[Album Review] Max Webster | Live Magnetic Air

Ah, the ’70s. When Peter Frampton convinced every record label that a live album meant an easy street to riches. And sometimes they were right. Max Webster’s contribution to the trend was 1979’s Live Magnetic Air, a decent success in their native land of Canada as it peaked at number 17. Their only other album to chart higher was A Million Vacations, which peaked at 13. It is remarkable how it charted that high without a successful single to drive sales. It goes to show you how many had their ears tuned into the AOR-FM stations rather than the top 40 ones.

This is one of those reviews that may come across as more negative than I want it to be. So, I’ll start by saying Live Magnetic Air is a sharp record that any Max Webster fan will want in their collection. I can even understand how for some fans, the track selection and light variations of the songs could make it their favourite.


The chosen tracks and sequencing is good, if not excellent depending on what you are looking for. Paradise Skies is the only hit to make an appearance while Let Go The Line, A Million Vacations and Diamonds Diamonds take a back seat to Lip Service, Gravity, and Night Flights. My guess is this was done to stick to the more hard rock tracks. American Veins is a knock-out opener and I like how the album closes on the guitar-driven Hangover. The result is a sort of ‘best of Max Webster’s album tracks.’ Sarniatown Reggae aside, which I’m guessing is only on here as a 1-minute and 15-second warning to flip the record over.

Max Webster’s performance here is close to what their studio recordings sound like. There are small changes, such as how Hangover is played a little quicker, Terry Watkinson takes some liberties on the keys, and the vocal harmonies are not quite as sharp. That’s about it.

I suppose that is why I ‘just’ really like this album instead of loving it. The main thing I look for in a live album is how well it captures the energy and feel of the performance, and I think this only does an adequate job. Although not recorded as well, there are plenty of bootlegs out there that I feel do a better job. Because CanadianGrooves.ca is a complete service, I found one on YouTube for you:


To be fair, Live Magnetic Air does capture a moment or two of Kim’s energy during the song breaks. The highlight for me is when he says goodnight to the crowd a split second before the last two notes of Hangover are played. Nice touch. But that kind of thing doesn’t happen often enough for me. So, for the overall score, I gave A Million Vacations a 4, and this is a full step below it.


Get your maximum amount of Webster right here:

Max Webster
High Class In Borrowed Shoes
Mutiny Up My Sleeve
A Million Vacations

Live Magnetic Air
Universal Juveniles
Diamonds Diamonds
The Party
(Box Set)


6 thoughts on “[Album Review] Max Webster | Live Magnetic Air

  1. This one I own on vinyl and I can tell you Kev that when I first listened to this record I could hear the similarities in the production and sound of the album due to Terry Browns production as both Magnetic Air and Exit Stage have that similarity not the songs just the production. I like this album as it has Tbone’s favourite song HANGOVER lol…
    Great stuff pal…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has been a long time since I listened to Exit Stage. I’ll have to give it a spin and listen to the similarities. I was listening to Coney Hatch’s debut last night. Not surprised to see Mike Tilka’s name in the production credits. Incredible amount of synergy going on with all of these bands at the time. Kind of like us with the blogs and YouTube, lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great call about Tilka being a part of Hatch’s debut. Little inside info about Coney is that when I get Andy’s Whiskey and the Devil box set he’s agreed to come on and talk about it. Won’t be for a while as its not expected too ship for another month or so but it’s happening at some point. Glad to see you digging the Hatch!

        Liked by 1 person

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