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Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells - Fabulous!

Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells – 50th Anniversary Celebration. Warwick Arts Centre. Friday 10 March 2023.

Review by Sue Beech

Some of us are old enough to remember the stunning impact of Tubular Bells when it was first released – the dazzling originality, the haunting themes, the sheer magic of Mike Oldfield’s creation.

This performance delivered all of this and more. Robin Smith gave us his own arrangements of Mike Oldfield’s music, still true to the original but developed to a new level of complexity, a superb blend of musical traditions woven together by a fabulous group of musicians.

The interplay between the two guitarists, Maxime Obideau and Jay Stapley, was at a virtuoso level, and the versatility of the former on a range of guitars, mandolin, and keyboards, was dazzling. Kwesi Edman’s cello and Daisy Bevan’s lovely, ethereal voice wove unusual harmonies into the mix, and Lisa Featherstone’s bass guitar gave a solid foundation to the music – that is, when she was not leading on vocals. The two percussionists, Louise Duggan and Adam Morris, were amazing, providing rich crescendos and subtle rhythms on a huge range of instruments – including, of course, the bells!!

Robin Smith on keyboards was the masterful overseer of this wonderful event – he was the first musician onto the stage, a fitting opening showing his magic on the keyboard, and his subtle direction underpinned the whole performance.

This was a totally entrancing event which lifted us out of the present into an ethereal experience. The three standing ovations were fully deserved – and the final encore, a hornpipe, revealed the delight and joy that all of the group found in their music.

Discover where they are playing next on their tour:


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