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Mike Oldfield - Live At Montreux 1981 CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.39 | 73 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars I am usually not a very big fan of Mike Oldfield and I don't rate his albums very highly, not even his most popular ones. But this live performance from 1981 is really exceptional! The relatively small size of Oldfield's backing band here is optimal, allowing for a kind of spontaneity and a real band feeling that you simply cannot have with too many people on stage. Not that they are really improvising here or anything, but they perform as a band and not as an orchestra conducted by Oldfield (as was the case on the Exposed album). The rock feeling that I feel is lacking in most of Oldfield's studio albums is really present here.

The band consists of two drummers, a keyboard player, a bass player and a female back up vocalist (there are no lead vocals as such, only wordless chanting). The bass player sometimes play guitar and Mike plays bass at some points as well as a plethora of other instruments. The drummers sometimes play tuned percussions and xylophones and others instruments. The vocalist is Maggie Reilly who sang for Mike on many occasions. She looks a bit bored in this performance compared to the rest of the band.

The performances of Tubular Bells and Platinum really bring these works to a whole new level and in my opinion better their often cold and sterile studio versions by a wide margin. Indeed, everything is better here. The music really comes alive. Tubular Bells gains immensely from this treatment and the total absence of the silly "master of ceremonies" who introduced the instruments on the original version as well as those awful growling vocals on part two can only make it better. I have always felt that putting these things on the Tubular Bells album was like painting a beautiful painting and then throwing something rotten on it! Platinum, similarly, is stripped of some annoying and silly sounds and it is also much more coherent in this performance compared to its four part studio version.

Other things performed are several selections from the very good Q.E.2 album (the most recent album at the time of this performance) and Ommadawn (the great part one).

The sound and picture quality are surprisingly good for a 1981 concert film and overall this is a very good product and a great entry in the famous Live At Montreux DVD series (that include concerts by Yes, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, ELP and many others).

Highly recommended and an excellent addition to any Prog collection.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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