also by Mike Oldfield:
Confident, energetic live album performed at the pinnacle of Oldfield's symphonic instrumental period in the 1970s. Reflecting his increased personal confidence, his epics are presented with a little more rock and rhythm in them.
He doesn't hang about, playing the shimmering minimalism of "Incantations" in a cut-down version. This is most effective in part 3, shortened from its original dragging 15 minutes to a much more punchy 4 minutes. But all the musical ideas are given chance to shine: the flute concerto over dense string shimmers, Maddy Prior's ghostly "Diana" and "Hiawatha" songs, Pierre Moerlen's vibe atmospheres in part 4, and all the album's dynamic builds and contrasts. Its only disadvantage is the rawer sound compared to the polished studio version, probably coming across better in the flesh.
The old favourite "Tubular Bells" is revisited, with all the material from part 1 present and the weaker part 2 somewhat shortened. It's rocked and funked up, as if he's bored of playing his biggest hit straight. Oldfield and his band have a lot of fun, use all the instrumental colours that the piece deserves, strip the goofy voiceovers, and get all its essentials across. As a surprisingly good encore they play "Guilty", a catchy instrumental, with bubbling disco bassline and beat, based on a distinctively Oldfield-style guitar theme.
October 17, 2004