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Mike Oldfield

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Mike Oldfield Live At Montreux 1981 album cover
4.48 | 85 ratings | 8 reviews | 55% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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DVD/Video, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Intro
2. QE2 Medley: Taurus 1 / Sheba / Mirage
3. Platinum (Parts 1-4)
4. Tubular Bells (Part 2)
5. Medley: Conflict / Ommadawn
6. Tubular Bells (Part 1)
7. Punkadiddle

Total Time: approx. 105 min

Line-up / Musicians

? Mike Oldfield / acoustic and electric guitar, bass, mandolin, keyboards, vocals

- Maggie Reilly / vocals
- Rick Fenn / bass, guitar, acoustic guitar
- Morris Pert / drums, percussion
- Mike Frye / drums, percussion, glockenspiel
- Tim Cross / keyboards, vocals

Releases information

DVD PAL Eagle Vision EREDV565 (2006)
DVD NTSC Eagle Vision EE 39088-9 (2006)

Thanks to grendelbox for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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MIKE OLDFIELD Live At Montreux 1981 ratings distribution

(85 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(55%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (5%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MIKE OLDFIELD Live At Montreux 1981 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by richardh
5 stars Just picked up this really beaut of a DVD.I've got all of Mike Oldfield DVD's but this is by far the best so far.Perfect sound quality (remarkable for a 1981 concert in fact) and nice editing with good variety of camera angles etc.Some of my favourite Oldfield works are displayed in all their glory with Ommadawn part One this best of the bunch IMO.The extended drum/percussion workout at the end is an absolute joy and they extract every last ounce of juice from it.The rockier versions of Tubular Bells may not be to everyone's taste admittedly but personally I prefer it in this form.You also get the superb Platinum wonderfully played.The encore Punkadiddle is quite funny with all the band (bar Maggie Reilly and Tim Cross) playing topless!!

This is a 100% prog lovers DVD.Extended peices and no songs to get in the way; Mike Oldfield as you love him.If you only get one Oldfield DVD make it this one.

Review by russellk
4 stars An excellent budget DVD, this is a fascinating insight into MIKE OLDFIELD's early career.

'Live at Montreaux' was recorded at the 1981 Montreaux Jazz Festival. It's well attended, but by no means the stadium rock popularised in the 1980s. The atmosphere is intimate, and OLDFIELD's band is a stripped down version (literally, during the encore!) of the enormous orchestra he carted around with him on the Exposed tour a few years earlier.

The DVD features both parts of 'Tubular Bells', played up tempo and with skill, though not with the stateliness I'd like to have heard. It's evident that this is the music the band knows best, and OLDFIELD ventures quite a long way from the studio script in places. By contrast, the pieces from 'Platinum' and 'QE2' are a little more perfunctory, though I enjoy the way the opening 'QE2' medley flows. However, the clear highlight is seeing Part 1 of 'Ommadawn' performed live, albeit by a small group of musicians. For thirty years the studio version of this track has had complete power over my emotions, and I'm delighted that the essence of the track is preserved in the live version - though the interminable drum solo, performed by three percussionists, does interrupt the flow somewhat.

The DVD is not without flaws. In at least two cases, most obviously during 'Tubular Bells Part 1', the editing is clumsy, with the bass guitarist suddenly on rhythm guitar as the music jumps forward. The colours haven't survived the years well: I'm not sure Maggie Reilly's face was ever quite that shade of blue, for example. That said, the camera operators know their stuff, and most of the essential moments are well captured. Embarrassingly well, in some cases: OLDFIELD cringes as he misses a note, and the dervish dance of some woman in the crowd is immortalised.

For fans of 70s prog rock, this is a valuable document. And for those interested in MIKE OLDFIELD's early career, this is a must.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars I am usually not a very big fan of Mike Oldfield and I don't rate his albums very highly, not even his most popular ones. But this live performance from 1981 is really exceptional! The relatively small size of Oldfield's backing band here is optimal, allowing for a kind of spontaneity and a real band feeling that you simply cannot have with too many people on stage. Not that they are really improvising here or anything, but they perform as a band and not as an orchestra conducted by Oldfield (as was the case on the Exposed album). The rock feeling that I feel is lacking in most of Oldfield's studio albums is really present here.

The band consists of two drummers, a keyboard player, a bass player and a female back up vocalist (there are no lead vocals as such, only wordless chanting). The bass player sometimes play guitar and Mike plays bass at some points as well as a plethora of other instruments. The drummers sometimes play tuned percussions and xylophones and others instruments. The vocalist is Maggie Reilly who sang for Mike on many occasions. She looks a bit bored in this performance compared to the rest of the band.

The performances of Tubular Bells and Platinum really bring these works to a whole new level and in my opinion better their often cold and sterile studio versions by a wide margin. Indeed, everything is better here. The music really comes alive. Tubular Bells gains immensely from this treatment and the total absence of the silly "master of ceremonies" who introduced the instruments on the original version as well as those awful growling vocals on part two can only make it better. I have always felt that putting these things on the Tubular Bells album was like painting a beautiful painting and then throwing something rotten on it! Platinum, similarly, is stripped of some annoying and silly sounds and it is also much more coherent in this performance compared to its four part studio version.

Other things performed are several selections from the very good Q.E.2 album (the most recent album at the time of this performance) and Ommadawn (the great part one).

The sound and picture quality are surprisingly good for a 1981 concert film and overall this is a very good product and a great entry in the famous Live At Montreux DVD series (that include concerts by Yes, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, ELP and many others).

Highly recommended and an excellent addition to any Prog collection.

Review by kenethlevine
5 stars In the mere 8 years between Tubular Bells and this concert, Oldfield had gone from kitchen sink 50 minute opuses in studio solitude to a tight rock band, passing on the way thru various prog folk derivations ("Hergest Ridge", "Ommadawn"), modern neo classical ("Incantations"). massive stage extravaganzas rivalling some of Rick Wakeman's earlier ambitions ("Exposed"), minimalism ("Platinum"), and finally his own influential take on Celtic rock ("QE2" ). One could argue he grew more during this time than many artists do in their lifetime, and that his audience grew in lock step with him, attaining an appreciation and love of more complex music that very few artists could have cultivated. I have heard bobblehead critics refer to Oldfield's work as childish, but I believe they may be conflating the artist's gift with childlike wonder that permeates many of his electric guitar solos with immaturity. In fact his restraint at resisting the guitar hero profile in favor of a clean shaven if slightly long haired boy wonder is to be commended. At least at this point, he seemed so genuinely happy with having finally engineered a tete a tete with the audience that this joy is discerned right through the gritted teeth holding his pick collection in place as his guitar plays him.

The concert begins with a medley from QE2, the album that was current at the time, and the first of his 2 predominantly Celtic albums. Although the successor "Five Miles Out" was still a year away, in "Taurus 1" we can perceive some of the motifs later used in that album's opus "Taurus 2". While the vividly red-haired Maggie Reilly adds a vocal dimension even to tracks that didn't have a singer on the original release, at this point her contributions are wordless and all the more vivid for it, being utilized craftily in place of both voice and accompanying instrumentation as the need is intuited. That this same singer became the voice of a string of chart hits shortly thereafter is tribute to her versatility and Oldfield's creativity.

The peak, though, is the underrated "Platinum" suite in 4 very different yet harmonious parts, each building on the previous, even the roaring twenties honky tonk of the "Charleston" part during which the band members are served wine, leading effortlessly into the "North Star" finale which Oldfield's riffs trade off with sweet acoustic guitar by Rick Fenn who otherwise plays mostly bass in the concert. Maggie returns to coax it to an appropriate crescendo. Throughout this opus and others, the keyboard work of Tim Cross is top notch and his stage presence is not bad at all. The two percussionists center the naturally rhythmic nature of Oldfield's music. The liner notes indicate that he set up the touring band as a profit sharing enterprise rather than simply paying them a gig fee. Based on their performance, Oldfield's genius is not limited to musical realms.

Oldfield later returns to QE2 with the wonderful "Conflict" that morphs from synth storm to a hot blooded Irish jig with nary a trace of self possession or artifice. This segues into Ommadawn Part One which covers many high points of that masterpiece. The abbreviated Tubular Bells 2 (highlight being the guitar played like a bagpipe!) and the full Tubular Bells 1 seem like the right proportions given the time constraints. The concert balances reflective, almost campfire intimacy when Oldfield is playing mandolin or acoustic guitar to rousing melodic solos to full on prog rock. To say that Punkadiddle is supremely anticlimactic is an understatement, but it's nice seeing these lads shed their doubtlessly drenched shirts before returning to the stage for this encore.

Given the breadth of what is presented here, the manner in which it is performed, the justice that it does to this man's legacy, and the enthusiasm of the audience that surely counted primarily jazz fans amongst their number, I can only conclude that this DVD represents an essential encapsulation of an eventful first 4/5 decade in a remarkable career.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is an excellent DVD and a big treat for fans of the early material. Oldfield' one and only performance at the annual festival, it was filmed, like so many other shows played there. (This DVD is part of a series of releases from the Jazz Festival). He had assembled a large band (Much sma ... (read more)

Report this review (#101511) | Posted by OGTL | Sunday, December 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars WOW. This an amazing release, the definitive DVD release from Mike Oldfield for many reasons. The first being the track selection -- it including pretty much all of Tubular Bells, and Ommadawn Part One! The second being the amazing ensemble band accompanying Oldfield's multi-intrumental genius. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#87483) | Posted by Bt-Tor | Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Definitely outstanding!! Compared to other DVD releases such as "The Art in heaven concert" or "Tubular Bells 2+3" (both are almost perfect from a technical point of view) this one here is a real diamond and much more better in musical terms. Total outstanding performance, with an emotional M ... (read more)

Report this review (#80530) | Posted by Dieter | Tuesday, June 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Mike Oldfield's only appearance to date at the Montreux Festival is an unforgettable moment of prog-music's history.... This concert is simply amazing from beginning to the end. An outstanding show with outstanding musicians. This DVD is A MUST HAVE for every Oldfield Fan. In my opinion: Ol ... (read more)

Report this review (#80382) | Posted by Grendelbox | Monday, June 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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