Kate Bush Live Comeback - The Round-up


After 35 years away from the stage, legendary singer Kate Bush made a theatrical and triumphant comeback on the London stage where she performed her last live show in 1979.


Sold-out but never a sell-out, Bush remained true to form

Fans from around the world were thrilled by a set that began as a traditional live rock show but soon turned into a more typical Kate Bush performance, filled with theatrics, eccentricities, old hits and fan favourites. Opening with ‘Lily’ from her 1993 album The Red Shoes, 56 year-old Bush received a standing ovation – the first of many throughout the show.

The show, which was the first of 22 sold-out nights at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, was divided into three distinct sections. The first was a straight-up performance by Bush, who dressed in black and barefoot, performed hits ‘Running Up That Hill’, ‘Hounds of Love’ and ‘King of the Mountain’, backed by a seven-piece band and five backing vocalists.

Over the years, the eccentric artist has spoken of her preference to play ‘roles’ in her music, as she thinks the characters are more interesting than herself. This tool was employed in the second section, ‘The Ninth Wave’, where the stage was made up of the remains of a ship-wreck, and the story was of a woman who was drowning at sea, containing songs from ‘side two’ of her 1985 Hounds of Love record.

Fans on Twitter who were lucky to attend the gig claimed that it was very much a “middle-class affair” with those who attempted to dance “in a Kate Bush style” being told-off. Most of the audience, however, obeyed Bush’s conditions – not to use their phones or take photos during the show.

BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Danny Baker sent music fans worldwide into a frenzy when he suggested that David Bowie had made a special guest appearance, tweeting “Bowie has just come onstage at Kate Bush, people literally crying”. The news transpired to be nothing but an odd rumour, though there were other prolific entertainers spotted in the audience, including Madonna, Bjork, Grace Jones, Marc Almond and Lily Allen.

According to Billboard, Bush seemed to display “none of the nerves or apprehension you would expect of someone who hadn’t performed live in over three decades”. She addressed the crowd after the second section, for which she received another standing ovation from the overjoyed audience, saying “Thank you so much for such a warm and positive response”.

Kate Bush: Before The Dawn live at The Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London, Britain - 26 Aug 2014
Eccentric: The three-act show was unpredictable

The final section of the ambitious show, titled ‘Before The Dawn’, consisted of a suite of songs from ‘A Sky Full of Honey’, the second disc from her 2005 album, Aerial, and predominantly featuring the singer behind her piano while a puppeteer operated a child-sized wooden mannequin and Bush’s teenage son Bertie made a cameo as a 19th century artist, all while dancers performed in slow motion dressed in medieval costume.

‘Wuthering Heights’ – Bush’s debut single, which was written in one sitting at the piano in 1977 and released a year later becoming the first UK number one written and performed by a female artist – was absent along with ‘Babooshka’, but many fans agreed that it was inevitable, and didn’t discount from their enjoyment of the spectacular night.

While the media buzzes about the unexpected comeback of an artist who is known to be reclusive and unpredictable, 11 albums by Bush including all nine of her studio cuts, have re-entered the UK chart according to Officialcharts.com, with her 1986 best-of collection, The Whole Story leading the pack at number eight.

Watch fans discuss the Kate Bush comeback below.

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