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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 1 June 2017
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on 3 August 2012
What you really want to know is whether it's worth forking out a little extra and buying the deluxe version of QE2. Well yes I think it is.

The majority of the bonus content that comes with the deluxe edition is a live set recorded in Essen in 1981. By this point Oldfield had trimmed down his enormous band and they had had time to 'bed in' and work on their sound. The result is energetic, rocky, melodic and utterly brilliant!!! Some of the heavier, faster pieces like Mirage and Conflict are let of the leash and seem to have more impact in their live setting. Ommadawn is given an airing here too which is absolutely stunning, replete with QE2 style vocoder and fiddle in the climax.

It's always seemed sad that many people view Oldfield primarily as a keyboardist, he's always been lumped into that Jarre/Vangelis bracket. If you want that view challenged this is the LP to listen to because he is in true guitar hero mode here with more runs, pull-offs and fret-wizadry than you can shake a stick at.

This is full value for your money too because the live disc is full to the rafters.

I can see the 2012 reworking of Sheba (called "Shiva") one to divide the fans, Oldfield basically sings over the top of it, but actually it's great, though if it's not to your taste well nevermind it's only one track, you get all that great live stuff too that you'll love.

The remastering of the album proper ticks all the right boxes too. It's warm and concise. I for one heard layers of the music I hadn't noticed before and I've been listening to QE2 since it was first released.

I've gotten into the habit of telling Oldfield fans about a young whipper-snapper by the name of Andrew Taylor who has released an album called Mohribold (google it). If you like Oldfield you'll love Mohribold! There are some QE2-esque moments as well as some clear Ommadawn and Hergest Ridge influence but he's got his own style too. Maybe he's one to watch out for since Oldfield has called for an instrumetnal rock renaissence after his Olympics appearance.
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on 1 September 2012
This Mercury Records release of Oldfields 1980 album follows on from Platinum before it in that it could have been much more - and for the Oldfield fan doesn't quite deliver.

First of all the original album itself has once again been competently remastered - There has always been a problem with a little drop out on this master - most notable on the first track Taurus 1 and Conflict - and on this remaster it does seem that the oxide is shedding a bit more with noticeable channel drops on some of the tracks. If there was ever an Oldfield album that needed to be completely remixed from the multi-track this would be it - in my opinion!

QE2 is relatively early synth heavy - and as a consequence it suffers from a general lack of bass and acoustic atmosphere that usually pervades through Oldfield's works. If the multi-tracks were still around it would have been a golden opportunity to have beefed up the general depth of the recording which I feel would have benefited each track and made it sound a lot more palatable for today's more discerning listener...as it is though this remaster retains the original rather treble y sound scape and so it keeps that early 80's synth sound.

For those not familiar with the album it is a compilation of short and slightly longer instrumentals with a couple of wordless "songs" warbled by Maggie Reilly. It's generally a fun sounding album and is a world apart from the more complex and weighty albums from the 70's but still crafted with Mike's trademark multi-layering and inimitable guitar playing.

The bonus tracks include the B-side "Polka" - a live recording (one wonders if there is a studio recording of this?) and the edited Single version of Wonderful Land (really scraping the barrel here!).

Then there is the so called 2012 reworking of Sheba - now called Shiva after the Hindu god - and is simply the original 1980 Sheba recording with Mike mumbling about wanting to meet and talk with Shiva...hmmm.

Missing is the "Royal Wedding Anthem" which Mike recorded and performed for the Wedding between Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981 - as mentioned in the booklet. The studio recording was played out on the radio at the time and the live performance was also recorded and transmitted - a pity neither has surfaced for this release as a true bonus.

We do however get a rather good concert Mike did in Essen 1981. It's not sonically as good as the Wembley 1980 performance on the Platinum release but it is good to have in the best quality possible. (some of this has been released on the 1985 "Complete Mike Oldfield" compilation and on bootlegs despite the "previously un-released tag on the cover!)

There is no video or surround disc on this release so no promo video of Wonderful Land (as seen on the Elements DVD) or the brilliant Knebworth concert from 1980 previously released on VHS and Laser disc (and currently a badly authored Dutch DVD)

The booklet starts by regurgitating a lot of the Platinum booklet but does then move on to some more QE2 specific material.

If you don't already have this album then of course this is the version you should buy - and if you do already have it then the only reason to re-purchase is for the Live concert disc.
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on 27 January 2006
As I increase my Mike Oldfield collection I finally got QE2 (as I'm trying to get them in order), this was my next stop. First up is Taurus 1 and it feels fantastic, the classic touch of Oldfield. Pulsing and haunting at the same time, which is followed by Sheba. There's something about the synthed vocal chanting which really captures me. Both tracks have it and make them very special in combination to the rich musical environment.
A very good reworking of Arrival (a track by ABBA)is also here, nice and atmospheric.
Wonderful Land is a great tribute to The Shadows, again the reworking is brilliant. The title track QE2 has tones of the first two on this album, like a continuing thread which feels totally comfortable.
The other tracks: Conflict, Celt and Molly are great tracks in their own right and fit nicely within the framework of the album as a whole.
If your a collector of Oldfield albums, or just looking to enter his wonderful world of music, I recommend QE2 as a brilliant choice.
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on 31 July 2012
As we get to the next phase of Mike's career ('the synthesiser phase')QE2 reflects that transition from the older Tubular Bells style more towards the future poppy style of Moonlight Shadow.

The mixture here is a combination of the two, with varying degrees of success. To be honest, I can't hear much difference in the original album between that and the 2000 HDCD remaster. As others have mentioned details of the album previous I'll not dwell too much, other than to say that this remastered album sounds pretty much as the old one did, to my increasingly old ears, anyway!

The track Sally has now been named Into Wonderland, as it was supposedly originally named. The original version of Sally on the first presses of the album is nowhere to be seen, something that may annoy many older fans. We do get the shorter single version of the Shadows cover Wonderful Land added here, a live version of Polka from the 1980 Tour and a sort've new track, Shiva, which I'll mention later.

The second disc is a live concert from The European Adventure Tour of 1981, in Essen on the 1st April. What is given here has not been available before, I gather, (though I'm sure there'll be a bootleg around somewhere!)and is a pretty good set: a live version of Ommadawn for the older fan, a rockier version of Taurus 1 for the album of the tour. Interestingly, the title track QE2 becomes shorter live, whereas Taurus 1 is a minute longer. The live version of Taurus 1 is brilliant: very fast! - and the live version of Ommadawn compressed to nearly 22 minutes is lovely, but the quality of the tour recording is generally very good, and the album for me is given a whole new lease of life in these versions. This version of the album is worth buying for the live versions, if nothing else.

The biggest shock of the album is the last added extra on the album disc: the track Shiva, a longer version of Sheba but now with added Oldfield lyrics that are quite clear, and a multitracked new chorus with Mike's vocals. The vocals sound recent (it evidently is a new 2012 `reworking') but I'm not sure that Mike's half singing/half spoken tone, now lower in tone than it used be in the 1980's, really works: for me, anyway.

On the downside, the horrible `Deluxe edition' sticker is still worth carefully removing, though in the case of the QE2 album cover (imitating the original album version) is not worth shouting about. The sleeve notes are pretty much a copy of the Platinum deluxe edition (at least two-thirds seem identical) and could actually tell us more about Mike and the music than they do.

However, for a fan this is a worthwhile purchase: and worth that upgrade for at least some of the new extras.
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on 12 August 2012
This double-disc set is at least reasonably priced - although the packaging is a little flimsy and I suspect it will mostly appeal to fans of Oldfield who will already have the majority of the first disc.

Disc 1 is the original album, remastered yet again. The final bonus track, Shiva, is a reworking of Sheba. Sounds like Mike himself singing new vocals on top of the existing ones, but they don't meld very successfully with the original track.

The leaflet is again riddled with spelling and grammatical errors - they really ought to have enough money to employ a proof reader. Apart from abusing commas, missing hyphens, etc. there are some real howlers such as these two from page 10: "Once more, Mike decided to undertake and extensive tour..." and "but he multi-track tapes would remain unmixed..."
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on 3 August 2012
I have to admit I always have had a soft spot for this album. It was the first Oldfield album that I bought, perversely before Tubular Bells. It marks the move away from the side long compositions in favour of shorter pieces. Standout tracks for me are Taurus I, Sheba and QE2. Molly is a lovely little endpiece too. This remaster doesn't sound particularly different, maybe a bit less woolly in places.

In my opinion the new/reworked track "Shiva" (Sheba) is awful! Mike's new vocals don't really add anything to this for me.

However, the bonus live disc is great. A good companion piece to the fantastic Live in Montreux DVD.
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on 6 May 2015
This is not a Mike Oldfield Career CD attached as one of the best, probably due to an album with music sounds variants not seen in previous years. Are more alternative sounds, not as classic as in previous years. The tracks "Taurus 1" and "QE2" are the best and also the largest. It's a matter of listening and like it or not. In this edition "deluxe", there is the two bonus increased from the original disc and the second disc with more European tour live recordings from 1981 that had not yet been launched, including QE2 tracks plus "Ommadawn" and "Tubular Bells (Part One)" highlights. Good! Note 7.5.
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on 11 November 2012
Although I did not own a copy of the original album I enjoyed this remastered one which is very typical of Mike Oldfield early work. I have been a fan of Mike Oldfield's music for some time, and as all other artists, he has produced music that has crossed the spectrum of quality but this album is of good quality. However, I enjoyed the B side more which was a live recording of one of his tours ( The European Adventure Tour 1981 ). The live music is so of that era but its so good.
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on 10 August 2016
Superb retro analogue guitar/instrumental music that still sounds fresh, interesting and futuristic.
Highly recommended to anyone who has an interest in 70s style analogue guitar/multi-instrumental or film music - Mike Oldfield is one of the masters of the genre.
A definite five star highly recommended purchase.
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