Running up that Hill; Three rows in at the Kate Bush concert 3/9/2014


Let me state up front – I wasn’t the world’s biggest Kate Bush fan before Wednesday night’s show …  but I kind of totally love her now!! Oh sure, “Running up that Hill” is a favourite of mine (and everyone else as it happened; I’d never seen so many grown men weeping simultaneously as in front of her that night. Come to think of it, people were still weeping on the train on the way home – a dose of Beatle-mania fifty years on) and it sounded every bit as groovy in concert as it did on my car stereo in 198*. But I have to confess, I hadn’t heard about 65% of the material, I reckon, until that night. What an introduction!

Let me also state up front – we were in row “G” – 3 rows from the front. Yep – read ’em and weep, the likes of Bjork (back of the stalls??), Mr Walliams (somewhere else “up the back”??) et al. “Well these are just terrible seats!!!” Cackle, Cackle … Until the guy sitting in front of me told me he had just made the same joke. It was the most thrilling experience of recent years to be so close, nay part of, such a remarkable piece of musical theatre; at times I felt as though she was looking straight at me.

Up on stage, singing, Kate Bush was a ‘powerful figure‘ (quoting my friend Murray, who was actually the one in the fan club who got the great seats and suggested I come along  in the first place), and she was mesmerising even with all the highly competitive activity going on around her. She was graceful and elegant in movement – a little ‘groove’ here and there with her shoulders (a ‘mum dance’ if you will: Why does that happen to us?) but it was her voice which gave your goose its bumps, it was golden. I suspected there was a secret mixing desk somewhere making her voice sound like it had a little ‘MSG’ sprinkled on it – but no, no, no – that’s how good she really sounds. Her concert face was still the same and beautiful – all shy smiles & sad, sparkly eyes. And Hair.

I’m not going to give a run down of the order of events of show – others have done that quite successfully [and let’s face it – you WILL want to be surprised when the DVD comes out]  other than to say there were 3 main segments: “Kate + Band: The Hits!” (No, not WH or Babushka – I didn’t mind and it didn’t seem necessary at the time either) “The Ninth Wave: Search & Rescue” and “The Sky of Honey: Totally Avian!”.

The only extra piece of production I will comment on was “The Technical Hitch”. It’s funny, because even though I go on and on and on and on and on to family ‘n’ friends about how AWESOME the show was, I don’t really pause to mention that the show stopped for about half an hour at a crucial moment, just after the “amateur astronomer” film between “Kate + Band” and “The Ninth Wave” due to a technical difficulty. It was really unfortunate timing as this was THE moment when we moved from a kind of “faux start” to “Now, This is What I Call a Kate Bush Concept” and yes, it would have intensified our surprise if we’d gone straight from one t’other. Rhubarb, Rhurbarb went the crowd, grab another drink, go to the loo, flip through the programe and we were back in business. No matter. “D’you know what?/I love you better now.”

Almost every time KB disappeared from the stage, she was greeted with a standing ovation upon her return. Now, I don’t like to brag (but I’m going to) I’ve been to a few good shows in my time. You’ve got your Madonnas, your Princes, your M.J.s, your James Browns, your Ramones, your Kraftwerks, your Iggy Pops, your Fugazis, your Wayne Newtons (c’mon! it was 80s Vegas!), your George Bensons, your Culture Clubs, your Cures, your Pavarottis (mum made me go), your Cramps’, your INXSs, your U2s (my friend Debra Murphy touched Bono’s boot) your KISSes and my very first show at the impressionable age of 6, your ABBAs, but NEVER, I say NEVER have I seen a reaction to a performance like the one she got. It was worship at the altar of Kate Bush. And if that’s how the all the reviews and reports of her shows come across, they be speaking the truth.

Breathtaking stuff. As Murray said mid-show: “Nostalgia is a powerful thing“. Yes, Kate Bush and her voice were a part of the fabric of my musical youth – but it was her show and the music I was hearing for the first time the other night which really blew me away. No wonder she’s clogging up the UK Top 40 Album charts. She Is Risen.

I loved it. Can’t you tell?

I also liked this review: http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/09/tracey-thorn-kate-bush-hammersmith-apollo-ecstatic-triumph-life-s-work

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