Friday 13th April, 1979. A young, innocent, teenage boy (that would be me) travels to the big city of Edinburgh for his first proper pop concert. Accompanied by three schoolpals and a rabbit gonk (that Angela Murray stopped me from throwing towards the stage incase I took someone’s eye out!), I saw the Queen of my musical world Kate Bush live on stage. Only 20 years old, she sang, danced, spun and acted her way through ‘The Tour Of Life’, a theatrical rock extravaganza unlike anything seen before.
The marvellous memories of that show have forever remained. In the years since, friends, family, waistline and daydreams have come and gone but my love for that woman’s work has never wavered. Neither has my utter conviction that she would never tour again.
Until, last year, she came back! 35 years is a long time to wait for a second date Kate! Still, she’s never followed the norm and fans love her all the more for it.
The news of ‘Before The Dawn‘ genuinely thrilled me, then filled me with fear that I wouldn’t get one of the precious tickets. This was beyond Willy Wonka territory. Not getting in just wasn’t an option.
The internet melted the moment they went on sale. 22 shows sold out in 7 minutes, but someone was smiling down on me and I somehow managed to get a couple of tickets. I still couldn’t allow myself to quite believe it though.
I finally realised this was really happening to me one year ago this very day when my fellow Bush-a-holic (and thankfully patient) chum Mike and I were ushered into London’s Eventim Apollo by a smiley pair of security guards. God it felt wonderful. Good seats too (Led Zep’s Jimmy Page a couple of rows infront and was that Chrissie Hynde over on the left?)
The sense of anticipation from the audience was off the scale – you could actually feel it. Any moment now, Kate would be right there again infront of ME. The intervening years would melt away and I would be a teenager again.
Bang on time, there she was. The noisy reception was beyond joyful as she casually and merrily led her band of minstrels onto the stage conga style, looking genuinely moved and amazed by the euphoric welcome (can you imagine Madonna being so endearingly humble?)
We were treated to half a dozen hits that we never thought we’d ever hear live – ‘Hounds of Love’, ‘Running Up That Hill’, ‘King Of The Mountain’ and more. THAT voice was as unique as ever. Richer and deeper over the years but also as powerful and tuneful as it’s ever been. Yep, she’d still got it!
To be honest, she could have stood there and burped the national anthem and we’d have been ecstatic but this is Kate Bush and you knew something dramatic was imminent.
A cannon of gold tissue was fired into the audience and via film, swift scenery, entrances & exits from above and below the stage (and through the side stalls!), we were treated to the whole of ‘The Ninth Wave‘ suite from side two of ‘Hounds Of Love‘. The songs tell the story of a woman lost at sea and featured film of Kate floating in the actual water singing her drowning heart out. Brilliant, beautiful and bonkers!
At the interval, we joined queues in the lovely art deco bar to purchase programmes, posters and T-shirts (I still haven’t worn my T incase I get Pot Noodle on it). Then it was back in for Act Two and the whole of ‘A Sky Of Honey‘ – the 2nd half of the album ‘Ariel’ taking us through a summer day from dawn ’til dusk.
Painters painted, wood models danced, feathers flew and even trees appeared from the sky. The songs were perfectly recreated musically and visually and at the end, Kate turned ever so bird-like and flew – she fecking flew man!
Blackout, audience eruptions, sheer unadulterated joy…
But there was more. After all the effects and drama, Kate returned to the prop ridden stage, sat at the piano and just sang. The song ‘Among Angels‘ is a personal favourite. It got me through my first Christmas Day alone in the city, thinking about lost loved ones so to hear her perform it live meant a lot.
A crowd bursting ‘Cloudbusting‘ singalong encore and Kate’s joyful face at our rapturous appreciation brought the evening to a close. We very reluctantly left, hanging around outside a bit longer just to try and take in what we had just experienced.
All of her albums returned to the chart, her first night triumph was pictured on all the front pages (with 5 star reviews), people and stars travelled from all over the world to see the shows…the acclaim just kept on coming and I may be biased but every single bit of it was truly deserved.
So, going by the time scale of this event, I’ll be 87 when she next tours. Mind you, she’ll be 91…
See you again in 2049 Kate xx
‘I can see angels, around you
they shimmer, like mirrors
they’re someone, who’s loved you
forever…but you don’t know it’