Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells II & III
Reviewed by Rodney Campbell
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Review Equipment:

DVD Player:
  Pioneer DV-717

  Panasonic TX-79P100Z 79cm 100Hz CRT (4:3 screen with 16:9 mode)

  Denon AVR-2700

Front Speakers:
  Tannoy Profile Plus 633 (Biwired)
Center Speaker:
  Tannoy Profile Plus 621
Rear Surrounds:
  Sony Bookshelf
  M&K V75 MkII

Video Cables:
  QED Qnect SVS s-video
Audio Cables:
  QED Qnect DS & Qnect SS

Video 8
Audio 9
Extras 1
Overall 8

Video General
P & S/Full Frame Full Frame Region(s) 2/3/4/5/6
Wide/aspect ratio No Distributor Warner Music Vision
16x9 Enhanced No Macrovision Yes
Audio Chapters 17 & 15
Audio Format(s) English DD 5.1
English Linear PCM Stereo (48kHz/16Bit)
Running Time 125 min
Extras/Features RSDL/Flipper No/Yes
Trailer(s) No Classification E
Commentary Tracks No Subtitles None
Other Extras

This DVD actually contains two separate live concerts, one side contains Tubular Bells II recorded at Edinburgh castle in 1992 and the other side contains the world premiere of Tubullar Bells II recorded at Horse Guards Parade in London in 1998.


Although these are live concerts the video quality is as good as it could be. Both concerts occur during the night so lens flare from lighting and often seen dark areas as various cameras pan across the crowd and stage are evident but this is to be expected. Other than that the video footage is clear with very little aliasing or artifacts. It certainly isn't a pristine 16:9 enhanced transfer but is more than adequate for live concert style footage.

The footage is primarily of the stage and performers but sometimes pans to view the audience and sometimes even the venue itself (castles and such). There is no other video footage other than the concerts themselves.

The transfer rate sits on a rock solid 9 to 10MB/s throughout both concerts.


The audio quality of both live performances is excellent. I have tried both the PCM Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and for once the quality of both tracks are equally very crisp. I usually find with most concert DVD's that I prefer listening to the PCM Stereo track rather than the Dolby Digital because for me the clarity of the audio is much better. In this case there was very little in it (possibly due to the fact that the rear surrounds are hardly used at all).

The two concerts are basically the two studio albums Tubular Bells II and III verbatim (simply live performances). The songs are in the correct album order and they even sound almost identical to the studio albums. The only deviations I detected were the few extra tracks like an introduction and some reprises at the end. On Tubular Bells II I also noticed that the "last" song (Moonshine) was done quite differently to that which is on the studio album (they had a little fun with it).


There just aren't any at all. It probably would have been nice to see something like a bio on Mike Oldfield and his discography and maybe the words to the songs, etc.


This is a flipper disk but since each side is actually a different concert I figure that in reality we are getting a bonus. They could have stuck all this material on two separate DVD's and charged us double but instead you get more than two whole albums worth of material for much less than the two CD's and the crystal clear video as a bonus.

This isn't a rock concert in fact the presentation is much more reminiscent of a classical symphony. There isn't any exciting action to speak of and Mike doesn't even speak really. What you do get is more a presentation of his studio albums - there is even a conductor for the "orchestra". I'm not sure I've ever seen that many different guitars, guitarists and keyboards on one stage before :-). You do get to see Mike play numerous different instruments though.

If you are a fan of Mike Oldfield this DVD is an absolute must - it is primarily the music we are after and the video footage is a bonus - as is seeing Mike Oldfield in the flesh (so to speak).

Some things to look out for are; the guy playing the water filled glasses in Tubular Bells III (see near the start of the first track); Richard Branson in the crowd in Tubular Bells III (see Secrets and Far Above the Clouds); the timing to have the bells on Big Ben chime at Ten O'Clock exactly at the end of the last song of the album (Far Above the Clouds); and of course the Tubular Bells :-).