❉ Kate Bush’s incredible run of 22 sold-out shows from 2014 immortalised in a lasting document.
Two years ago, in 2014, I was lucky enough to be able to secure a golden ticket to see Kate Bush’s much anticipated Before the Dawn show. The only other time she had to toured prior to this, was in the late 70s when I was but a mere girl, so this was the hottest ticket in town. I felt extremely lucky and privileged to be able to attend, and the media frenzy prior to the event went a long way to building up the excitement. It’s not often that such hype meets a similar outcome, however on this occasion expectations were well and truly exceeded. As a seasoned gig goer of some 30 years, I can honestly say that this was one of, if not the best show I have ever had the pleasure to witness. It was sheer perfection.
On the evening I attended the show, cameras had been set up to film. Friends who’d attended on different nights of the residency at the Hammersmith Apollo, had also said that the show was being apparently being filmed, so expectations were high for a DVD release around Christmas 2014. Sadly this never materialised but, ever hopeful fans held out for a 2015 release; putting footage together would surely take time, and Kate is well known for her perfectionism. She’d want to release a quality item and take her time to ensure everything was right for a DVD release. Wouldn’t she? Again, our hopes were dashed. Rumours continued to circulate of a DVD release but with time ever-passing since the gig, this was becoming more and more unlikely.
Then, out of the blue in the summer of this year, there were rumours circulating of a CD release of the gig. Within a matter of days this was confirmed by the Kate Bush official website. It was great to hear that something good was going to happen in relation to the Before the Dawn show, however the constant expectation for a DVD release failing to materialise (yet again) had upset quite a few people especially those who had been unfortunate enough not to be able to secure a ticket for the show.
The CD is presented as a 3-disc set in a digipack with a 24-page booklet. It is a very beautiful thing and sits very nicely alongside the souvenir programme I bought on the night, with complimentary artwork. The discs capture the essence of the show perfectly, with spoken dialogue and covering the majority of the songs performed in the show, in sequential order. There is one additional track that wasn’t performed in front of an audience Never Be Mine and is the sole recording that exists. It was not included in any of the live performances due to it making the show over-run, but was always meant to be there, so for completeness has been included on the CD package.
The main feature of the show was The Ninth Wave (from the 1985 Hounds of Love album), a story of a woman lost at sea and the thoughts and dreams running through her minds eye as she floated around, wondering if her fate was a watery grave or whether she would be rescued. The production of this vision was as authentic as possible with Kate employing a floatation tank and ‘helicopter’ to spectacular effect. It’s a shame that the DVD was not forthcoming as the show was extremely visual. If you didn’t attend the show I would imagine it would be difficult to make the same kind of impact on the listener. That said, the discs are excellent sound quality and covers an array of Kate’s back catalogue. I actually got spine tingles listening to it again, so I guess it’s impact is still somewhat significant.
We don’t know if Kate Bush will ever tour again, which makes Before the Dawn even more rare and special. If you’re even remotely a fan of her music I’d recommend this CD, which captures the most perfect moment of her illustrious career.
❉ Available from the usual online music retailers from 25th November 2016.
❉ Ange Chan is a poet and novelist. Her fourth poetry collection “Fame; What’s Your Name?” was published in paperback and ebook earlier this year. Her second novel “Baby, Can You Hear Me?” was also published in paperback and Kindle.