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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

50 Words For Kate: #42 - Touring

So Kate Bush is playing live again: what's the big deal, I hear you say? Given the extensive media coverage and general hysteria around the announcement of Kate's forthcoming live shows, you might be forgiven for thinking that the primary reason for fans' excitement is the fact that it is 35 years since she last went on tour. It is not.

For Kate fans, the excitement is down to the fact that we know that when Kate puts on a show she redefines the very notion of a pop concert. Her one and only tour in 1979, which has become known as The Tour Of Life, saw Kate blend music, dance, mime, poetry and magic in a bravura performance that stunned critics and thrilled fans. Among the innovations:
  • the show was divided into four distinct "acts", with elaborate choreography and costume changes.
  • to allow Kate to sing and move, her sound engineer invented the first known head-mic... out of a coat hanger.
  • Kate shared the stage with a poet, her brother John Carder Bush, a magician and illusionist, the now quite famous Simon Drake, and two dancers who became an enduring part of Kate's performances on TV and video, Stewart Avon Arnold and the late, lamented, Gary Hurst.

Kate's live shows broke the mold and raised the bar. The legacy of that one tour can be traced right down to today (yes, I'm talking about you Madonna, and you Lady GaGa, and yes, even you Katy Perry). For Kate to consider performing live again she must believe that she has something new to show the world, another revelation in how music could be performed live on stage.

Anyone expecting to rock up to the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo and see Kate standing in front of a mic and banging out a selection of hits is going to be in for a rude shock. Despite a veil of secrecy that shames our national security agencies, news has filtered out that Kate recently spent a few days in a water tank at Pinewood Studios filming material for the show. This will not be a "gig", it will be theatre of the highest order, operatic in scale and majestic in its visual mastery. How can I be so sure? Well the best evidence we have to go on is what she did last time, so here's a peek at one of the showstoppers from The Tour Of Life. Enjoy.

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