Tubular Bells. An iconic record famed by some for being the basis of the theme music for “The Exorcist”. Those of us a little more familiar with it would fame it for being one long song, split into two for vinyl/cassette purposes and displaying a multitude of instruments, composed by one 19 year old lad from the UK.
I grew up with this being played in the family household, so how appropriate that I took my Dad to go see two apparently sane men attempt to play this epic piece in it’s entirety. You see, Tubular involved a lot of layering of music, recording one instrument at a time. How can so many instruments be played a the one time to keep Tubular Bells faithful to the original? We were about to find out…
We took our seats, Daniel Holdsworth and Tom Bamford came on stage, acknowledged the crowd and took their spots and the oh so familiar introductory notes were played. In came the next instrument, then the next, and before long, they were out of their seats, hitting this, switching that, hitting a drum or cymbal with a spare hand or foot, and at one particular point the headstock of the guitar had to be utilised for a cymbal hit. It was almost amusing in it’s delivery, and was teetering on the edge throughout the performance, which is to be expected when basically doing the decathlon of music.
A break between side A and side B entailed a brief chat with the audience before getting stuck into Side B, drums, obscure vocals, sailors ditty and all! A standing ovation from the sold out crowd and a quick chance to get up close and personal with the Tubular Bells wrapped the evening up.
It was a mesmerising sort of experience. Waiting for each instrument to kick in and waiting to see how they could actually get every bit in. Any mistakes were minor, and something I expected to be part of the show. How they manage to pull something of this magnitude off is a testament to the skill, imagination and dedication it required to play it as they did.
For those familiar with Tubular Bells, or those who wish to see something unique, I suggest you keep an eye out for the next time they are touring. A truly great show!
Where: GPAC Drama Theatre, Geelong
When: Friday June 22
Reviewed by Glenn Lynch