Tubular Bells to ring out in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 21:58 13 July 2013 | UPDATED: 21:58 13 July 2013

Tubular Bells for Two

Tubular Bells for Two


TUBULAR Bells was the album that kick-started Richard Branson’s Virgin Records empire in the 1970s.

Tubular Bells for TwoTubular Bells for Two

Don’t recognise it? The opening ‘piano motif’ was famously used in the soundtrack for horror movie The Exorcist.

The record enjoyed a revival in popularity last year after segments were used in the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony.

And a multi-talented Aussie duo will be playing more than 20 instruments when they perform a new show based on Mike Oldfield’s ‘progressive’ celtic-folk-rock masterpiece.

Originally released in May, 1973, Tubular Bells went on to sell more than 20 million copies worldwide.

It was the album that made Branson’s Virgin label, with the entrepreneur having backed Oldfield to produce a record other companies regarded at the time as “unmarketable”.

Now two Australian musicians, Aidan Roberts and Daniel Holdsworth, are bringing Oldfield’s classic piece to life once more.

Although Tubular Bells originally required more than 30 musicians to perform it, Roberts and Holdsworth have earned great critical acclaim for their two-man show – recreating the sound as authentically as is physically possible with just four hands and four feet.

“Our intention in performing Tubular Bells is not simply to help some baby-boomers relive their youth, but to bring a part of rock music heritage to a new audience,” said Holdsworth.

“We are not trying to give audiences a Mike Oldfield tribute show, but rather take people on a musical journey with an exciting and vibrant performance of an intricate piece of music that is as relevant today as it was in 1973.

“There has been a strange stigma attached to performing classic rock music which has probably come about by too many bad cover bands.

“These albums are an important part of music history, and with many of the original artists no longer around to perform them, it is now time for a new generation to revisit them.”

Tubular Bells ‘For Two’ burst onto the international scene at the Sydney Festival in the pair’s native Australia, and was the smash-hit show of the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, winning a Herald Angel Award and garnering several five star reviews.

Now on a mammoth UK tour, the show will be performed at the Alban Arena in St Albans on Sunday, July 14.

The concert has been painstakingly choreographed to include as many layers of sound as possible. At times the performers have to leap between guitars, pianos and drums – sometimes all three at once.

They also utilise live ‘looping’ technology, where they can record riffs – such as that famous bass line – to be repeated throughout sections of the performance.

None of the music is pre-recorded. It is all created live at each show.

Among the vast collection of instruments onstage are keyboards, umpteen guitars, bass, mandolin, glockenspiel and loop pedals and, of course, tubular bells.

The Alban Arena show is due to start at 7.30pm.

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