Do you know the album by Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells?
Revolutionary for the time, the young musical prodigy created an amazing work - and I remember my music teacher in 1978 playing us the bit that everyone knows, or should know and telling us this was an important piece of music.
You know, where the instruments are named and then played with the recurring theme. Of course bits of the album were used in the Exorcist and the London Olympics and so forth.
I heard the whole album, both sides, and on vinyl and cd. I play it quite often and its successor albums, dvds, other works by Oldfield. And always under the impression that if played live you need a lot of people, and possibly a pipe band for some of the later pieces.
How wrong I was. When I heard that Tubular Bells for Two was coming to Fremantle I did a bit of reading, hey, I like Tubular Bells and wow, a live performance. But by two people? How could that be?
How it can be is by two extremely energetic and hard working people -Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts arraying a bunch of instruments around themselves, learning them, working out how to string it all together and a heck of a lot of practise. Then they bring it to stage and let us watch.
And it's an extraordinary performance. Playing to a full house of enthralled music lovers, some who'd never heard the original, the logistical nightmare of playing each part of the opus was evident. But not in the music because it was wonderful to hear.
This was the musical equivalent of spinning a lot of plates and neither one dropped a plate. A multitude of guitars were exchanged - just these two guys on stage, no one else handing them anything, no one else on stage except them and about 20 instruments.
No grand piano, but keyboards are much more portable. Yes, there was a mandolin, and the signature tubular bells. Watching the fellows race around from place to place, from instrument to instrument, plectrums firmly grasped in the mouth for ease of access because now it's glockenspiel time the energy transfers itself to the music, and a tension grows. So much could go wrong, but doesn't!
And if something does go wrong these guys deal with it - a foot pedal broke off the drum kit during the amazing crescendo of the Piltdown Man sequence. A raw primal segment - complete with vocals and these guys adapted and the audience wouldn't have noticed particularly unless the failed object hadn't been brandished wrathfully in front of them. But the music went on, because these guys are good. Daring and evocative.
This is music close to the edge, but damn it, it's from the edge you get the best view. And if it teeters, you find that these performers have wings and will lift both you and the music over any obstacle and give you a better view yet.
One fellow in the audience had been to see all 4 performances. I wish I had. If they come again I will. They have a website - http://www.tubularbellsfortwo.com/ and an album available. I bought it, and if you like Tubular Bells it might interest you to hear such a energetic version.
10/10 Exultant and watching a rock opera based on Five Miles Out with real planes on the Sid and Nancy Scale.