The premiere live performance of Tubular Bells was at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at 7:45pm 25 June 1973 and was broadcast live on UK radio. To coax a nerve-ridden Oldfield into playing the premiere live performance of Tubular Bells Virgin boss Richard Branson gave Oldfield his Bentley.
The concert programme for the premiere listed the 25-person ensemble as follows: Mike Oldfield (Lowrey organ, bass, acoustic and electric guitar); David Bedford (grand piano choir master); John Greaves (Farfisa organ, Davoli electric piano, tin whistle); Jeff Leig (flute); Fred Frith (electric and bass guitar); Tim Hodgkinson (Vox organ, electric piano, Farfisa organ, Fender Rhodes electric piano); Mick Taylor (electric guitar); Steve Hillage (electric guitar); Pierre Moerlen (glockenspiel, concert tympani, tubular bells, gongs, cymbals, tam tam); Steve Broughton (drums); Jon Field (flute); Terry Oldfield (flute); Viv Stanshall (master of ceremonies); Tom Newman (nasal chorus); Girlie Chorus: Sarah Greaves, Kathy Williams, Sally Oldfield, Maureen Rossini, Lynette Asquith, Amanda Parsons, Maggie Thomas, Mundy Ellis, Julie Clive, Liz Gluck, Debbie Scott, Hanna Corker.
Mike Oldfield had been performing "The Sailor's Hornpipe" for years before including it on Tubular Bells, when he was the bass player with Kevin Ayers and The Whole World.
Footage exists of a live-in-the-studio performance for the BBC, filmed on 30 November 1973, originally broadcast on BBC2 on 1 December, with a cast including Oldfield, his brother Terry (flute), Fred Frith (and other members of Henry Cow), Steve Hillage, Pierre Moerlen, Tom Newman, Mike Ratledge, Mick Taylor, Karl Jenkins and others. It includes a new part for oboe. This has been released on the Elements DVD and is on the 2009 reissue of Tubular Bells.
RUNNING TIME: 30 minutes | AIRDATE: 1 December 1973
MUSIC: Mike Oldfield | FILMED BY: William Pye, Colin Boothman | PRODUCTION DESIGN: J. Roger Lowe | DIRECTOR: Tony Staveacre
Second House: Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells
A truly fabulous “in the round” performance for music show Second House of the whole first side of Mike Oldfield’s epic Tubular Bells album, pretty much note for note with Oldfield playing bass guitar and acoustic guitar and the legendary Steve Hillage taking most of the electric guitar parts.
The performance was recorded the day before broadcast.
Mike Oldfield and company :
- Mike Oldfield (Lowery Organ, Bass, Acoustic & Electric Guitarand mandolin).
- David Bedford (Grand Piano, Accordian, Organ, Choir Master, String Arrangement).
- John Greaves (Farfisa Organ, Electric Piano, Tin Whistle).
- Mick Taylor & Steve Hillage (Electric Guitars).
- Fred Frith (Electric and Bass Guitars).
- Steve Broughton (Drums).
- Tim Hodginson (Organ, Electric Piano, Fender Rhodes).
- Pierre Morlen (Glockenspiel, Timpani, Tubular Bells, Gongs, Cymbals, Tam Tam).
- Geoff Leigh, John Field & Terry Oldfield (Flutes).
- Tom Newman (Nasal Chorus).
- Girly Chorus (Sally Oldfield, Mundy Ellis, etc).