Night” again and like in the year before the fans were taken to a club afterwards where the fans could meet the band after a little set of Rock'n'Roll classics and got free beer and fan goodies.