THEY came in search of paradise, the fans that time forgot. In Tubular

Bells II, the world premiere performance of, they sought a Tolkien tale

filled with little furry animals; a hash-fuelled dream /memory where

music was played on real instruments.

And lo! Real instruments beyond number and a stage peopled by four

singers, two percussionists, a drummer, four guitarists, three keyboard

players, Mike Oldfield, and a conductor in tails. Progressive rock as

the most reactionary form of music, you betcha!

Real musical moments, the bits where you forget the cold and the crowd

came few and far between, the pipes of the Great Plain compensating for

the truly awful Blue Saloon, before reverting to the elaborate test card

for the audio buff that is Tubular Bells II.

They came in search of paradise and got chocolate-box fantasies

complete with toy soldiers and the sound of pipe and drums drowned only

by the sound of 6000 people being patronised.

They came in search of paradise but the Bounty generation stopped

listening in 1973 and Jane Siberry supporting in conversational style

rubbed their noses in thirtysomething reality and paid the price by

dying disgracefully.

Oh, and there was a castle.