1986 – 1989

1986 Played as a guest with Marillion at their Anti-heroin gigs at Hammersmith Odeon on 2 and 6 February. 25 April Royal Albert Hall. Colombian Volcano Appeal

At Hammersmith Odeon he was accompanied by Roger Chapman (who sang Shadow on the Wall) Phil Spalding, Mickey Simmonds (keyboards) and 'Joel' a guitarist. He played on 'I Know What I Like' with Steve Hackett. At the latter concert he played an acoustic version of Moonlight Shadow with Maggie Reilly and Simon Phillips. The concert was filmed and released in 1988.

There is a rumour of a concert that was cancelled, planned for 25 April at the Royal Albert Hall, called "Soundwaves for Greenpeace". Mike was also supposed to be main guest at a Milton Keynes summer concert with the Queen Mother, but Virgin did not tell him until a few days before and he did not do it. This is reminiscent of Mike's 'busking' experiences in restaurants and pubs in his early years when he liked to play unannounced. If he was announced he liked to be well prepared, and make the most of the attention.

1987 - ISLANDS

Following Islands he had planned 10 big shows, including one in the UK and 4 days in Germany at a single venue (and another gig in Sweden), using large video screens to run the video album. These were originally planned for March 1987 - it then expanded to 20 shows: 2 in the UK the rest in Europe. Then it was postponed to allow less pressurised work on the video album.

The tour was then projected for late summer or early autumn. But the album and video slipped constantly. The Daily Mail said: 'An elaborate tour to promote Islands was scrapped when Oldfield realised it would cost him £1 million.'

And quotes him as saying: "I wanted to do a Pink Floyd-type presentation but going bankrupt after that first tour has made me very wary." There were other reports that Mike was totally dissatisfied with Islands hence no tour. This does not sound likely, but the uncertainty surrounding his appearances grew from a lack of information about him generally and reduced commercial success for his albums.


There was a rumour that Mike was to tour the US in July but it was cancelled. New dates were planned for summer 1989. Again, these never transpired.

Mike seemed to have reverted to his slightly dissatisfied view of the limitations of live sound, musing In a December interview with SterioPlay, something translated as "It's almost impossible to make my music sound like on the album. All musicians often have to change their instruments. When a drummer looks for his vibraphone this can be a problem."


By 11 July Mike said on TV-am that he'd be touring in May and June 1990. He told fans , "I'm just starting to miss being in a live concert."

In October to plug Earth Moving Mike was interviewed by Keyboards Magazine the translation has Mike saying of the Tubular Bells tour he had in mind at that time, "it will not be a mega-show. I don't like light shows too much, they are generally too much removed from the music. I remember being in the middle of intense and bizarre light show directed by a technician and asking myself what I am doing in the middle of all this? It had nothing to do with me. My show will be more musical than theatrical. I don't want to compete with Jean Michel Jarre or Pink Floyd - on this at least!"

©Mark Slattery