October 8, 2009 – 11:19 am

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Wembley 1979 [no label, 2CD]

Live at Wembley Conference Centre, London, April 25, 1979. Ex FM stereo broadcast on BBC Rock Hour.

Mike Oldfield’s first live tour since his days with Kevin Ayers (one off performances of Tubular Bells notwithstanding) was a lavish affair, one that demanded 25 technicians, three articulated lorries full of equipment, and 50 musicians spread across a band, an orchestra, and a choir - a fascinating lineup by anybody’s standards.

Maddy Prior returned to reprise her studio performance of “Hiawatha,” while David Bedford, Gong’s Pierre Moerlen and Pekka Pohjola led in the musical name recognition stakes. There was also a prominent role for Tim Cross, a young keyboard player who would become an integral part of Oldfield’s future plans, and who actually made his Oldfieldian debut performing “Guilty” on Top Of The Pops. Introduced to Oldfield by Tom Newman, Cross’ magnificent organ still looms large in the memory and, as Oldfield began piecing together the severely truncated line-up which would accompany his next tour, Cross’s name was one of the first he penciled in.

A total of 13 shows were scattered throughout continental Europe and, in both musical and critical terms, the exercise was a howling success. But logistically it was a nightmare and financially, a disaster. While Oldfield sat back to plan his next outing, a double live souvenir of the tour, Exposed, was released in a gallant attempt to recoup some of the losses.

Before that, though, there was this, a BBC radio broadcast that actually improves upon the official LP. Opened by radio host Brian Matthews, and leading into a lengthy (53 minute) recital of Incantations, it finds band, orchestra and choir gelling to perfection, bringing an electricity to Incantations that the occasionally leaden studio version only hinted at.

The first half of Tubular Bells follows, and picks up a speaker-shaking roar from the audience, before we move into a dramatically rearranged “Guilty,” the orchestra perhaps sounding more pronounced here than they were on either of the monsters that preceded it. Then it’s back to a couple of excerpts from part two of Tubular Bells, leading in with the caveman stomp, bidding farewell with the “Sailor’s Hornpipe,” and then encoring, peculiarly, with a reprise of “Guilty.”

But there’re no complaints about either the sound or the quality and, with Oldfield never returning to such extravaganzas again, this disc reminds us of a time when anything seemed possible. Even a pristine in concert Tubular Bells. - Dave Thompson

Thanks to the seeder who shared this on the internet back in 2005.

Note: Veteran music writer Dave Thompson is the author of many well reviewed rock biographies, including the recent I Hate New Music and Electric Gypsy: An Unauthorised Biography Of Doctor Who; Virgin Books’ Red Hot Chili Peppers biography, and works on The Cure and Kurt Cobain. He also wrote Cream: The World’s First Supergroup. In the past, Dave has written for Live! Music Review and he is also a regular contributor to Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q magazines. Click here to buy Dave’s books.

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Disc 1:
Track 101. Intro / Incantations Part I
Part A. (22.4MB)
Part B. (11.2MB)
Part C. (3.1MB)
Part D. (7.2MB)
Track 102. Incantations Part II
Part A. (12.2MB)
Click here if you reside in the United States
Click here if you reside outside the United States
Part B. (9.3MB)
Part C. (7.8MB)

Disc 2:
Track 201. Intro (685k)
Track 202. Tubular Bells (41.2MB)
Track 203. Guilty (8.9MB)
Track 204. Tubular Bells (11.3MB)
Track 205. Sailor’s Hornpipe (4.6MB)
Track 206. Guilty (reprise) (8.9MB)

Click here to order Mike Oldfield’s Exposed.

  1. 12 Responses to “MIKE OLDFIELD - WEMBLEY 1979”

  2. Excellent!!!!!!!!
    This man is fantastic ;)

    By Rochacrimson on Oct 9, 2009

  3. Another excellent share, thanks

    By Mal on Oct 9, 2009

  4. hey bigo, this is pretty good. i was just playing disc 1 walking. i’ve never listened to mike oldfield before so i thought this would be a good place to start.

    alice cooper was great last night. if one sees montgomery, al 10.7.09, please post it. if you get on youtube, you can watch school’s out. you can also see clips of the atlanta metallica show i was at sun.


    By Ed Saad on Oct 9, 2009

  5. Inquiring minds want to know…who did the caveman voice? Also PUH-LEEZE post Jeff Beck with Imelda May! Thanks BigO!

    By Walter on Oct 9, 2009

  6. i got disc 2, bigo. thanks! i was playing it and yes-circus of heaven, quebec city you offered in may walking this morning.

    will get va artist germany tues! irene’s heavy.


    By Ed Saad on Oct 9, 2009

  7. Very cool! Thanks again for posting such awesome shows BigO!!

    By Tom on Jun 7, 2013

  8. Wow - excellent! I got to see Mike Oldfield on this and the 1980 tours in Madrid, Spain. I was stationed there in the Air Force. I now realize how fortunate I was to have had that opportunity. It was so wonderful seeing this live, folks! I adore his first few albums in particular with the lengthy pieces, and then jump ahead to AMAROK. And it’s great to have options to the EXPOSED album, which I love as well. A lot of great posts especially lately, BIG O (IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY!) Thank you again!

    By Daniel Kershner on Jun 15, 2013

  9. Thank you for making this available, as far as I know it is the only place on the internet where it can be found (Rapidshare etc. links having bitten the dust long ago). You’re a saviour. I heard this on ABC radio in Australia around 1980, recorded it and listened to it repeatedly. This was just prior to seeing the man live in Australia on his one and only tour here. I’m so glad I went. Thank you again for allowing me access to this great musical memory (moment of feedback on Maddy Prior’s mic, and all - wonderful).

    By Peter on Dec 4, 2013

  10. I was there…

    By Muscipula on Feb 10, 2016

  11. But I’m not sure if it was the 25th or 26th

    By Muscipula on Feb 10, 2016

  12. You can hear the truncated version of the concert on 6 Music


    By Dann on Jul 1, 2017

  13. One of the greatest concerts ever! This by far tops the official “Exposed” live album, in my opinion!!

    By Jim on May 27, 2018

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