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

LIVE AT MONTREUX 1981

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

4.35 | 63 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

russellk
Prog Reviewer
4 stars An excellent budget DVD, this is a fascinating insight into MIKE OLDFIELD's early career.

'Live at Montreaux' was recorded at the 1981 Montreaux Jazz Festival. It's well attended, but by no means the stadium rock popularised in the 1980s. The atmosphere is intimate, and OLDFIELD's band is a stripped down version (literally, during the encore!) of the enormous orchestra he carted around with him on the Exposed tour a few years earlier.

The DVD features both parts of 'Tubular Bells', played up tempo and with skill, though not with the stateliness I'd like to have heard. It's evident that this is the music the band knows best, and OLDFIELD ventures quite a long way from the studio script in places. By contrast, the pieces from 'Platinum' and 'QE2' are a little more perfunctory, though I enjoy the way the opening 'QE2' medley flows. However, the clear highlight is seeing Part 1 of 'Ommadawn' performed live, albeit by a small group of musicians. For thirty years the studio version of this track has had complete power over my emotions, and I'm delighted that the essence of the track is preserved in the live version - though the interminable drum solo, performed by three percussionists, does interrupt the flow somewhat.

The DVD is not without flaws. In at least two cases, most obviously during 'Tubular Bells Part 1', the editing is clumsy, with the bass guitarist suddenly on rhythm guitar as the music jumps forward. The colours haven't survived the years well: I'm not sure Maggie Reilly's face was ever quite that shade of blue, for example. That said, the camera operators know their stuff, and most of the essential moments are well captured. Embarrassingly well, in some cases: OLDFIELD cringes as he misses a note, and the dervish dance of some woman in the crowd is immortalised.

For fans of 70s prog rock, this is a valuable document. And for those interested in MIKE OLDFIELD's early career, this is a must.

russellk | 4/5 |

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