★★★★★ | Kate Bush, Before The Dawn (live)
You need to learn patience with Kate Bush. Ever since I heard “Wuthering Heights” I became a big fan of Kate Bush. I was 4 at the time and l remember saying to myself that I will see her live in one of those concert things. 35 years later I finally got to see Kate live at the Apollo on the 24th September 2014. I was four rows from the front, could see not only the whites of her eyes but the bare soles of her feet. I remember crying many many times. It really was a dream come true.
Releases from Kate Bush have been quite fast coming. Not that you would think it. After a 12 year hiatus, she returned in 2005 with Aerial. Then in 2011 there were two releases and a year after that the Before the Dawn tour that people went crazy for.
We then had to endure a 26 month wait before she released the CD recording taking from various shows during her 22-night residency at the Hammersmith Apollo where she last performed in 1979. What hadn’t helped the wait was Paddy Bush telling Graham Norton on his BBC radio 2 show late last year that Kate was going to release something from the show. We all thought it would be the DVD.
To be fair I had pre-ordered my copy on the day of its mention and that has been an agonising wait. Finally, on Friday my copy was delivered. I had to contain myself. I wanted to immerse myself in the whole experience. Playing it on the computer at work while being interrupted by mechanics and the telephone would have ruined it. On social media, I told friends they could all **** off, I would be with Kate Bush. And only Kate Bush.
I got home, locked the door, vodka was poured, ran upstairs to the manlab and became one with Kate Bush. The cellophane was removed from the three CD set and I indulged myself in the little booklet that accompanies the set. It goes on about the show and Kate gives thanks to everyone involved. On the night she was so gracious to us the audience too and that hasn’t been edited out from the CD. Each CD is set as an act. Act 1, 2 and 3.
Act 1 CD is your typical concert made up of seven songs. It was nice to listen to Lily without the muffling that comes from crying. Never be mine wasn’t actually played at the live show though it does appear on the CD. A puzzling question as to why this appears on the CD. That said I am glad it does. It is one of my favourites. I’ve many favourites but this one just happened to help me during a strange period of finding out who I was and what my life might have been at the time. Joanni about Joan of Arc was brilliant live.
Kate Bush’s first and only tour set new standards in live shows. From what I have read she was sort of the first to come out with a handsfree mic headset so she could perform in the song with visuals and art. You would have been stupid if you didn’t expect her to move the goal post again. So enter act 2.
Act 2 was taken from the B side of Hounds of Love titled The Ninth Wave. I never really understood the whole ‘woman drifting out to sea from a shipwreck. The concert put a lot of visuals to it. It all made sense. On the CD you are allowed in but shut your eyes first and enjoy the story telling through some acting and music. The live version of Dream of Sheep is just amazing. I like the song on the normal album, however, live changes it. You can hear the desperation in the woman’s voice hoping that she is found. Little Light reduced me to tears.
The heartache of it all ends in an uptempo version of The Morning Fog. An Irish jig soothes you after the journey experienced through the last 9 songs. It’s needed. I’m crying again as I listen to it.
This section was mind blowing. Audibly it still is. This time though you can open your eyes. Taken from the Aerial albums A Sky of Honey CD with three other songs added. Tawny Moon was sung by Kate’s son Albert McIntosh. Albert actually makes more of a presence through this section of the CD singing alongside his mother, his voice complimenting hers along the way. This time you are taken along 24 hours of changing sky in just 73 minutes.
From this act Sunset stands out on its own as it rises and rises like the song, rising to the top of the night. On the night Tawny Moon did seem to go on forever when it was only 7 minutes long.
I loved Aerial. On the album it’s pleasant. The live version was damn right frightening. It gets so loud and frenetic. It’s not the song you thought it was. Your pulse rate banging hard and fast to the song. When it does end there is a solo of Kate singing Among Angles. Again I cried.
She ends the set with Cloudbusting. Having calmed you down, for the final song you are up on your feet. For the entire three CDs, you have listened and absorbed. Now you are singing with her. Clapping and stamping your feet. It’s an ending of all endings and sadly it is the ending. Lights up, carry on.
I don’t have any bad words to say about this. The concert could have been watching Kate paint a wall white, I’d still have loved it and the CD could have been filled with silence except for some casual cough or other such noise. I’d still love it.
Let’s hope that in two years time we get the visual to go with it. That would be nice though I’d have to stock up on more tissues.
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