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Deluxe? Certainly sir.
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.