This is a great DVD of two live performances of Mike Oldfield. Side One is Tubular Bells II performed live at Edinburgh Castle. Mike and his other musicians, and the orchestra all play pretty close to the original album of Tubular Bells II. It's rather disappointing that the "Altered State" segment has to be a part of his most cherished album ever. I cringe every time I here the album go into that annoying "caveman-like" tangent. It follows "Tattoo" (with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards" on bagpipes) which is my favorite part of TB II.
On Side Two of the DVD, Mike and his fellow performers play his 1998 album Tubular Bells III at the Horse Guards Parade in London. If you already bought his DVD of "The Art in Heaven -Millennium Bell Concert", you will see many of his same performers are with him on this performance of Tubular Bells III.
The sound quality is excellent on both sides of this DVD. However, strangely enough, the video quality is better on the earlier TB II performance. Not to say that TB III is bad, it's just not as good.
Now, I know everybody who likes Mike Oldfield is criticizing him for re-recording and re-packaging Tubular Bells over and over, and over again these past 30 plus years. But, if it wasn't for the 1992 release of Tubular Bells II, I would have probably just let myself forget all about him. I really didn't follow Mike Oldfield's music much after Crises (1983) and The Killing Fields (1984). I didn't care for how Mike Oldfield was doing less long played projects and started to perform pop sounding ditties with other singers. Sometimes, you wouldn't know if you were listening to Mike Oldfield or ABBA. "Family Man", "To France", "Moonlight Shadow", etc. And when I saw "Discovery" (1984) and seen that it had more short pop songs with vocals, I just sort of gave up on Mike Oldfield, altogether. So I think, TB II was a smart move for Mike Oldfield to re-introduce himself to the music world. "Tubular Bells" (1973) was considered an innovative Progressive Rock achievement, and so TB II of 1992 had to compete with the modern day New Age music market. I don't think TB III is any great disappointment, but I won't give it a miss either. To see it performed live now actually makes me appreciate the album a lot more.
And why shouldn't Mike Oldfield try and keep Tubular Bells alive? When we go to see any singer or band in concert, we are usually not too concerned about hearing some of their new material. We want to see and hear the hits, of course. Especially from bands who's past is much more glorified than where they are today. However, I will say that "Tubular Bells 2003" is totally unnecessary. Maybe if it were performed live, it would be considered more cherishable. But, as a CD, I just don't need it.
OK......Now for some bad news. This is a PAL (Non-Region 1), DVD. Not playable on DVD players in the USA (where we are NTSC). This was a real big disappointment for me because I bought the Samsung DVD-HD950, that has been able to play every DVD that I've bought, even from Thailand, Japan, and England. But, for the first time, my DVD player doesn't recognize this DVD. So, the only way I can play this DVD is on my computer. I only have a 19" monitor, but I do have my computer hooked up to my stereo, so I am enjoying a good picture (just smaller), and I do have fabulous sound quality.
America needs to release this DVD in the USA. "The Art in Heaven - Millennium Bell Concert" use to be my favorite Mike Oldfield DVD, but now I appreciate the performances of this DVD much more.
"Exposed" on DVD is okay but the sound and picture isn't the greatest, but it is an earlier performance (1978), and "Live in Montreux" (1981) is just "okay" as well.
Anyway, if you don't mind watching a concert performance on your computer, and if you are a Mike Oldfield fan, you should get this DVD. Good luck finding it though, it's becoming pretty scarce.