It’s been more than a week since I saw Kate Bushs’ ‘Before The Dawn’ so where have I been?
After my plea on this blog followed by the incredible story of how I was offered two face value tickets from a wonderful lady called Carrie, you would think I could at least do a write up about the gig. After all, every music blogger who’s seen the show has had something to say about it…
I didn’t really understand quite how much Kate Bush had been absorbed by me during my young years until I couldn’t get tickets to her show back in March. I wasn’t prepared for such an announcement, Kate Bush doesn’t like appearing in public let along perform in front of it. So the announcement threw me off balance like it did many people. I had to get tickets. I failed.
After that I sulked through the summer and sulked even more when I read the reviews and the bragathon Tweets I was being bombarded with. One day, completely miserable, I threw out a request into the Twittersphere. It was a miracle that it worked out and that’s how I found myself sitting in the Apollo last Wednesday night, Fairy Godmother Carrie to my left and grumpy husband to my right (more on that later)
This was probably the first time I hadn’t been near deafened in the Apollo. Previous gigs had always seen me uncomfortably near the sound stack, my teeth and bones having a little sing song of their own. This time, the music didn’t flatten my chest. Maybe it was because I was in the circle. I glanced over to husband who was wearing his poker face. Oh dear, it was ‘Lily’ from The Red Shoes, an album he’s not familiar with. I did warn him she wouldn’t be playing anything earlier than 1985. I was happy at least. I was watching Kate Bush.
It was fun watching her sing her hits to us, her eyes shifting around at the huge crowd before her. I was waiting for The Ninth Wave and goodbye to the poker face beside me.
I don’t like sitting down at gigs. For me, part of the experience is to be able to move, to dance, to sway, and to jump. During the ‘hits’ part of the concert, I did start to feel constrained by my seat. When Kate performed The Ninth Wave, I was glad of that seat!
I could feel the change of mood happening in the seat next to me: husband had woken up. As we watched a film of amateur astronomer phoning the coastguard about an SOS he had heard, we knew behind that screen something was happening..
Moments later, Kate Bush appeared on a screen at the back of the stage, floating listlessly in a moonlit sea. We were now watching side 2 of Hounds of Love, as it was played out in Kate’s imagination all those years ago when she wrote it. She shivered as she sung; she gasped, she looked bloody cold. I’d never seen anything like this before, a performer so vulnerable before us. Having hidden away from us all for years, here she was bearing herself. Perhaps this was mutual therapy for all of us then?
It was a melodrama of Shakespearean proportions but with a happy ending. Having been taken to the edge of darkness, before the dawn, the band was reunited to The Morning Fog. Smiling at Bertie, who was part of the chorus, she sang ‘I’ll tell my son’.
After a twenty minute intermission, we sat down to hear the soundtrack a 2005 spent in the Middle East, A Sky of Honey. It was the birdsong that used to do it for me while sitting outside with the stereo blasting woodpigeons into the desert night. With the opening bars I was transported back there. Revisiting this wonderful music in its live form, this time the birds were real, flying across the stage behind Kate as she sung.
I watched the encore, Kate and just the piano playing ‘Among Angels’, through a film of water, my tears. When the final song, Cloudbusting, burst into life, the crowd was on its feet once more. I could barely clap along, exhausted and dumb stuck. I looked to my right and saw I wasn’t the only one.
Husband was grumpy because of the poor beer selection at the Apollo bar. That’s how much beer can mean to a bloke. He relayed this story to his friends in Evening Star in Brighton and they totally understood where he was coming from.