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Mike Oldfield - Elements - The Best Of (DVD) CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.15 | 32 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Having pre-ordered the new Oldfield cd out shortly, I have been listening a fair bit to the great man recently.

It is fair to say that many people know Oldfield only for albums with Bells on them, certainly in terms of sales and public consciousness. Mention to same people Moonlight Shadow, and most will say, "ooh yes, I liked that. So did my mam!".

All rather unfair, because Oldfield has been responsible for some great music, ranging from the pure prog of Bells and Amarok, through Celtic influenced folk as in Voyager, with pure commercial rock/pop as well.

Given that this is a collection of music videos, it is perhaps unsurprising that there is a fair amount of the more commercial material here, but that really should not put you off getting this as a fairly definitive chronicle of Oldfield releases down the years.

In rating this DVD, I will not pay any attention to the quality of the videos themselves. For example, Don Alfonso, featuring an old Carry On film stalwart, is pure camp and shocking, but it should be realised that videos are, in the main, products of the time or a particular director's interpretation or imagination. This is a music site, and it is on the music it shall be judged.

And, by and large, it passes the test more than adequately.

We have an early performance of TB (made for BBC, I believe), which is a fascinating record of how technology in bringing such a complex work was at 40 years ago, now. It is excellent, although, of course, you can get far better quality live recordings elsewhere of all three Bell cd's.

Some of the absolute high points of his early instrumental work is superbly represented. In Dolci Jubilo, William Tell, Blue Peter theme, and Portsmouth are all utterly sublime, and pure progressive music of the era.

My favourite here is, actually, a cover. The video might be somewhat corny with a sprog attached to Oldfield's lap, but the rendition of The Shadows Wonderful Land is far superior to the sublime version which appeared on QE2.

There are a couple of curiosities, such as the Jon Anderson collaboration Shine, released as a single in the mid 80's. I really enjoy this, but, of course, you need to be a fan of his solo output of the time to enjoy it, so be warned.

The gorgeous voice, and input to Oldfield's career, of Maggie Reilly is well represented, with my particular favourite To France included.

It is fair to state here that if you loathe the later commercial aspects of Oldfield's career, then the last eight to ten videos will not be for you. I did enjoy, so am pretty happy to have them here.

I rather like this DVD, and got it a number of years ago. It is one of the few such discs I have that my wife is extremely happy to sit all the way through, join in, and thoroughly enjoy. Not a bad thing really, eh?

So, four stars for this. Judge not the video (ham sandwich on Shadow on the Wall, anyone?), but the tunes. Here, you have nigh on three hours of top quality

lazland | 4/5 |


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