martes, 19 de mayo de 2009

Mike Oldfield - 1979 European Tour (private recordings)


Mike Oldfield, when "Incantations" album was released the year before, had to enterprise an European tour, carrying with him a troupe of musicians, a string orchestra and a female choir. That's why he decided, at last, to represent on stage his previous works along Europe. By his character rather changed with Exegesis therapy, Oldfield's music would gain in vitality in this series of concerts which started in Spain, from the city of Barcelona. So it was Mike's worrying because everything happens successfully and perfect, even he longed one month above the scenaries of his first performances in Madrid and Barcelona to check everything was right, according to his needs. The fact, some improvements were made to avoid echoes in the doom of the Palace Of Sports of Barcelona, which gave some problems on previous live concerts. Spanish public was always, for so many foreign artists, the most warm, cheerful and enthusiast, according to them. That's the reason Mike decided to begin his European tour in Spain, so they would allow themselves some rolling up without going everything well.

In the other hand, Oldfield's music was so complicated: many instruments to use and vocals need of a huge amount of people, between musicians, technicals and stage assistants over the scene. Mike did understand the situation and he accomplish the risk to contract more than 75 persons, most of them friends of him, uneasily settled over the stage, as if was a symphonic orchestra; so much people for so strict musical reasons, searching for a major quality, resulting quite different shows to the ones offered by Pink Floyd or Jean Michel Jarre some years later.

So, they were at the "Tubular Shows", besides Mike, David Bedford as string orchestra conductor and choir, Nico Ramsdem and Phil Beer with guitars, Pekka Pohjola with bass guitar, Pete Lemer and Tim Cross with keyboards, Pierre Moerlen (Gong) on drums and percussion, for which rest of contributions were corresponded to Mike Oldfield, David Bedford and Benoit Moerlen (Pierre's brother), including Ringo McDonough at bodhran, Maddy Prior (of Steeleye Span fame) as vocalist, Queen's College Choir, plus violins, violas, trumpets, cellos and contrabasses (a 23 musicians orchestra), and finally Sebastian Bell and Chris Nicholls on flutes.

One of sound stage engineers was an usual collaborator of minimalist musician Philip Glass, Kurt Munkacsi. It is said that Oldfield was an admirer of Glass music on that time (lately he'd arrange a theme of him for his next studio album, Platinum, joining him for the occasion Kurt Munkacsi and another Glass' collaborator, Michael Riesman).

Ensuring a better sound balance, Oldfield assigned an individual microphone to every orchestra instrument; to control the rightful quality of sound and distribution along the wired net, as rock as orchestral instrumentation, he needed of a new soundboard mixing table never used before but failed during rehearsals.

In every city, the "repertoire" was composed of a new arrangement of complete "Incantations" album on the first part of the concert, plus a funky-styled version of "Tubular Bells" on the second part, preceeded towards a new theme, a dancing "Guilty" that'd become quite enjoyable to the audience and for which the resulting studio version as a 7" single and 12" maxi-single would rock the charts at the United Kingdom, reaching #22 position. It's notable for being Oldfield's first obvious attempt to capitalise on a current musical trend, in this case disco/dance music.

About the tour, in spite of public assistance to his concerts, Oldfield had a strain suffering bankrupcy. A risk he had to run, for such problems derivated of musicians contracted, the cost of salaries and a lot of expenses in equipment maintenance, stage make-up, lightning, foods and transport. Virgin Music financed a part of this European tour, unless not being totally right with its magnitude, made Oldfield changing his mind for some demands to improve the performances (as adding a classical complete choir with more than a hundred members, finally reduced to sixteen). A complete financial disaster for Mike. Very soon, he could economically recover himself by his next records' sales and the release of a double album with a selection from live performances made during this tour that same year, "Exposed".

Maddy Prior


1979 Tour Of Europe: You can choose the concert you want. All encoded to MP3, 44,1 KHz and 128 kbps.

1979-03-31 Live in Barcelona
1979-04-02 Live in Madrid
1979-04-04 Live in Paris
1979-04-05 Live in Dusseldorf
1979-04-07 Live in Berlin
1979-04-18 Live in Frankfurt
1979-04-26 Live in London
1979-05-02 Live in London
1979-05-03 Live in Birmingham

1 comentario:

  1. thanks for the concerts, a nice recollection.. z'wan

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