Kate Bush Hammersmith Apollo London 3rd September 2014

Kate Bush Hammersmith Apollo London 3rd September 2014
katetixI never believed in my wildest dreams that I would ever see Kate Bush live in concert again. I felt lucky to have seen her during her one and only tour when it called at Sunderland Empire, and I was totally amazed when she announced her return, which seemed to come completely out of the blue a few months ago. Marie (like me an old trooper from the Empire concert) came along with Laura, David, Shauna and me to last nights concert.
From the moment Kate walked barefoot onto the stage last night, the crowd showed how much she has been missed. Fans have travelled from every corner of the globe to witness and be part of this second coming, “Before the Dawn”, and they made sure that Kate knew how much they love her, giving her standing ovations at the end of each of the first few songs. The first thing you notice is how strong her voice is, how well she looks, how confident, and how much she smiles. She seemed genuinely pleased to be there performing, and to see everyone.
The first set of six songs was the closest that the concert got to a “gig” with Kate performing a selection of songs from her career, including “Hounds of Love”; “Running Up That Hill”; and her more recent single “King of the Mountain”. Before the next segment we we given an unexpected interval, while a technical fault was sorted out, which added to the drama of the evening. kateprogBy 9pm, fault rectified, we were all back in our seats to witness “The Ninth Wave”, which tells the story of a lady (Kate) lost at sea after her ship crashes. She fades in and out of life, fighting with the waves and evil skeleton fish, who fight to drag her under. She has an out of body experience as, ghost-like, she returns home to observe her husband and son (played by Kate’s real son Bertie) in their living room watching TV and having supper (toad in the hol, good choice 🙂 ). The coast guard drag her from the sea, only to lose her to the fish skeletons again. A helicopter hovers above us all, lights shining and swirling around the venue. The evil fish hold Kate aloft and carry her through the aisle and out a side entrance.
Ultimately she is dragged out alive, and the evil fish lose her, back to the earth and her life. All of this was staged in the most professional, artist and engaging way that you could imagine. Simply breathtaking.
After another interval we were treated to a performance of “A Sky of Honey”, from Aerial. This sequence also has strong links to earth and the environment. Kate plays the part of a bird-like woman who observes the actions of a 19th-century painter (played by Bertie) who is painting a scene of the sky and a strange quirky mannequin who follows her around throughout the piece (the mannequin also features on the cover of the programme; which you can see above). The performance features several birds; a white dove, a rooster, a seagull, and an evil black raven who attacks Kate, transforming her arm into a black wing. The story climaxes with Kate duelling with her guitarists who wear evil beak masks. Dark, moody, scary. The place went crazy, everyone on their feet. Kate was beaming.
kateconfettiFor the encore she returned to sit alone at her grand piano and sing Among Angels. The band then returned for a joyous “Cloudbusting” with everyone singing along.
We left the Apollo at 11.20pm. The girl sitting to my right looked at me and simply said “Wow!”. Laura says it is the best concert she has ever seen. A very emotional experience in so many ways, lots of tears in the eyes moments.
Kate Bush might just be the greatest creative rock artist that we have.
Apologies for any typos, I have been typing this on the train home.
Lily; Hounds of Love; Joanni; Top of the City; Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God); King of the Mountain
The Ninth Wave: And Dream of Sheep; Under Ice; Waking the Witch; Watching You Without Me; Jig of Life; Hello Earth; The Morning Fog
A Sky of Honey: Prelude; Prologue; An Architect’s Dream; The Painter’s Link; Sunset; Aerial Tal; Somewhere in Between; Tawny Moon; Nocturn; Aerial
Encore: Among Angels; Cloudbusting
The yellow slip of flimsy tissue paper is a piece of confetti; these were thrown over the audience early in the show. The confetti features an extract from “The Coming of Arthur” by Lord Alfred Tennyson, which is said to have inspired Kate Bush to write the Ninth Wave.
“Wave after wave, each mightier than the last,
Till last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep
And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged
Roaring, and all the wave was in a flame”

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by davidx66 on September 4, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I envy you. I tried for tickets but it was impossible. Looking forward to your review.


  2. Posted by Chris on September 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    I was there too, a truely fantastic evening : )


  3. Mrs Jackson is a huge fan of Kate, and I do love the Hounds of Love album in particular, so ended up paying seriously through the nose for this one, struck out on getting a regular ticket, so ended up paying £800 notes for a package that included a picnic across the road from Hammersmith; in fairness we weren’t talking burger and a pint, this was fancy foul, prawn salad with nuts and a half bottle of French red, plus champers on arrival, which meant that on top of the drink we’d already had we were rather merry on arrival! I know its heresy to say so, but I’ve mixed feelings about the show – I thought the first half, when she just sang with her phenomenal band, was superb, Running up that Hill and King of the Mountain were utterly superb, and her voice was seriously good. The theatrical section…some of it was impressive visually, some of it just plain silly for me, though the Ninth Wave was far superior to the the second part from Aerial. The encore, where she sat at the piano and played Among Angels and you could’ve heard a pin drop, was magical, and Cloudbursting just epic. Personally, I would’ve been satisfied with that, her songs and voice are enough. However, I was clearly in the minority as everyone seemed to think the theatrical section was incredible. Still, I’m very much glad I went. The price tag still hurts mind!


    • Posted by vintagerock on July 13, 2020 at 3:14 pm

      I agree Craig I enjoyed every minute of it and found it an unforgettable experience in so many ways. The ovation she got when she walked on stage was incredible. A true genius and an icon. Happy days Peter


  4. This is in the top ten of greatest gigs I’ve ever been too, I agree with your review, me and my partner went and he asked me to marry him over lunch earlier that day, so all kinds of emotions run through me when I think back, it was just magical, we were upstairs quite far back but the atmosphere was electric, and I cried during Running up that Hill, which was the highlight and my favourite KB song. There’s more to life than music…but only just… x


    • Posted by vintagerock on December 29, 2022 at 12:22 pm

      Lovely story of a lovely day Ben. Thank you so much for sharing. Yes it was a wonderful concert, Kate Bush was fantastic. Happy days Peter


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