Gerard Oldfield the Man in the Rain at Horse Guards Parade, Part 2
If there was a track to best complement the weather of the night then ‘The Watchful Eye’ with its chorus of echoes eminating from water filled glasses was it. ‘Jewel in the Crown’ with its rhythmic guitar was reminiscent of Enigma with lazy eastern sounding vocals from three girls, breezing into frantic acoustic western guitar in ‘Outcast’ which made the audience ditch their umbrellas and be dazzled by the lightshow around them illuminating the stage and spotlighting prestigious Parliament offices.
Oldfield, juggling between five guitars, a keyboard and the bells needed no plectrum or pick to play to perfection. The members of the band were musical charmeleons most of them swapping between instruments, the cellist with a vocal solo, the drummer with the bells.
Oldfield’s lively spanish guitar on ‘Serpent Dream’ mixed surprisingly well with the synthesised sounds around him. The power of the female vocalists chants on ‘The Inner Child’ enchanted and hypnotised the audience. While some of the music was highly danceable, the audience seemed content with listening from their seats and occasionally applauded Oldfield during guitar solos.
It was an audience of people content with watching the show and the large screens which included glimpses of Richard Branson in the audience (he also failed to escape the torrential rain) and close ups of Oldfields strumming.
Oldfield only spoke at the end of the set to comment on how apt his ‘Man in the Rain’ track was. ‘Man in the Rain’ was indeed one of the highlights of the show and a welcome piece for those in the audience who had come to the show on the strength of ‘Moonlight Shadow.’
Tubular Bells 3 glides through various musical styles building to the dramatic crescendo that is ‘Far Above the Clouds.’ This incredible finale brought the tubular bells to the forefront, Oldfield running round the stage to thrash the bells. The finale couldn’t fail to exhilerate and energise and finally people were brought to their feet. The umbrellas were long since gone but noone seemed to notice the rain was getting heavier through the encore singalong songs ‘Moonlight Shadow’ and ‘Family Man’. A night when musical innovations, an abundance of rain and spectacular backdrop produced an unequalled live experience.