#940: 1985, Kate Bush, Cloudbusting

by George_East on September 30, 2014

Tomorrow will see the last show in Kate Bush’s extraordinary 22 date run at Hammersmith Apollo, her first live gigs in 35 years.   These were concerts that no one in music thought would happen.   The tickets for the shows sold out in an astonishing 15 minutes when they were released back in May. I was lucky enough though to manage to negotiate the endless F5 refresh frustration and get on-line and buy a couple of tickets, and I went to the show last Wednesday.

I have used the word ‘show’ 3 times in this piece already and it really is the right word.   Above the marquee at the venue were the words ‘Before The Dawn’, with no reference to Kate herself at all.   After a relatively conventional opening with a band, the concert is structured around two suites – The Ninth Wave, which is the second side of her 1985 album The Hounds of Love, about a ship wreck and a woman drowning the sea, and after the interval A Sky of Honey, the single track second album from Kate’s 2005, Aerial.   Both are performed as musical theatre.   It is fair to say that these are probably the most obtuse material she has ever released.   This is no lazy greatest hits package. In fact she doesn’t play a single song from the first four albums – no Wuthering Heights, no Babushka, no The Man With The Child In His Eyes.

I usually like my gigs (and my music), stripped back and basic, and this was about as far away from that as is possible to imagine. Bonkers, lush, extremely polished, highly theatrical. I should have hated it but instead I loved it – helped by having breathtakingly good seats – second row, bang centre.   I came away with an even clearer view that Kate Bush really is one of the finest and most original pop or rock artists these shores have ever produced. She was instantly likeable too – seemingly having a great time and genuinely grateful to the crowd.

This was the populist encore. The Donald Sutherland video seemed to be endlessly on the telly back in the day.   Cloudbusting was the perfect ending to a great night.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Elliott October 1, 2014 at 11:49 am

Mrs E and I were fortunate to go three times. I used the word show when describing the experience to friends as well. It was nowhere near a conventional gig.

Wonderful musicianship from all and great theatre.

And yes, Kate seemed genuinely thrilled with the adulation from the audience.

I never thought I’d see the day when she played live. I was watching TOTP in 1978 with my Dad. A song came on, Wuthering Heights as it turned out, and he put down his paper and said something about the god awful screeching noise. From that day until now I’ve loved Kate Bush.



George_East October 1, 2014 at 11:53 am

3 times. Blimey. It wasn’t exactly cheap. Yes – not a gig I expected to happen at all.


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