Mike Oldfield - Horse Guards Parade

September 10, 1998
Max Bell
Evening Standard Online

Twenty-five years after his multi-million selling Tubular Bells helped launch Virgin Records, and unwittingly kick-started the punk movement by default, Mike Oldfield may have finally won the longest running revenge saga in the music business. Oldfield's DIY concept piece epitomised the lighter side of prog rock and became anathema to the safety pin generation.

As he unveiled Tubular Bells III for a stoical, rain-sodden audience on Horse Guards Parade, however, Oldfield was the one who sounded more in touch with the coffee table division of the techno brigade.

Sporting a cream suit and a garden shears crop, a la Rutger Hauer, Oldfield delivered TB3 as a sequence of percussive extravaganzas with his limpid guitar work augmented by slick club beats and wailing world-music female singers.

Ironically, the easy-listening classical pop arpeggios were enhanced by driving drizzle, the imperious composer shrugging ruefully as the audience wiped their dripping noses on £30 tickets. Oldfield's latest variation on a theme was inspired by his sojourn in Ibiza, and while they may not dance naked in Manumission to The Source of Secrets or Far Above The Clouds it's a fair bet that some contemporary handy child will choose to sample these pieces rather than anything off Never Mind The Bollocks.

Mike Oldfield Tubular.net
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net