To celebrate next year’s 50th anniversary of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, the multi-million-selling and multi-award-winning album will be performed live in concert for a celebratory UK tour.
Part of the fabric of popular culture, Tubular Bells is world-renowned as one of the most celebrated examples of music in film for its soundtracking of horror classic The Exorcist. Its legacy was cemented with Oldfield’s performance of the album’s main theme at the iconic London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, one of the rare performances of the project he has given.
Tubular Bells The 50th Anniversary Celebration will feature an expansive live group, conducted and arranged by Oldfield’s long-term collaborator Robin Smith. It will see Tubular Bells performed in full, along with further Oldfield compositions, touring across the UK beginning at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall on 3rd February, right through until the end of March.
A version of the show premiered at Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank in London last year, with The Times calling it ‘… a slick presentation of Tubular Bells at 50’, and the Mail on Sunday commenting ‘… the bells do the business’.
Tubular Bells, created in 1971 and released in 1973, was the debut studio album by English multi-instrumentalist, composer, and songwriter Mike Oldfield. At just 17 years old when he started composing the music, Oldfield recorded and played almost all the instruments on the album, gained worldwide recognition when the opening theme was used for the soundtrack of the horror film, The Exorcist and went on to become the highest selling instrumental album of all time.
A bold and progressive fusion, Tubular Bells is a journey through classical, jazz, folk, progressive rock, and electronica and went on to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition in 1974.
Robin Smith, conductor of the show, was completely mesmerised by Tubular Bells the moment he heard it. He was educated at the Royal Grammar School High Wycombe and then studied Composition at the Royal College of Music. He spent several years working as a piano/keyboard player in Africa, the Caribbean, USA, and Europe before coming back to UK to join National Youth Jazz Orchestra. He quickly became the principal pianist and spent most of his free time composing new jazz compositions.
Smith has collaborated with Mike Oldfield for over 30 years, with performances of Tubular Bells including at Edinburgh Castle, and also the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
On the tour, Smith says:
“Along with the musicians, I’m really thrilled to be offering this beautiful re-imagined version of Tubular Bells to a wider audience up and down the country.
It was premiered at the Royal Festival Hall in August 2021 to great acclaim, as an early celebration of Mike Oldfield’s stunning work – so to be touring the UK in the 50th year is a huge privilege for me and a perfect tribute to one of England’s greatest composers.
Joining us on the tour will be the renowned guitarist, Jay Stapley who performed with me at the iconic Tubular Bells II concert live from Edinburgh Castle in 1992.
The wonderful thing about Tubular Bells is that it never seems to age, the actual composition is just perfect and is as spell-binding now as it was 50 years ago.
It incorporates so many things – folk and rock, blues and jazz which evoke such melodic beauty and drama. This performance also features others works by Mike: Moonlight Shadow, Omadawn and Summit Day.”
2023 Tour Dates
3rd February Cardiff St. David’s
5th February Brighton Dome Concert Hall
8th February Bristol Hippodrome
9th February Poole Lighthouse
10th February Guildford G Live
11th February Exeter Great Hall
13th February Birmingham New Alexandra
14th February Buxton Opera House
15th February Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
16th February Gateshead Sage
18th February Southend Cliffs Pavilion
19th February Leicester De Montford Hall
24th February Basingstoke Anvil
2nd March Oxford New Theatre
3rd March Portsmouth Guildhall
4th March Torquay Princess Theatre
6th March Edinburgh Festival Theatre
7th March Glasgow King’s Theatre
8th March Perth Concert Hall
10th March Coventry Warwick Arts Centre
11th March Ipswich Regent
12th March High Wycombe Swan
14th March Manchester Palace Theatre
15th March Reading Hexagon
18th March Stockton Globe
19th March Chester Storyhouse
20th March Llandudno Venue Cymru
24th March Swansea Arena
29th March Harrogate Royal Hall
30th March Sheffield City Hall
31st March Bath Forum
Tickets available from: www.mikeoldfieldofficial.com
Feature Photo – Manuel Harlan)