Album Reviews Tubular Tribute

Published on 8th March 2020

Tubular Tribute – A Tribute to Mike Oldfield [DVD]


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Several times before I have declared on these pages that I am not a big fan of cover/tribute bands. But from time to time I am put to the test on my convictions. This applies very much to the performance of Spanish band Tubular Tribute, the name says it all, a tribute band for Mike Oldfield.

The band’s performance at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer, Holland, last September, evoked unprecedented emotions. On the one hand prompted by the music of the great master, on the other hand by the intense and respectful way in which the Asturians shape their tribute. This show, as well as the other gigs during the short tour of a few Dutch theatres, has been recorded in the format of a double DVD plus double audio CD that has just been released.

The DVD starts somewhat peculiarly with an English introduction by a non-native speaker and an ode to Oldfield, plus black and white images of keyboard player Richard García. At the same time, a somewhat woolly text runs under the image, not quite my cup of tea.

The concert follows, in chronological order, with a “best of” from the four shows, the Zoetermeer gig apparently coming out best with the lion’s share recorded at De Boerderij. Mostly fixed camera positions have been used, especially from both sides of the stage and from the gallery. Unfortunately there are no real close-ups. The sound is not always up to standard: trumpet, vocals and (some) keyboard parts are way back in the mix.

A simple camera setup, directly from the centre of the room at the Purmerend show produces the best images. The mix of aforementioned images is sometimes a bit strange, especially the transitions and fade-outs. Here and there, some mistakes during the musical performance are audible, less noticeable at the time, but now all the more apparent from the comfort of an easy chair. The announcements, mostly from guitarist Rubén Álvarez in rather poor English, have been included almost in their entirety, they nevertheless seem sympathetic and honest.

It is not at all disturbing, on the contrary: intensity, the sheer joy of playing and virtuosity (Ommadawn!) compensate a lot, if not for everything. Álvarez rises to great heights, sometimes almost literally, and from my lazy chair, I get goosebumps and shivers run down my spine once again. The guest appearance of original Oldfield singer Barry Palmer (Discovery), on the other hand, is downright weak; it becomes even more apparent than live in the hall. Next time the band had better keep their money in their pockets.

We are presented with a surprising rendition of Hergest Ridge, not on the set list of the Zoetermeer gig. The combination vocals/vocoder is beautiful, so is the clear acoustic guitar solo; I’m glad I can witness this, definitely a highlight. Return to Ommadawn is also quite special, never played live by the maestro himself, his most recent studio work from 2017. Simply impressive, despite/thanks to some minor errors.

We get a full-fledged view of guitarist Rubén Álvarez’ special technique: staggering virtuosity, playing with his nails, watch his facial expression, full of emotion, constantly moving his head from side to side. A huge contrast with the original: almost stoic, aloof, introverted. One after another iconic solo flows from his skilful fingers, a delight for both eyes and ears. Runner up is Richard García, the silent and driving force behind the keyboards, but quite essential sound-wise. A special mention for Peace/Orabidoo: the director seamlessly merges two versions (Zoetermeer and Uden), quite a spectacle.

An excellent and unpolished reproduction of the performances in the Netherlands by a driven, close-knit band featuring the aforementioned Álvarez, keyboard player García and singer/trumpet player Ariane Valdivié. All in all an appropriate and respectful tribute to the great and unsurpassed music of the legendary Englishman, in the form of a low-budget production with a large share for TT champion and PR man Martcel Albion. Not a wide-scale professional production but a charming document of a successful mini-tour. Muy simpático.

TRACK LISTING
DVD 1:

The Beginning
The Top of the Morning
Tubular Bells
To France
Poison Arrows
Mount Teide
Sheba
Ommadawn
In High Places
Crime of Passion
Punkadiddle
Hergest Ridge

DVD 2:
Return to Ommadawn
Trick Of The Light
Amarok Excerpt
Moonlight Shadow
Platinum
Peace/Orabidoo
Shadow on the Wall
~ Extras:
Hergest Ridge
Peace/Orabidoo
Shadow on the Wall
In High Places

CD1:
Tubular Bells
To France
Poison Arrows
Mount Teide
Sheba
Ommadawn
In High Places
Crime of Passion
Punkadiddle
Hergest Ridge
Trick Of The Light

CD2:
Return to Ommadawn
Amarok Excerpt
Moonlight Shadow
Platinum
Peace/Orabidoo
Shadow on the Wall
~ Extras:
Hergest Ridge
Peace/Orabidoo
Shadow on the Wall
In High Places

MUSICIANS
Richard García – Keyboards, Vocoder
Rubén Álvarez – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin
Luis Senén Fernandez – Drums
Ángel Secades – Electric & Acoustic Guitar
Ariane Valdivié – Lead Vocals, Trumpet, Keyboard
Kike García – Bass Guitar, Background Vocals
~ with:
Barry Palmer – Lead Vocals

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Spain
Date of Release: 21st January 2020

LINKS
Tubular Tribute – Website | Facebook

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