|Tubular Bells For Two | Sydney Festival|
|Written by Ashley Walker|
|Wednesday, 11 January 2012 11:44|
The stage lies strewn with Nord and Roland synthesisers, guitars galore, a glockenspiel, a drum kit and of course some Tubular Bells. There is enough equipment here for five or six musicians. Out walk multi instrumentalists Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts. What looks like equipment chaos quickly becomes a tight and near perfectly co-ordinated rendition of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.
Oldfield’s original was a 25 minute instrumental piece released in 1973 which was an unlikely smash hit, helping launch Virgin Records. It’s hard to believe that the rather gentle opening piano piece was used to scare the living sawdust out of everyone in the movie The Exorcist. Oldfield tried to capitalise on his success with a series of sequels and remastered albums. None of these etched their way into popular culture like the original.
This isn’t exactly a composition that allows you time to change instruments. Screaming guitars leap out, suddenly increasing the intensity. The press release notes that all these movements between instruments had to be carefully choreographed.
Holsdworth and Roberts take a fairly laid back approach to things, one even asks the other if he’s ready before they begin. Like all good musicians, they watch and feed off each other constantly. This show has toured Australia sporadically since 2009, even putting in an appearance in Darwin, so they have had a lot of time to iron out less fluent movements. This clearly shows.
As the musicians make their way around the instruments, you find yourself gaining a greater appreciation for all the little layers and textures that are built up throughout the piece. In fact, it is much easier to break a piece of music down to its various parts after seeing it live.
For those who are wondering why the performance of a 25 minute song is listed in the Sydney Festival program as a 1 hour and 15 minutes, it is because they play the B-side of the record as well. This is referred to as Part 2 or Sailor’s Horne Pipe. This is a fairly meandering piece which at times resembles a sea chanty. However the growled utterances which come in about half way though are a definite highlight.
This show will appeal to long time fans of Tubular Bells as well is Bell virgins. It is also a great opportunity to see two musicians in perfect synch with each other. This is a thoroughly enjoyable night out.
Sydney Festival 2012
Tubular Bells for Two
Venue: Reginald Theatre | Seymour Centre, Chippendale
Dates: January 10 – 15, 2012