Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells For Two


Review: Herald Scotland

Review by Rob Adams

Published on 10 August 2012

Half-way through their show, Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts stop to “turn the record over”. They’re joking. These Aussies aren’t miming. Quite the contrary; they’re working their fingers to the bone, pressing flesh to frets, keys and drumstick, often two of them simultaneously. And while they have access to technology that wasn’t available when Mike Oldfield toiled over Tubular Bells in the days of ye olde LP, their realisation of this album is a physical as well as a musical feat.

Real-time sampling helps with such passages as the bass line over which the late Viv Stanshall’s plummy tones announced “man-doh-lin”, “two slightly distorted guitars” and of course “tubular bells”. The duo deliver all the parts expertly, grabbing guitar necks amid misbehaving straps and manoeuvring around the stage in time – just – for cues. The sequence where Oldfield resembled two Peter Greens bending blue notes in mellow unison emerges as a truly big moment.

As with the album, the second half doesn’t have quite the same magic, although it requires as much elbow grease and musicality, not to mention doubling on energetic drums and kazoo. It’s still really enjoyable, and the finale captures an apt mood of jovial triumph.

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