1984 - Discovery

August 19 Germany Nurenberg 23 Spain San Sebastian 25 Barcelona 27 Madrid 29 France Dax 31 Orange September 1 Nice 4 Italy Rome 6 Geneva 8 Viareggio 10 Milan 12 &13 Verona 16 Sweden Gothenberg 17 Denmark Odense 18 Copenhagen 20 Sweden Lund 21 Norway Oslo 22 Sweden Stockholm 24 Germany Siegen 26 Mannheim 27 Frankfurt 29 Switzerland Basel October 1 Austria Vienna 3 Germany Stuttgart 4 Karlsruhe 5 Dortmund 7 Kassel 8 Cologne 9 Dusseldorf 11 Belgium Brussels 12 Germany Hanover 13 Wurzburg 15 Munster 16 Hamburg 17 Bremen 19 Switzerland Lausanne 21 Zurich 23 Germany Offenburg 24 Freidrichshafen 26 Munich 27 Passau 29 Berlin 30 Kiel November 1 The Netherlands Rotterdam 2 Saarbrucken 4 France Brest 5 Paris 6 Lyon 7 Toulouse 8 Bordeaux 9 Clermont Ferrand 10 Strasbourg Musicians Harold Zuschrader (fairlight synthesiser), Mickey Simmonds (keyboards), Barry Palmer, Maggie Reilly (vocals), Phil Spalding (bass and guitar), Simon Phillips (percussion).

Originally shows in the UK to add to the 1984 Discovery tour were envisaged but Mike did not play in the UK because he was living in tax exile in Switzerland at the time because of the lingering consequences of the 1979 tour, and still avoiding what he regarded as high taxes. On 27 September his concert in Frankfurt included a track called Freude Scvhoener Gotterfunken. At a French concert Shadow on the Wall encore was followed by French national anthem. Set: most of Discovery, most of Crises, Platinum, 10m of Tubular Bells side 2, Blue Danube at Vienna. Mike met Anita Hegerland at West Germany in October according to Moraghan, thus sparking another major association - now commonplace events on his tours.

Nevertheless Mike's tiredness with touring shone through some of his interviews around this time, saying, "I'd like to do a musical or an acoustic set" and "I've spent the past few years doing an album, touring, doing an album, touring … I'd just like to break away from the treadmill." (Kerrang, summer 84).

Asked: "Do you take the same amount of time and trouble over the live shows - because you've got those coming up - or do you get frustrated by the limitations of live sound?", Mike replied: "Oh totally frustrated all the time, cos you have to just go for it. You get up there and that's it - off you go. So I'm always frustrated and disappointed, but I still seem to get away with it. … The next thing I'd like to try is a musical. If somebody would maybe provide me with a script of a story…" [1984 live Radio 1]. Mike did branch out into actions and music but via video and not live pictures. But the visual motif is similar.

There are two particular products of these intensive tour years. Oldfield liked the tiles in the German sportshall dressing rooms and he tiled the floors and ceilings of his own recording studios. Tiled sections produced a lighter more echoing sound. And most of the albums in this period since 1979 were designed with live play in mind - featuring a combination of instrumentals and songs. Mike also composed QE2 and Platinum quickly - intending to draw on it for live performances.

This tour in 1984 marked the end of an incredibly busy period for Mike. Albums came out often. Tours overlapped with them. It also marked the end of his heavy touring days. A new period of quiet set in and rumours of concerts became more rife than appearances.

Text © Mark Slattery
Photos © Thomas Rosenthal