Saturday, 13 September 2014

Kate Bush-Hammersmith Apollo: 9th September 2014

Before The Dawn

Photo: Sindy, another British icon

Two weeks ago, a super lovely friend messaged me with 'Do you like Kate Bush?' I thought she might just be saying there's a documentary on iplayer that's pretty good but then she came back with 'I have tickets, I know her manager's daughter!'  My reply was 'Yes yes yes'. I didn't even attempt to get tickets because she's a national treasure and all that jazz and I was sure it would be near impossible to get them. And then I floated off into waah waah land (that's the internet) and played her records on repeat, every album, making sure I hadn't missed any. Because when you start looking over her back catalogue, you realise there are a few that may have been overlooked.

I didn't have Kate Bush posters on my wall, I was only four when she last toured. Ten years later at the age when music is supposed to be the most influential, I was listening to (not even going to attempt hipster cool) Doctor and The Medics and Erasure probably. But isn't that what pop music is all about? Working things out and growing up? Music escapism for me was more straight forward pop. Kate Bush was just 'too much' for me at that time. (Also said by Johnny Rotten in aforementioned Beeb documentary).  At 11 years old, I thought Hounds of Love was a bit odd, now I think 'fucking amazing'.

Much later on and suddenly my ringtone is Army Dreamers. This is what amazes me about Kate Bush, she was always beyond her time, songs written in her early teens that seem to come from a wisdom and depth beyond most.  It took me so long to reach a level of appreciation for her creativity, songs she wrote as a teenager that at the time of punk, new wave and Duran Duran, was just so deep, creative, poetic and outstanding in its maturity and at times lyrically sexually risque from a young woman. She was always otherworldly when most teenagers just want to fit in and be the norm.  Her song writing has remained consistent up into her 50s, there's no desperate bid to recreate the past with each track feeling fresh. It took me twice as long as that to even get near.  I don't think she has stage fright, I think the media can't understand a woman going 'Thank you for you adoration, but I'm off now for 35 years to live my life' so they add some neurosis to explain it as women should be grateful and about pleasing her admirers.

There's a bit of me that wanted to hear Babooshka, Wuthering Heights and Women's Work at this show but I kind of see how it wouldn't have quite worked too. Barefoot and so beautiful on so many levels, her humbleness, her appreciation of the crowd's 'whoop' as she walked on stage and a crowd member shouting 'Welcome back' was so charged. I didn't cry...but I did feel like I couldn't move. It's music, you should at least jiggle about, but the audience was still.

Anyway back to Kate, the coverage of her come back has been weighted so much on her age, her bloody normal change in shape, rumoured stage fright and reclusive nature and 'can she still sing, dance even?' Thank you music industry for reminding us that a genius song writer will still have her stage presence based on these misogynistic things? She kicked those backsides so many times in this show. It was such a performance! You could feel her bleeding on to the stage with a back catalogue of what meant something and perhaps those early tunes didn't? I don't know of course, maybe she's just bored of them and wanted people to 'get' her other work?  Running Up That Hill has nothing to do with hills, we all got that and it was (spoiler: three tracks in). We started to get how she could put herself into other roles and maybe that came later on. She started to make people feel a bit uncomfortable and suddenly it's a hit but not as needed as the more obvious ones?

Cloudbusting was the finale...and so fitting and absolutely my favourite moment despite it being the last song. It made sense, the whole thing was a performance that had little to do with traditional hits and memorabilia, it was just Kate (not wishing to sound too gushing). I don't want to say too much about the set list for anyone that's yet to see her. Her son sang, her brothers were in her band, she did an impression of a bird, she didn't wear shoes, she danced with a wooden puppet, she had the sunset on stage, she had the moon on stage, she had her life and all that matters, and she said thank you so many times, the whole place felt like creation.

Then I got on a tube and I couldn't see straight, not due to a few too many G&T's  but 'wow'.

I dedicate this post to Charlotte and Tony who were as ridiculously excited as me that night and quite lovely concert companions. x

And also big  thank you's to the audience that respectively held back their cameras (bar two naughties who got a telling off) Everyone wants to record a moment but sometimes you just have to rely on your memory and as Kate showed (unlike Ian Astbury and  Ian Brown who threw tantrums last year) if you ask nicely, most will co-operate.

In other news: I have a facebook page (yeah, yeah I know I slag it off but brave new world and all that). If you want to be friends and you're nice, message me first. Here. x


  1. Wow all right, I felt the same way as you about the performance, it wasn't a gig but a piece of theatre a wonderful sharing of the past 35 years and it left me numb with happiness.

  2. Kate Bush! wow lucky you, I've loved her for years, a unique performer.
    Nice blog, I found you using the 'next blog' button :)

  3. Yes Ky, I'm still going misty eyed at the memory of it. Hello Jane, glad you like the blog :)