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Friday, September 4, 1998 Published at 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK


Oldfield's regal performance

From Ibiza to Westminster: The Tubular Bells premiere

Tubular Bells maestro Mike Oldfield is taking his new album straight to the corridors of power - by premiering it in the unlikely surroundings of London's regal Horse Guards Parade.

Usually more associated with state visits and the Trooping The Colour ceremony, the square just behind Whitehall will reverberate to the world premiere of Tubular Bells 3 on Friday night.

[ image: Mike Oldfield: Inspired by Ibiza]
Mike Oldfield: Inspired by Ibiza
Organisers are hoping for a sell-out at the 7,000-seat venue's first pop concert.

The album, which went on sale on Monday, comes 25 years after the first instalment of Oldfield's series, which has sold almost 20 million copies.

But Oldfield, 45, has been keeping up with the times - the new album is influenced by the house music scene of Ibiza, where he lived in semi-retirement for three years.

He plans to play the guitar and keyboards for the open-air show, but will be joined by a dozen musicians and singers for his first concert in five years, as well as a spectacular light display.

Big Ben finale

The finale of the performance will be the playing of a giant tubular bell as nearby Big Ben strikes 10 o'clock. The show also marks the patching-up of the row between Oldfield and Virgin tycoon Richard Branson.

The pair fell out over the 13-album contract Oldfield, then 19, signed with Virgin Records before Tubular Bells' original 1973 release.

[ image: Richard Branson: Feud with Oldfield is over]
Richard Branson: Feud with Oldfield is over
The album put Virgin on the map and made instrumental albums fashionable. But Oldfield almost cracked up under the pressure of fame, and turned to LSD and alcohol before joining a shadowy 'self-discovery' course called Exegis.

He married his Exegis course leader Diana but the relationship broke up a month later.

But two longer relationships since then have given him five children.

His move to Ibiza was meant to be for a rest - but he was seduced by the island's club scene.

While the clubs made an impact on his music, he says the drugs took their toll on his physical and mental health. Now he has returned to Britain, and he dare not go back to the island.

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