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Mike Oldfield - Exposed CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.89 | 115 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Bring on the dancing girls

Mike Oldfield performs live relatively rarely, and consequently has released very little in the way of live recordings. "Exposed" captures Oldfield in 1979, shortly after the release of his "Incantations" album. Originally released as a double LP, "Exposed" is almost entirely taken up with renditions of "Incantations" and "Tubular bells", plus an encore of "Guilty".

The line up for the performance reads like a roll call of the audience, such is the number of musicians called upon. The result however is a very polished recording, to the extent that the sound may be described as clincial. What I mean by that is that with so many musicians involved, there is little room for individual expression even by Oldfield himself, the renditions being more akin to an orchestral performance of a piece of classical music than a rock gig.

As "Incantations" was a double album, it has been significantly truncated here. Parts 1 and 2 are reduced to 26 minutes, largely through the ditching of a significant section of part 1. Parts 3 and 4,which were shorter to start with, are similarly abbreviated down to 20 minutes. The highlight is the wonderful Maddy Prior's vocal contribution, which mirrors her performance on the studio album.

The first part of "Tubular bells" receives a full recital. This live performance is slightly harder than the studio original, but for me it offers nothing to get excited about. Indeed, the ending section comes close to sacrilege with a complete absence of a master of ceremonies to introduce the instruments, and a "Riverdance" feel to the overall performance. Part 2 is considerably shortened, skipping rapidly to the "Piltdown man" section. This too is criminally disembowelled of the section's distinctive grunted vocals.

The rendition of Guilty which closes the album is somewhat extended from its original album version, and incorporates a brief reprise of the main "Tubular bells" theme.

For me, the adaptation of "Incantations" here is far more successful than that of "Tubular bells". The latter sounds too much like the orchestra pit contribution to a theatrical production. In all though, a decent representation of Oldfield and his vast entourage in a live environment.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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