Aussie musicians Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts on Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells For Two
The pair aim to recreate the album in its entirety live on stage
This article is from 2012.
Surely everyone has heard at least something from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells – even if it’s just in the soundtrack to The Exorcist – but two Australian musicians, Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts, know it better than most. It’s a truly iconic album, and the pair of them are attempting to play the whole thing between them. It promises to be an extraordinary live performance.
‘It came about by accident, really,’ explains Holdsworth. ‘We decided to try playing it on two guitars, then it just grew and grew until there were about 20 instruments, and we were trying to recreate the whole album as closely as we possibly could with just our four hands and four feet.’
That means leaping between pianos and drums across a stage, and looping and overdubbing melodies on the spot. ‘It took many months of practice,’ admits Holdsworth. ‘When we first started playing it, sometimes you’d find yourself running to the wrong instrument. But you just go with it – that’s part of the fun.’
All this running about must bring its comedy moments: was that the aim of the show? Holdsworth says no: ‘We’re not poking fun at it. But it’s still a funny show. But that’s more to do with the predicament we’ve placed ourselves in.’ And, he admits, things have been known to go wrong. ‘There was one show when half-way through “side two” we lost power to half of the stage. We ended up sharing a piano and a guitar, frantically singing parts we couldn’t play. From the moment you play the first note, there’s no stopping.’
Oldfield himself hasn’t had any involvement in the show, but Holdsworth is confident that he’d like it if he saw it: ‘We’ve given the utmost respect to the work. I think the album still stands up today. No one really writes music like this at a commercial level any more. It’s like watching a great film – it takes you on an emotional journey.’
Assembly George Square, 623 3030, 2–27 Aug (not 13), 9pm £10.