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ConcertsKate Bush @ Eventim Apollo, London, UK 09/06/2014

Posted on Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 08:21:54 CDT by Dean Pedley
Progressive Rock After a thirty five year pause you would have got long odds indeed on staking a wager that Kate Bush would make a return to the stage in 2014. The announcement some six months ago of a residency at London's Apollo (more fondly remembered as the Hammersmith Odeon) was the trigger for a frenzy of ticket buying activity from her adoring fan base. The question everybody was then asking was what songs will she play? And after such a long absence would she still have the voice, presence and allure of bygone years?

Despite recent refurbishments the Apollo still retains the intimate theatre style ambience that makes for the perfect setting. With the band (including Jon Carin, David Rhodes and John Giblin) taking their positions the intro of 'Lily' strikes up and a barefooted and beaming Kate leads her backing singers onto the stage. The next half an hour or so follows the standard gig format; a smattering of hits ('Running up that Hill', 'Hounds of Love', 'King of the Mountain' ) together with deep cuts ('Top of the City', 'Joanni') and between song thank-you's and audience acknowledgement with the reciprocal outpouring of emotion you would expect.

Where Before The Dawn really differs from "just another gig" is when The Ninth Wave begins and the show is transformed into a theatrical presentation. Rear screen projections, dialogue and dramatic interpretations which culminate in Kate being carried through the crowd in the arms of Fish People moves the production to a whole other level. You can hear a pin drop during the quieter moments and the absence of cell phones and cameras is hugely beneficial in allowing the experience to be appreciated as it was intended. A moving 'Watching you Without me' finds Kate's teenage son Bertie playing the role of the boy whose Mother is lost at sea with the eerie spectacle of Kate appearing in the room as an unseen observer. Presented some thirty years after its conception, The Ninth Wave is an intoxicating and mesmerising spectacle.

The second half is taken up by a performance of A Sky of Honey from 2005's Aerial which proves a more challenging proposition. A languid concept of the sun coming up amidst the dawn chorus of twittering birdsong ebbs and flows and is all beautifully poetic and adventurous but lacks the spark of what has gone before. Not that anyone really minds of course; this is, after all, Kate Bush live on a London stage and she can do whatever she likes. The encore provides the perfect contrast of a stark solo piano 'Among Angels' followed by a good old fashioned sing-a-long to 'Cloudbusting'. And just as she pushed the boundaries of what constituted pop music back in the 80's Before The Dawn finds Kate Bush doing exactly the same with live performance in 2014.

1. "Lily"
2. "Hounds Of Love"
3. "Joanni"
4. "Top Of The City"
5. "Running Up That Hill"
6. "King Of The Mountain"

The Ninth Wave
7. "And Dream Of Sheep"
8. "Under Ice"
9. "Waking The Witch"
10. "Watching You Without Me"
11. "Jig Of Life"
12. "Hello Earth"
13. "The Morning Fog"

A Sky Of Honey
14. "Prelude"
15. "Prologue"
16. "An Architect's Dream"
17. "The Painter's Link"
18. "Sunset"
19. "Aerial Tal"
20. "Somewhere In Between"
21. "Tawny Moon"
22. "Nocturn"
23. "Aerial"
24. "Among Angels"
25. "Cloudbusting"

Review by Dean Pedley

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