Reflecting that “Ibiza is a weird place. It gave me a lot of power and a lot of inspiration, happiness, sadness, anger, some of the worst times I can remember since my teens”, Mike decided to leave Ibiza, and poured his feelings into Tubular Bells III, moving its production to London in April 1998 (A teaser from the album was released towards the end of 1997 on The Essential Mike Oldfield).

A digital remaster of Tubular Bells was released in May to mark the album's 25th anniversary, and the soundtrack album of 'The X-Files: Fight The Future' included Mike's Tubular-X, a reworked version of the X-Files theme incorporating the familiar piano motif from Tubular Bells. A Digital Remaster of 'The Exorcist' was also released in cinemas.

In September, Tubular Bells III was premiered with a live performance at Horse Guards Parade in London (it was the first concert ever held there). Heavy rain fell on the audience during the concert - which amused Mike, as Richard Branson was in the audience. Inspired by the concert's climax coinciding with the chiming of Big Ben, Mike decided to base a whole concert around this idea, with the bell signifying the division between the old Millennium and the new.

After extensive use of computers on Tubular Bells III, Mike realised how much he missed his guitars. His next album, Guitars, was made entirely on those instruments. Soon after this, he completed The Millennium Bell. The Millennium concert took place in Berlin on December 31st 1999, concluding with a spectacular lightshow, during which Mike performed a specially-written piece of music.

After a busy 1999, Mike had a well-earned rest at the beginning of 2000, before commencing serious work on the virtual reality project that he had been considering for some time, and had mentioned in interviews as far back as 1995. The finished product, called Music VR, is available from the Music VR website, and is also included on the bonus CD with the accompanying album Tr3s Lunas (Three Moons).

Tr3s Lunas is the first album to be released under a three-album deal with Warner Spain. The second album of this contract is Tubular Bells 2003, a remake of the original album. With this version, Mike wanted to avoid the mistakes and imperfections of the original, while taking advantage of modern recording techniques. He also said he was pleased not to have to compose the music for a change. After releasing Tubular Bells 2003 on DVD-Audio with surround sound, Mike has said that he plans to create a 5.1 Surround mix of Ommadawn.

In 2005, Mike signed to Mercury Records (ironically, one of the companies who turned down Tubular Bells in 1973 for its lack of vocals), with his first album for the label, a double CD provisionally titled Quicksilver, due out in late 2005.








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Credit: David Porter and Paul Harris of The Mike Oldfield Information Service, Olivier Lebra of Tubular Web.

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