Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells ‘For Two’
By Sam Cleeve Published
The human body’s a pesky thing. Consider the following scenario: you’re a musician who’s spent the better part of two decades mastering a complete range of different instruments – guitars, keyboards, drums, the lot. But then all of a sudden, you find yourself limited by the fact you only have two of each limb (well, that and your sonically-challenged drinking buddies). What can you do?
You buy some loop pedals, grab the only bloke who in the village who owns a mandolin, and together, you commit every part of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells to memory. That’s what. Together, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells ‘For Two’ sees Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts recreate the 1973 recording in all its mad glory, looping, sampling and playing every single part of its two sides live.
But this show isn’t purely about the technical wizardry or the duo’s non compos mentis commitment. There’s a whole generation in this (sold out) room tonight for whom Tubular Bells was a truly seminal, epoch-defining work. Barry Manilow’s eponymous debut came out in 1973 too, you know. But somehow the idea that a two-man recreation of that record would have shifted tickets in quite the same way is unconvincing.
Too slow an instrument change, a misplaced pedal tap, or a incorrect keyboard setting, and the whole performance falls apart. So it’s a testament to the pair’s talents that the audience never really worry that it will. Forget the circus troupes – Tubular Bells ‘For Two’ is the only tightrope walk worth seeing at this year’s Fringe.