Last October, Robert Reed took his parallel universe Mike Oldfield act to Real World Studios and performed it in front of a live audience. As is the way of these things, it’s now available on DVD, but it’s not much of a show.
The studio is lit as it might be for the recording of an album, and don’t expect pyro or lasers or dancing girls on podiums. Most notably, as th musicians slowly bring the themes into focus as Sanctuary gently unfolds, movement by movement, you realise what an extraordinary achievement it was for Reed to create the original album single-handed. Ultimately, Sanctuary Live is a much more satisfying album to listen to than it is to watch. This might be a perfect souvenir for those present, but most people will probably find they return to the audio CD of the same performance that accompanies the release than give the film more than a single, cursory viewing.
Then there’s the bonus “documentary”, entailing little more than 25 minutes of shaky camerawork showing people standing about doing very little or talking about chips. This is extraordinary music, but it’s music to wallow in, and watching it presented this way on the small screen is a barrier to doing so.