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Friday, August 26, 2016

Revisiting Before The Dawn: Part I, The Dawn Breaks...

At 7.30pm two years ago tonight (British Summer Time), Kate Bush took to the stage to present Before the Dawn, her first live concert in 35 years, 3 months and 12 days. Not that I was counting. In fact, I had long before given up believing that I would ever get to see Kate play live.

Being a Kate Bush fan in the last two decades has meant accepting certain truths. You must wait. You will get good at it. And every now and then Kate will give you something magical. Something that makes the months and years in between dissolve into nothing. And you're grateful. Ecstatic. Which is why the short note that appeared on Kate's website on Friday 21 March 2014 sent my sensual world into a frenzy:

I am delighted to announce that we will be performing some live shows this coming August and September.
       I hope you will be able to join us and I look forward to seeing you there.
          We'll keep you updated with further news on the web site.
                  Meanwhile, all details of concert dates and tickets are in the note below.
                    Very best wishes,


[Trevor Leighton]

I must have had to read those words fifty or so times, before I dared to believe it was true. My mood spun from dizzy bliss at such incredible news to heart-wrenching fear that I might not get to go. The week waiting for tickets to go on sale was one of fitful sleep, giddy excitement and slowly dissipating shock. I was thankfully one of the lucky band able to secure a ticket. Now all that was required was the bit I was good at: waiting.

The media went into meltdown, which must have confused the hell out of most people under 30. There was rabid speculation as to what the shows might be like, but Kate was staying mum. The only hints were the show's title, Before the Dawn, and a photograph of Kate in the water wearing a lifejacket. Any Kate fan would instantly know this meant that The Ninth Wave, a concept piece about a woman lost at sea that formed half of 1985's Hounds of Love album, must feature prominently. Only Kate would decide to tour an album for the first time thirty years after its release! 

[Trevor Leighton]

To pass the time in the run-up to the shows, I produced a 50-day countdown on this blog, which told the tale of Kate's career (for an index, here's the whole story). My intention was to follow this up with my review of Before the Dawn once the shows had concluded, but I found the whole experience so overwhelming it didn't seem possible to express in words what seeing this show had meant to me. Then I decided to wait for the inevitable DVD and write my review then, but it now seems possible that Kate has decided against such a release (if that ever was her intention). So I've decided the time has come to revisit that miraculous night and share my thoughts and recollections, partly so that I can convince myself that this all really happened and partly to try and preserve the memories before time robs me of the finer details. 

Kate's residency at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London, lasted for six weeks, so my tale will be in six parts over the same six weeks, enough to properly do justice to the love, care and artistry put into the show by the KT Fellowship (this was Kate's name for her tour company, her usual humble acknowledgement that her work is not created in isolation).

For those lucky enough to see Before the Dawn, I hope it triggers your own memories. For those that missed out, I hope it provides some small insight into the worlds Kate conjured for us on that stage.

Until the next time then. What was that? Yes, Lily, I'm coming...

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1 comment:

  1. Bradley,thanks again for another delightful post. The next best thing to hearing from Kate is hearing about Kate! As one who was not able to experience Kate live, I'm tremendously looking forward to your next posts. (And thanks again, Jonathan,for the keychain and confetti; I cherish them both as souvenirs and for their thoughtfulness.)