1981 – European Adventure

March 9 & 10 Germany: Offenbach 11 Heidelberg 12 Mainz 14 Wurzberg 15 Nurenberg 16 Munich 17 Ravensberg 18 Karsruhe 19 Cologne 21 Hamburg 22 Kiel 23 Bremerhaven 25 Hanover 26 Bremen 27 Berlin 29 Dusseldorf 30 Munster 31 Seigen (2 shows) April 1 Essen 2 Hannover 3 Rotterdam Musicians (6) Mike Frye (drums and percussion), Morris Pert (drums & percussion) Tim Cross (keyboards) Maggie Reilly (vocals) Rick Fenn (guitar and bass). Line up: Mike Frye (percussion) and Tim Cross (keyboards) - who were on last tour, plus Rick Fenn (bass), Maurice Pert (percussion) and Maggie Reilly [who presumably were not?]

The 1981 "European Adventure Tour" had a set that included Nellie the Elephant (sang by Maggie Reilly) and The William Tell Overture, for which Mike was joined later by Brian McNeil on fiddle and Duncan McGillivray on bagpipes from the Battlefield Band, his support act. A recording from Essen in Germany was made of Punkadiddle as on B side of Five Miles Out. Mike's group played The Blaydon Races at Newcastle City Hall on 22 May. The tour drew on material from QE2. On 9 July he played Pastosi with Diego Cortes reportedly on Spanish TV. On 10 July he played O Sole Mio at Livorno linked after Punkadiddle. On 20 July he played the Blue Danube at Vienna Stadhalle.

During this third tour he was still having his hot-cold relationship with live performances, in April telling Melody Maker he, "always felt guilty because I wouldn't tour. I wouldn't do all the things you're supposed to do. For me its got to have some point, some purpose. Why else go through the mindlessness of being on the road day after day. I want people to go home after seeing my concerts thinking, yeah, I'll be a better person for that."

Mike agreed he could not communicate specific things live, "but the general concept, yeah. And you can see it from the stage. I can look at the faces of the people in the audience and see whether its getting through. They have these glazed expressions on their faces and you know they've understood. It means an awful lot to them."

Mike played Hanover twice in 10 days: the second date was added to close the 25-date German leg of his tour that confirmed him as one of the biggest rock acts in the country. He continued his evolution as a man-manager by assigning a percentage of tour profits to each member. ". He was helped by manager Ossie Hoppe (ex manager of Whitesnake) and the tour was merchandised by Jeremy Parker who joined Mike in Finland. It started a long association.

Jeremy Parker and Mike took a 3-day break in Athens joined by Terry Oldfield and flew by helicopter to Hydra, since when Parker and Oldfield worked together productively for many more years.

Of the music, journalist Colin Irwin said: "I enjoyed the gig more than I ever imagined possible… a perfect balance of delicacy, tastefulness, and hard. Driving rock. Oldfield will never be the charismatic axeman but he does play guitar with as much power and gut emotion as virtually anyone in the country."

June 15 Finland Helsinki 17 Sweden Stockholm 18 Denmark, Copenhagen 19 Norway Oslo 21 Belgium Brussels 22 Netherlands Nijmegen 23 Rotterdam 24 France Paris 25 Lille 26 Paris 27 Concarneau 28 Poittiers 29 Lyon 30 Strasbourg July 1 Luxembourg 2 Germany Freiburg 3 Stuttgart 5 Switzerland Montreaux (2 shows) 6 Italy Milan 7 Jesolo 8 Bologna 9 Rome 10 Livorno 12 Rimini 13 & 14 Israel Tel Aviv 16 & 17 Greece Athens 20 Austria Vienna 28 London Guildhall 30 London's Rainbow Theatre August 9 Nottingham Theatre Royal ? Barcelona (TV)

28 July London's Guildhall Yard played the Wedding Anthem for the first and only time.

The latter, free, concert was held outdoors as a tribute to Charles and Diana on the eve of their marriage. It is supposedly the reason for his Freemanship of the City of London.

Mike continued to reflect openly on the dynamics of group motivation. He said the members of the group were all equal members, "that's so important, they're all completely committed to it, and even if they were being paid the same amount of money there wouldn't be the same commitment if it were on the basis of employer and employees."

Unfortunately averaging only 60% houses on the previous British tour had upset Mike's trust in managers, at a time when money issues reverberated nearly as often as his guitar. "Managers always say how terribly complicated and exhausting it is setting up the budget for a tour - I did it in half an hour on the computer. I make mistakes, but I don't thinkI need a manager. On this tour we set up the deal with the promoter and realised we weren't getting much money out of it. So we went back and re-negotiated, and re-negotiated again, and now everybody's happy."

At Barcelona Mike's group played to a staggering 250,000 according to Times' journalist Derek Jewell, outdoors at Royal Palace Gardens. There is supposedly a video of Mike playing in Nottingham in 1981 available from Festival Records of Australia produced by WOT Productions of "Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells", said to feature Ommadawn, Platinum, and Mirage lasting 27 minutes and of doubtful quality. Few have seen it.

©Mark Slattery