Tubular Bells live at The Joan

Holdsworth and Bamford
Holdsworth and Bamford

It started as a bit of a crazy idea – to re-create the massive hit record Tubular Bells live on stage using 20 instruments.

Glenbrook-based musicians Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts were casting about for a space to perform.

“I called the Clarendon and said, ‘Aidan and I have this really strange idea. I don’t think many people will like it but if you have a quiet night we’ll bring some of our friends,’” said Holdsworth. “They said, ‘no one wants to book Good Friday and if you want that, it’s yours’.”

Tubular Bells for Two sold out that night in Katoomba and has since gone on to win awards at the Sydney Fringe Festival, the Adelaide Fringe and, the holy grail for performers, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

They originally thought to try doing a version with two guitars in a stripped back arrangement.

But one thing led to another and they now share the stage with two pianos, an organ, synthesiser, four electric guitars, acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass guitar, glockenspiel, two drum kits, two kazoos and a tin whistle – “and I might have forgotten something”, Holdsworth added.

As well as the music, the show is energetic, with the performers literally rushed off their feet as they run from instrument to instrument. It’s tightly choreographed but things can go wrong at any moment, and the slightest mistake or misplaced limb can bring the entire show crashing to a halt.

Roberts gave up performing last year to become creative director of the show. His place has been more than adequately filled by Tom Bamford, who has proved himself up to the challenge.

Tubular Bells for Two, an edge of your seat experience, is on at The Joan on Friday, June 29 at 8pm. Tickets call 4723 7600 or see www.thejoan.com.au.