Live Music Review: Kate Bush, Before the Dawn

Thursday, 11 September 2014





Thousands of fans scuttled into the Hammersmith Apollo, a few excitedly taking photographs with the venue behind them, proudly holding up their tickets as if it fell out of a Wonka bar and they were finally heading in to receive their lifetime supply of chocolate - except chocolate there was not, but instead, a woman that has held a grip onto their hearts for decades.

I am hugely familiar with standing with a fan base in a music venue, waiting for the act to come on stage and the inevitable cheers that follow the presence of the singer or band. Having been to over 50 concerts since I was 15, and also working in a music venue, before this concert I'd have confidently announced to you all that I know it all, I've experienced every feeling you can at a gig and nothing surprises me anymore. I would have been wrong.
The overwhelming feeling from the crowd of anticipation, excitement and disbelief at what they were about to experience, was nothing I'd ever experienced before. The majority of these people had waited a lifetime to see the woman that was about to take the stage, each of them knowing how incredibly lucky they were to possess a ticket and to see the woman herself - Kate Bush.

I could feel her in my stomach, I could feel her in my head and I could feel her in my heart.

The band erupted into a beat which filled the air, wrapping itself around the audience in a conflicting comforting manner, reaching out and saying "it's okay, she's here, the wait is over" whilst screaming "she's here! are you ready?!".Whether they were ready or not, Kate Bush confidently strolled onto stage, bare foot, smiling, and welcomed by an applause that made hands sore and hearts swell.

Kate's voice was untouched by time, un-scarred by years and untarnished by use. As she sang the lyrics of 'Lily', the audience knew that whatever they were going to experience in the next three hours would be like nothing they had experienced before. All eyes were fixated on the stage as Bush twirled and danced to her own extent, hitting every note pitch perfect, and stunning the crowd with well known 'Hounds of Love', 'Running up that Hill' and 'King of the Mountain'.



In the next hour and a half, a story formed by the seven tracks on Bush's second side of the 'Hounds of Love' album - a concept album about a woman floating out at sea at night trying to keep herself awake - was brought to life.
Scenes filled with stage props, flying spotlights, video segments of Kate in water, waves formed by materials and dancers with fish skulls. Despite the sad story line, Bush still managed to make the audience laugh, reminding them they were able to do something other that be completely immersed in viewing the jaw dropping productions taking part in front of them. Every awakening shock, giggle and stage production warranted a deserved applause by the audience.



The third part to the show was much more mellow, and was based on the second part of her eighth studio album 'Aerial'. The second disc 'A Sky of Honey' is based on a summers day; a single piece of music built on the sunrise, birds, the sea and the sunset - all of which Bush incorporates into her performance.
Opening with a puppet and a door, and ending with a beautiful transformation, the set tells a story filled with birds soaring, the sun rising, the moon shining, and even her very own son, Bertie, takes the stage as The Painter - all of which are much less dramatic than the previous set, some of which I found myself daydreaming through, but still, filled with beauty and art which perfectly support the music in which it accompanies.

Thirty-five years was nothing to the fans compared to the never that they were expecting. The tightly held and strict music career that Kate Bush is well known to have, once again produced a spectacular and mind blowing piece of art. Yet this time it was visual as-well as audible.

Directed by a wonderful and wacky imagination. A gift to be in the presence of. A world that could only be created by the perfectionist woman herself. We can only begin to thank her son for encouraging her to do such thing.

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***A Personal Note:
As a mere fellow companion to my super fan Stepfather, heading to this show was a matter of duty and respect from my end. I was looking forward to seeing her, yet seeing super-fans outside the venue that so desperately wanted tickets put a huge guilt-filled cloud over my head, and I couldn't help but feel my ticket was being wasted.
Wasted? It was far from it.
My once narrow mind, built from 'Wuthering Heights' and other similar songs made my mind up a long time ago about Kate Bush's music. I couldn't have been more happy to have been wrong whilst in the presence of her raw talent and stunning voice. My respect and admiration have escalated beyond what I could have ever imagined. 
Am I now a fan? Probably not - I'm not going to go out and buy her music any time soon. A girl with huge respect and an occasional penchant for Kate Bush? Yes, that I suppose I am.


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