"Tubular Bells" live in 1973

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/18/tubular-bells-live-in-1973.html


A 15 million-album-selling flash-in-the-pan. Brings back great memories.


Wow, I mean whoa man I was hella high on this stuff.


In a documentary I recently about the composing of Tubular Bells, Oldfield mentions being inspired by the tape loop / overdubbing work of minimalist composer Terry Riley. (Riley also inspired The Who.)
The experience of watching the beginning of this performance is a lot like the experience of watching the beginning of a performance of the Steve Reich or Philip Glass ensembles.

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What the f*** is the time signature?

god i love this album. i used to play it a LOT back in the day.


I’m with Oldfield about the film. I saw it on network TV when I was too young to be watching that and now have trouble enjoying this wonderful piece of music. It doesn’t help that I keep encountering it in odd places. For example, one dark night when I was leaving work far too late and crossing a college campus in the dark, the carillon in the clocktower began playing this and I nearly … well, fill in the blank. (Turns out there was a convention of carilloneurs and they were one-upping each other with pieces they could play on the clocktower.)


I remember seeing this on late night tv one Friday night in (probably) '73. I was just amazed that he could get it all orchestrated knowing that he’d played all the parts himself and then had to teach all these other guys how to play it. It wasn’t till popped up on the youtubes that I learned a lot of my fave performers were on it. Steve Hillage, Fred Frith, Mike Ratlege, Mick Taylor among others who were in major groups (or would be).


As far as I’m concerned, up there with Gerschwin. His stuff is almost a genre in its own right because it’s so little like anything else. A few of his albums were too far out for me (Amarok…) but TB was far from his only hit. His soundtrack for The Killing Fields was amazing, too.

Should also be mentioned, no TB, no Virgin records, i.e. no Virgin anything. The first thing that Branson took a wild chance on that paid back avalanche returns. Well, him and Tangerine Dream. I remember Virgin Records ads in mid-70s National Lampoon pointing out they’d found TD and Oldfield, shouldn’t you check out our whole collection?


Thanks @pesco I haven’t given this a listen in many many years. And a video of a live performance is icing on the cake.


Don’t get your hopes up. I haven’t seen it since late-night cable TV in 1977, but none of them have time to move around or even look up, they’re too busy.

What really is worth seeing is the live show “Tubular Bells for Two”, I caught at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014. For two guys to pull of a note-perfect duplicate of the album (their goal) is frantically busy, at some points one has to leap across the stage to get to his next instrument. There’s a brief few seconds where only one musician is needed and the other has time to spare to get to his next keyboard. So he picks up a glass of wine from a speaker and sips it languidly, always getting a laugh because the other 51 minutes is like watching Charlie Chaplin try to keep up with the too-fast assembly line.


it’s 6/6/6


Aa a former chorus member, I think it must be very nice to show up at a recital in a tank top instead of a suit.

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They are.

I love his first three albums, Tubular Bells, Ommadawn and Hergest Ridge. Still listen to them to this day. No one has ever done music like this. Instantly transports me to another place.

I heard that Oldfield once said that he was insane while composing these works. I wonder if that is true. If so, I wish he could regain some of that insanity as his subsequent albums were shallow synth-laden efforts with no soul. Oh well. I still have the first three.

PS. He did have one other hit-by-proxy with Hall and Oats cover of his song ‘Family Man’.


I loved Amarok but the less said about Earth Moving the better.

7/8. I have nothing funny to say.


Thank you; now I’m going to have it in my head all day. Especially the part on the album where he exclaims “Tubular Bells!” with great delight, and said bells come in.

I mean really, thank you. It’s a fine thing to have running on mental radio.


you might follow that with bonzo dog’s do dar band item…
now which one was it?

…or even :slight_smile:


I’m watching this and thinking we owe a lot of great records to Branson paying back favors to the guys who sat in for this. LOOK AT ALL THAT HISTORY SITTING THERE!