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Friday, September 23, 2016

Revisiting Before The Dawn: Part 5, The Moon Waxes...

At the start of Act Two of Kate Bush's Before the Dawn we were basking under A Sky of Honey, but now the sun has set on that lovely afternoon.

Aerial Tal

Nature is heading towards an uneasy rest. The menace that stalked the puppet-boy Tesoro as he entered this world is back and it's sharpening its claws. The birds are singing to mark the transformation into night. Kate knows their song, she duets with them. All of the birds are laughing, Tesoro laughs along. If singing with birds brings this much joy, what must it be like to fly with them...

Somewhere In Between
"This is where the shadows come to play,
Twixt the day and night..."
From the top of the highest hill Kate is observing the waxing and waning, as the dark chases the final chinks of light away.

The Painter is there capturing the fading glimmers, soaking up the last drops of pigment. Some days are hard to let go, to accept that they are ending, so we cling to them, cherishing the beauty, the love, before the ticking and tocking clock caries us away.
"Good night sun..."

Tawny Moon
"I'll give every cloud a silver lining, every star will be bright and shining..."
Night is not an absence of light, but the playground of other celestial powers. The Painter knows this is no time to sleep, there is a rare beauty he must capture. The moon tonight is wearing the sun's clothes, it has stolen traces of its orange, its yellow. This tawny moon is up to mischief and the Painter will capture its essence, ignoring the aches and blisters it costs him.

"She wrote the book of love then threw it away.
You better all behave when Luna takes the stage." 
The Painter whirls, the moon rises transcendent. He sings her his love song. She calls to him, he cannot resist. The melody ticks to mark the passing hours. The moon and time are intrinsic allies, they create the cycles that all of nature must obey.
"She comes, she goes... she goes, she comes,
Oh my love, my love, my Luna, Queen of Bedlam."
The Painter draws us into his obsession, we also feel the pull of the satellite, we tingle as he whoops and reels. This madness is contagious. As the Painter collapses, spent from his devotion, we admire the nightscape he has conjured into being. The moon is our mistress now.


It is not only the Painter who has succumbed to the moon's advances. Kate has driven to the ocean, shed her clothes on the beach and now stands in the milky, silky water, looking up at a diamond sky.

"The stars are caught in our hair,
The stars are on our fingers..."
The majesty of the nocturnal panorama sweeps away our cares, gives us shelter from the harsh light of day. We dive down into the depths, a memory forms... a blackbird flails, a stone is tied around our leg... is this the same woman that survived the Celtic Deep? Is this her promised future or the past dragging her back under...

"It came up... on the horizon..."

We surface from the waves, just as the sky is at its darkest, just before the dawn...
"Bright, white, coming alive..."
This is a battle the night cannot win, light seeps into every pixel, flooding the sea with honey. A glimmer, a flicker, a glint, a flare, light constantly in movement. A new day.
"All the time its a changing and all the dreamers are waking..."


The cock crows. The bells ring. Nature red in tooth and claw, blood red that paints the sky. Tesoro is pulled into the hunt, on his hands and knees, feasting with the birds.
"Bring it. Shake it down. Bring it on. Let it in."
This is a dark mirror of the joyous call of Prologue, this sun is harsh, it melts the flowers and its song must be sung.
"I feel I want to be up on the roof..."
The birds call to Kate once more, this time her voice won't be enough to satisfy them. She feels the urge to find higher ground, to touch the sky.
"All of the birds are laughing, come on let's all join in..."
Kate is giving herself to the transformation. Feathers start to sprout, see her beautiful wings.

The dawn has come and the light is revealing all, the hidden costs of survival, the price that nature demands for living. The guitars have become birds, they chirp and coo, chatter and cheep. Kate circles the bird guitarist, a rite of transformation. See her beautiful wings, she's dying to try them.

An air of madness takes hold, the bedlam of birds. The doors to the other world reappear, trees erupt from the ground, crashing through the piano, Tesoro runs in wonder and panic. The guitar birds are squawking and whooping, they rise with the dawn rays. The drums grow more urgent, as if they know this journey of light has reached its zenith. Kate surrenders to the call of the birds, the doors fly open and she soars into the air, taking flight on her beautiful wings.

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  1. Reading your posts gave me an excuse--as if I needed one!--to revisit "The Ninth Wave" and "Aerial." After listening to the former, I was going to ask how all the sound effects, over-dubbing, choirs, etc were handled on stage. With the announcement of the CD release, I guess I will be able to find out! In the meanwhile, I'm looking forward to your next post.

    1. Without wanting to spoil the release of the soundtrack, some of The Ninth Wave effects were direct lifts from the recording, but all of the music and vocals were live. It worked very effectively in the show. I suggest taking the album into a darkened room, closing your eyes and just let the sound wash over you...