Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells

Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells

Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells

The Royal Festival Hall

13th August 2021

Louder Than War Bomb Rating 1

1/10 (Because we don’t have half a bomb) 

As a long-time music fan, I have witnessed a few live events in my time. Even since lockdown ended, I have seen around twenty live bands, so I’m hardly a newbie when it comes to watching live music. It has come in a variety of forms too, from the troubadour wit of John Bramwell to the aural assault of Document. Looking back, I’ve seen most of the greats, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Genesis, so I was really looking forward to seeing Mike Oldfield at his 50th Anniversary concert at The Royal Festival Hall in London.

Who can forget the original broadcast version of Tubular Bells live on BBC in December 1973? An ensemble which included Gong’s Steve Hillage and Pierre Moerlen, Soft Machine’s Mike Ratledge, Henry Cow’s Fred Frith, Rolling Stone, Mick Taylor and a smattering of other virtuoso performers, including of course Mike Oldfield himself and brother Terry on cello.

It was a fabulous show; faithful to the original and something that brought the seemingly impossible to life. With Mike playing all the instruments on the original album, it was a monumental feat. A triumph of its time, and a feather in the cap of the BBC for capturing and broadcasting the whole event live. The album was still riding high in the charts and Oldfield was the darling of the music press.

He would go on to have a string of hit follow ups; Hergest Ridge in ‘74, Ommadawn in ‘75 and various ‘Bells follow ups – II (his fifteenth solo album) in 1992 and III in 1998, none of which would match the unexpected inventiveness of the original.

Recorded at The Manor in Oxford, with the late, great Vivian Stanshall as acting MC, (introducing the instruments one by one in the climactic close to side one), the album was a triumph – melding progressive rock and classical music in an explosive genre mash up that was a hit with young teens and grown ups alike.

The 50th Anniversary show was much anticipated by me and my wife. We booked it back February, a full six months before the show was to take place at The Royal Festival Hall in London. It was not cheap, but bearing in mind that none of these performers are getting any younger we booked it anyway, as it may have been the last chance we would get to see Mike Oldfield live.

We got to the Hall soon after 7.15 and the show started at 7.30 sharp. We were three rows from the front so had amazing seats.

The show started with what sounded like a long, drawn-out guitar driven dirge. We quickly scanned the programme to find that it had been written by Robin A Smith. Quite what it had to do with Mike Oldfield was unclear, except it had been written in the style of some of his later works. We wondered why the main man wasn’t playing and assumed that it was because he hadn’t written it and that he would come on to play ‘his stuff’.

As the night wore on and some of Oldfield’s later works were introduced into the set – Summit Day, composed by him in 1999 followed by Moonlight Shadow from 1983 – we began to realise that we were watching what can only be described as a Mike Oldfield tribute band – a fucking expensive tribute band at that, as we had paid more that £112 for the privilege of seeing them.

We desperately scoured the extensive programme (with multiple photos of Mike Oldfield and a timeline of his releases, as if to rub it in) to try and establish what was happening, only to find on page 10, buried in the section About This Performance Of Tubular Bells the line: “Mike really loved the idea and although he couldn’t be part of the actual performance, he has been encouraging me all the way” –  (Robin A Smith – Musical Director & Arranger).

There was nothing else, certainly not at the time of booking, and frankly we hadn’t been near any website. Why would we? We’d booked to see Mike Oldfield for £226.63 (including booking fee) and expected to see him. Nothing gave us the impression that we were going to see a covers band.

The first half finished with Moonlight Shadow. Remember the enchanting original with vocals by Maggie Reilly? Well, this was nothing like that. What we got was Lisa Featherston belting out a theatrical version – straining her vocal ability to the max – shouting into the mic, completely murdering the original. I found myself looking the other way, seething inside that I was witnessing such a travesty.

The band itself, frankly, wasn’t that bad – Jay Stapely, a competent guitarist from Tubular Bells Live, a Mike Oldfield tribute band (who say on their Facebook page that they are ‘not affiliated with the ‘official’ London shows’!) was good, but he was not a showman and more importantly, he was not the person I had come to see – the man who stood proudly atop a platform at the 2012 Olympics and reminded us just what a milestone the original Tubular Bells really was. His incredible guitar playing sent shivers down your spine. No, this wasn’t him, which is no disservice to Jay – he just wasn’t the man we’d come to see.

Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells- 2

We broke for the interval and a chance to complain. ‘There’s no one here to complain to’ said the steward outside the door to the auditorium, despite the programme informing us that ‘We have a duty manager available at all times’) . ‘But take this email address and tell them how you feel’ she added. (more of that later).

We returned for the main event – ‘4 – Tubular Bells (Composed by Mike Oldfield (1971-1973, released 1973)’ as it stated in the programme – like we didn’t already know.

When we came into the room there were some, what looked like, the local sixth form limbering up in the middle of the stage. Apparently we were in for dance show – as if Tubular Bells needed the extra visuals to enhance it.

The band cranked into action and the old familiar piano notes tinkled into our ears. Who can forget the shiver we experienced when hearing them for the first time? Later used in the opening sequence of The Exorcist, they have become almost as recognisable as the original Microsoft start up sequence (written by Eno no less) or the first Nokia ring tone – so iconic. Well, that’s where the magic evaporated.

I saw Cirque De Soleil’s Quidam in the early ‘90s – an enchanting show with world class acrobats and dancers. They thrilled with their aerobatic dance sequences; expertly climbing up ropes, dropping within an inch of the stage, all with incredible flair and grace – mystical and above all, totally convincing and absorbing.

This was nothing like that.

What we got was a troupe of wobbly acrobats who jumped and pranced around the stage, shakily climbing on each other’s shoulders; first one on one, then two on one; the poor unfortunate one at the base shuddering under the weight, and in the words of my wife ‘they look scared to death, as if they are totally relieved that no one fell’. It was painful to watch and almost obliterated any chance of concentrating on the music which was playing behind them.

So focused was the show on the performance, the musicians were secondary. The two guitarists were hidden behind the piano, so that any interest we may have had in the Tubular Bells performance itself was obscured. It was dreadful. All the while, a single unimaginative burning sphere rotated on a filmed backdrop.

…and Mike Oldfield was not there…

When it came to the finale, the keyboard player (I think it was Robin A Smith himself), stage right kept throwing his arms towards the guitarists and pianist, as if to claim some kind of credit for the notes they were playing. He hadn’t conducted anyone else. He’d remained fairly static throughout the performance. But it was clear that, as it came to the close, he wanted to garner some reflected glory from Mike Oldfield (did I say he wasn’t there?) himself by jumping around in a kind of ownership ritual.

The show ended with the Sailor’s Hornpipe with some of the more easily entertained audience on their feet clapping along like deranged seals. I upped and left.

So I paid £226.63 including the booking fee to see a tribute band. Not only that but it was fucking dreadful. Not because the individual members of the band were particularly bad, but because Mike Oldfield didn’t turn up, and rather than anyone make it clear at the time of the booking, or during the six months that preceded the gig, they went ahead and produced the concert without him without telling me. Worse than that, what could have been an adequate but very expensive performance, was turned into an absolute joke by the terrible display of inelegant junior acrobatics on show.

I complained by email to the venue. The email didn’t work. I found an alternative email and this was the response:

“As your order was made via Ticketmaster you will have to pursue this matter with them. We do thank you for your feedback. This will be passed on to the producers of the show and will be kept in mind for any future shows where the composer is still living and may be expected to appear.”

Where the composer is still living!

I told them that their response was unacceptable and got the following:

“I am sorry for any confusion over the Tubular Bells event; however this was not our intention. Following feedback from the first few shows, the majority of people have enjoyed them. We are unable to offer a refund in this case, however we do thank you for your feedback. This has been passed on to the producers of the show and will be kept in mind for any future shows”.

As far as I am concerned if you book Mike Oldfield, you shouldn’t have to scour the website to see if it’s actually him. There was nothing at the time of booking to suggest that Mike Oldfield would not be there. If you book Elton John, you don’t need to scour the website to see if it’s actually him. Admittedly some performances at the Royal Festival Hall are by dead classical composers, but Mike Oldfield is very much alive.

The show should have been billed as “Robin A Smith’s Tubular Bells” – like “Roger Water’s – The Wall” – so you know exactly who is playing and you may not be getting the original – or better, in this case ‘Mike Noldfield’ – just like Noasis!

Words by Nigel Carr. More writing by Nigel on Louder Than War can be found in his Author’s archive. You can find Nigel on Twitter and Facebook Listen to Nigel’s show on Radio Alty – Wednesdays 9-11 pm

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Nigel is Interviews & Features Editor at Louder Than War, freelance writer and reviewer. He has a huge passion for live music and is a strong supporter of the Manchester music scene. With a career in eCommerce, Nigel is a Digital Marketing consultant and runs his own agency, Carousel Projects specialising in SEO and PPC. He is also co-owner and Editor at M56 Media/Hale & Altrincham Life, and a Presenter on Radio Alty.

33 COMMENTS

  1. I knew that Oldfield wasn’t performing (someone on a Facebook thread had spoken to Sally who had confirmed it – so you’re right, it really wasn’t made obvious). Apparently, he hates touring and has no interest in returning to the UK.

    I thought the band were ok most of the time (although, as you say, Moonlight Shadow was appalling) but I really can’t understand why someone thought they needed the acrobats. The music doesn’t need anything added to it and, frankly, it was just a distraction. I was frequently pulled out of concentrating on the music as the audience applauded another pointless circus trick.

    I think I had a better night than you did, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who was a fan of the original album.

  2. It’s somewhat interesting that a features editor didn’t bother to check the details of the concert which – at every step of the way, in virtually every bit of advertising collateral – stated clearly that Mike Oldfield wasn’t performing.

    And yep, the programme clearly gave the running order of events and who was performing; again, maybe you should have read that first?

    i’d agree with you that the wholesale slaughter of Moonlight Shadow was an atrocity that should see the perpetrators dragged over to Geneva to stand trail. And the sixth-form am-dram performance was superfluous and actually bordering on the hilarious at points.

    But the performance of TB was surefooted and hard to find fault with. Again, the programme did explain that Robin Smith (a long-time Mike Oldfield collaborator) had worked on a rearrangement and that it had been okayed by Mike himself. The use of a cellist was inspired, for example, as was getting Jay Stapely in to perform guitar duties; another performer with a long history of working with Oldfield.

    I enjoyed it for the music, the performance, and a few belly laughs at the theatrics. In terms of a rearrangement, it could have been much worse; check out Mike Oldfield’s own 5.1 surround remix of Hergest Ridge and you might be relieved that he wasn’t actually involved further…

    • Hi Ant

      I bought the tickets (as stated in the review) back in February and there was no mention of it being a tribute act with acrobats. I think they may have clarified matters since, following complaints (see below), but I didn’t see anything. A few have pointed out a line the website, but you have no idea what was on there in February. Also note that I didn’t go with the intention of reviewing it. It was a treat for my wife. It was only during and afterwards I felt it appropriate to warn everyone.

  3. Hi Nigel! Just saw you review on Mike Oldfield. Did you managed to talk to Ticketmaster? I’ve paid 398 pounds, plus travel (im from portugal), hotels etc to found out that the artist that I wanted to see was not there and that was not stated anywhere in the purchase process. In Portugal this was unthinkable to happen, they would obligate to announce tribute band or something to not mistake the client.
    Thanks in advance for the help!!

    • Hi Andre

      I’m really sorry to hear that

      The venue has refused to refund and Ticketmaster have not yet replied. I really hope you get a refund. Please let me know what happens!

  4. I glad I didn’t go then. I booked in February and fully expected this to be Oldfield himself, so I suspect there’s been some revisionism. It certainly wasn’t clear he wasn’t involved.

    After being out earlier in the week I had some symptoms, and as the communication from the venue clearly stated “if you have any covid symptoms please stay at home, and we’ll be happy to provide a refund in those circumstances. Contact Ticketmaster 24 hours before the event”.

    So I did email them, and a full 17 hours later, just 9 hours before the event, TM responded saying they’d referred it to the venue and the refund was refused.

    I then copied in the venue with a screenshot of the clear instructions and asked what was going on. I got a reply apologising again and promising a reply within 3 working days. That was Friday. It seems to be another case of “We’ve got your money, we’re keeping it, and you can talk to the hand”, by a disreputable organisation.

  5. Hi Nigel,
    I have read with very great interest your review. My friend and I booked tickets to the concert around Feb this year for last Thursday. Until the Monday before the concert we believed from the adverts that it was Mike Oldfield in concert. On the Monday before the concert I was looking again at the adverts on line to see what time the doors opened before the concert. I was amazed to see on one advert after a huge amount of detail right near the bottom of the advert a line which said that Mike Oldfield was not appearing on the tour. We booked tickets believing from the adverts that he was. I tried to call the RFH to no avail as they do not have phone lines open due to the Covid situation and have been in lots of email correspondence with them to do avail. I have tried to phone Ticketmaster through whom my friend bought the tickets but there is no telephone number and I looked for an email address for me to contact Ticketmaster about this to no avail. They have email contact re things like re selling your ticket and if you have not received your ticket. As I did not book the tickets as my friend booked them for us I did not register with Ticketmaster. I have spent about 12 hours getting nowhere. We were so annoyed that Mike Oldfield was not as we believed ever going to appear that we did not go to the concert. Could you please let us know how you get on with your complaints and if possible let us have a direct contact to email someone about this at Ticketmaster. Thanks. Nigel.

  6. I was excited, to say the least, reading the advert on f/book.
    After reading it several times I found it strange that, although Mike’s name was mentioned it did not specify he was actually playing in person
    I posted the question, but no response forthcoming. I decided not to cough up my hard earned cash.
    I’m empathetic with those who did fork out thinking they would see the man in person. Sharp practice springs to mind

  7. It was fantastic! I paid £65 for three tickets, well placed viewing! Myself, my Mother and my daughter had a marvellous experience. Bravo! Would you prefer to be in lockdown again?! Such negativity. I feel sorry for you, you miserable cretins.

  8. Hi Nigel, I totally agree with you, so glad I wasn’t the only one so disappointed: The show was a real let-down. I was really looking forward to the real thing and being elevated by beautiful sound. Instead, in the first half I was starring at a glowing planet with odd shapes and changing colours, then “moon shadow” remastered just did not work as the singer was shouting over the musical ensemble and lastly, the acrobats or ballet school which was nothing to do with purity of Mike O’s music. The only saving grace ( in my case) I bought the ticket last week and paid really little for it.

  9. It was always clear from the beginning in the info I saw that Mike Oldfield wasn’t playing but stated that the event was endorsed by him. I booked to hear the music played live as you would for a favoured composer. We did comment on the acrobats detracting from the music. Wasn’t needed and could have been pre-recorded and shown in the background

  10. I loved the show. Bought 2 tickets for £45 directlyon the Royal FestivalHall website. I was fully aware that MO won’t be performing. Great value for money. Show was excellent In my opinion.

  11. I didn’t go because I knew Mike wouldn’t be performing, and so didn’t want to shell out 100’s of pounds. Here’s hoping he comes out of semi retirement to perform in 2023.

  12. I highly recommend Tubular Bells For Two if they should come tour way. Two insane Australians playing all of Tubular Bells between them and making a much better fist of it than that shower.

  13. We too were sorely disappointed that Mike Oldfield was not in the show, we were misled. we took our daughter and Granddaughter as a birthday treat paying all that money only to be let down. The performance was ok for us but that’s not the point. Like you I emailed them and was told to contact Ticketmaster. Mike Oldfield must have been aware of this .

  14. I agree when I bought my tickets I was very much of the belief that Mr O would be performing. There was nothing to suggest otherwise. And the banner headline ‘Mike Oldfields Tubular Bells’ now feels like a deliberate marketing ploy set out to suck in the unwary.

  15. I’ve just stumbled across your review and am open-mouthed! Like you, we bought our tickets back in Feb never thinking for one moment we would not be seeing Mike Oldfield. Maybe there was something in the wording of the advert or the small print but the ticket prices and several performances in a week would leave no doubt it was the man himself. Obviously not.
    We were there on the Friday. When it kicked off (to a half empty hall) I said to my missus this is NOT Mike Oldfield but she very much thought it was. As we were about two-thirds back I couldn’t clearly make out his face on stage so thought maybe he’s taller and now looks different than I imagined. I still had my doubts and kept thinking this HAS to be a support act, especially after hearing the appalling desecration of Moonlight Shadow. I Googled to find who the support band may be but obviously found nothing.
    When the same band (enlarged) reappeared after the interval and began the intro to TB I was gobsmacked. We still had a disagreement about the keyboard player but I was more convinced than ever it wasn’t MO. Something just didn’t seem right. The playing was OK but the sound was far too muddy and heavy for my ears, nothing like the clarity and transparency Tubular Bells should be. I also couldn’t understand why ‘Mike Oldfield’ was just playing keyboards, although I now believe he may not be able to play guitar (not sure if that’s true). Note I’m not commenting about the circus act – I went to hear the music.
    After the show I felt a huge sense of disappointment and bewilderment. Even allowing for covid I was very surprised how many empty seats there were. Obviously others had sussed the event out. I’d also given up wondering about MO and just assumed I didn’t recognize him after all these years. Then I read your review!
    I now feel an absolute idiot, totally conned. In hindsight others may say I didn’t do my homework but I’ve been going to concerts for over 40 years and never been deceived like this. Ticketmaster and/or the RFH should be disgusted with themselves. As you’ve found out there’s about as much chance getting a refund as they would refund my train fare and hotel accommodation – they have our money so couldn’t give a toss. Mike Oldfield probably doesn’t care either.
    I still play the beautiful Tubular Bells 2 DVD from Edinburgh which wipes the floor over the nonsense at the Festival Hall. I now fear my love of the original album and the DVD will be forever tainted by this debacle. In September I’ve got tickets for Genesis at Birmingham – I better start checking it’s not a bloody tribute band!!! Some may argue it already is.

    • To be fair apart from a few trolls on Twitter most people are supportive and understand the mis-selling. The fact it now states ‘Please note that Mike Oldfield is not performing at this event’ now on the Southbank site means nothing. If he wasn’t going to play it should have stated that clearly at the checkout. it did not, therefore it is unlawful.

  16. Hi Nigel, I totally agree with you. When my dad bought the tickets for the show for the 11th he initially thought it was Mike Oldfield playing, hence why he bought the tickets. Although personally I liked the acrobatics, I agree with you that they were a bit wobbly in areas. And in all honesty didn’t have much of a story to it. But a show’s a show.

  17. So if you go to see Beethoven 9th at The Royal Festival Hall. Are you seeing a cover band of Beethoven. When I bought the tickets it was blatantly obvious that Mike Oldfield wouldn’t be there, but a composer and musicians that Mike Oldfield knew and approved of.

    • Jim, Beethoven’s been dead 194 years lol! In the words of the venue (maybe you missed it?) …

      “We do thank you for your feedback. This will be passed on to the producers of the show and will be kept in mind for any future shows where the composer is still living and may be expected to appear”

      It was not blatantly obvious as he is very much alive. Have you read the other comments or did you just fancy a bit of a troll?

    • I think Jim’s point is absolutely spot on. The London Symphony Orchestra (or any other) are clearly a covers band and Beethoven should be there in person. He should get off his backside, crawl out of his grave and put in an appearance at every performance of his works. Maybe to make it easier he should only be expected to turn up for the 9th Symphony. It’s blatantly obvious.

  18. I bought tickets and saw the second show. I knew that Mike Oldfield wasn’t playing when I booked and I knew that there would be acrobats. In the end, I enjoyed the acrobats more than the music I’d come to listen to.

    Maybe things improved in later shows but from row G in the stalls on that Sunday afternoon, the sound was quite frankly appalling – a horribly over-amped muddy mess of bass completely obliterating a lot of what was trying to happen on top of it, all through Tubular Bells. I last heard TB live when Charles Hazelwood and his band did it at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (10 years ago?), which was a complete triumph. This was pretty pathetic.

  19. Cost me 180 nicker for the show.. not cheap… I thought it was Oldfield until my Mrs spotted it wasn’t..
    It wasn’t the best gig I’ve been to but 1 out of ten is a bit harsh?
    The musicians were great and was our first time in that venue which was really nice.
    I also thought the two guitarists worked well also..

  20. My wife booked this back in February. We realised on the morning of the concert (8th August) that Mike wasn’t featuring, but as we were staying in a hotel at County Hall, some 200yds from the Royal Festival Hall, and having spent ~£250 for tickets; we went anyway. We were in the second row, with a perfect view of the stage. My wife loved Lisa’s rendition of “Moonlight Shadow”. The musicians were excellent. The troupe were a little superfluous.

    Along with some shopping, a little sight seeing, and a couple of other activities; it was a rather pleasant (if wet) weekend away from Northumberland.

  21. Just a tiny (or not so tiny) detail. From the beginning of the article: Terry Oldfield never played cello, but flutes. The only time (to my knowledge) that cello has been part of a Tubular Bells performance, it was by Rosa Cedrón, in the TB3 London concert.

  22. I went for the afternoon concert on the 14th. I did find out about Mike not being there on Facebook about a month after booking, but thought it would be nice to get away from home for a day.
    It was a curates’ egg of a show. Interesting in parts, and the performers were skilled at their jobs (the re-interpretation of moonlight Shadow did disappoint). My main criticism was that the acrobatic performance distracted from the, oddly mixed, music. Was it meant to be a show, or a concert??
    What was worse was the realisation that all the hip young dudes from when it originally came out are gone – it was more like a day trip from a retirement home, and that I’m now in the same category :-(

  23. This is my email to Southbank. Their reply was the same one you got:

    Hello
    I attended the Tubular Bells performance last night and was left feeling cheated and disgusted by the fact that Mike Oldfield was not playing at the event.

    I bought two tickets at £152.60 each, so over £300 for two of the best seats, which were socially distanced at the time of purchase (FSTA row D Seat 22 and 25) but we found two men sitting between us on arrival. Thankfully, they were good enough to shift over, but it left me wondering if we overpaid for tickets before the social distancing rules changed, because tickets appear cheaper now…
    The first 30 minute warm up was not all Mike Oldfield’s music. I didn’t pay to listen to somebody else’s music. I thought I’d be listening to Mike Oldfield playing his own music. Even so, there is no mention that I’d be subjected to the work of Robin A Smith for the opening act. It sounded like a 2nd rate amateur act, and I charitably thought at the time that it’s probably just a sound-check before Mike strides onto the stage.

    When that 30-minute cacophony finally ended and we ran to the bar, I still thought Mike would be taking to the stage after the break… I then spend the next hour and a bit hoping I hadn’t got it all wrong and he’d still be making an appearance.

    The acrobats were good, but they totally took away from the music, and I barely remember even hearing Tubular bells. I was distracted from the music and distracted from the show by constantly thinking… he’s probably just stuck in traffic due to the rain… any minute now… is that him over there…

    I’d happily pay £30 to £50 for a show of this calibre but £300+ is an out-and-out robbery.

    My wife at least got a laugh looking at my angry face during the warm-up and then arguing that old man in the band on guitar was in fact Mike Oldfield… I even met a woman after the show who thought he was Mike Oldfield. This proves to me that I was far from the only one who expected Mike Oldfield to be playing.

    It was billed as a 50-year anniversary event, and I stupidly jumped at the tickets. On reflection, I think it was very underhanded and done in full knowledge that people like me would buy tickets thinking Mike was putting on the show. Not Robin A Smith, who looked very angry throughout btw.
    Can I have my money back please?
    Regards

  24. When I saw the show billed as Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells it was clear to me that Mike would not be there. He’s also said on many occasions that he’s retired and doesn’t like playing live. However I can see how the statement could be misinterpreted.

  25. I too spent over £300 having been conned by the cleverly worded marketing. I think they should be taken to court for deception. Daylight robbery and nothing we can do?

  26. Our story is the same. We booked a couple of nights in London specially for this event, also booked 6 months in advance as soon as tickets went on sale anticipating they’d sell out fast. We travelled down from Sheffield on the Megabus (another unfortunate experience with some nutcase drivers).
    Couldn’t believe it when I read in an article in July that MO wouldn’t be there. Paid £320 for our two tickets only to find we could’ve got some for £10 during the week of our show.
    Maybe we didn’t read the small print, but I can’t help feeling I’ve been swindled. Would appreciate at least a partial refund (considering the nose dive in tickets prices), after all there was a show to be seen and despite MO’s absence, was enjoyable.

  27. Reading this I’m reminded of the Blair Witch Project and my disappointment in learning afterward that it wasn’t genuine found footage.

    It was clear and obvious to us at the time of booking that Mike Oldfield wasn’t performing but in the same way we don’t expect Bach, Beethoven or Mozart to perform their works live, we were looking forward to the experience of hearing the live musicians, who as you say did a terrific job and we enjoyed the acrobats and thought they interpreted the music well. It was a breath of fresh air after the 18 months we’ve all had. We could have done without the crap at the beginning accompanied by 1980s computer graphics but although it’s sad if people were disappointed it’s a stretch to say anybody was swindled or that refunds should be due.

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