On Wednesday evening to Hastings White Rock Theatre to witness Tubular Bells for Two. Like millions of others in the early 1970s I bought Mike Oldfield's opus and helped make Richard Branson's fortune, but I haven't heard it for at least 30 years - I was attracted by the idea of just two musicians playing the whole thing themselves. Obviously, thanks to modern technology it's now feasible for such feats to be attempted - phrases were continually looped and built upon, but timing and tuning must be absolutely crucial. An element of showbiz could also be seen in one of the two having to run around the stage frantically adjusting mikes, swapping instruments and bashing away at a full drum kit - at one point towards the end he looked really out of breath. They played all the instruments, numerous guitars acoustic, electric and bass, various sampled keyboard sounds, bass drum and cymbal, and of course tubular bells - they even did the 'female' vocals. Also the best use of kazoos I've ever seen at a rock concert. Only one obvious cockup almost at the end in the Sailor's Hornpipe section, which only required two acoustic guitars, but they had to restart after they started out of time with each other. I'd forgotten how good parts of the music were, particularly the lovely gentle ending of 'Side One'on acoustic guitar - made we want to strap on my axe again. The audience loved them. Recommended.
Author of Subterranean City, Beneath the Streets of London, London's Coffee Houses, Decadent London, The Folklore of London, Subterranean City (Revised and Expanded Edition), Netherwood, Last Resort of Aleister Crowley, Lord of Strange Deaths, the Fiendish World of Sax Rohmer; Secret Tunnels in England, Folklore and Fact