Our Senior Copywriter Philip reviews Kate Bush’s new tour, Before The Dawn.
What kind of ‘pop star’ takes a 35-year break from live performance and then returns with a show that contains only three of her old hits? A fiercely confident one. What kind of ‘musician’ fills three hours of stage time with endless visual invention, seamlessly linking the English countryside to the Milky Way? Surely, a defiantly eccentric one!
I last saw Kate Bush at the London Palladium on 17th April 1979. For someone who mistrusts nostalgia, I attended her ‘Before The Dawn’ spectacular with deep misgivings. Would this be nothing more than a hobble down Memory Lane, aimed at People Of A Certain Age with the necessary disposable income for a stalls seat at £125?
To my relief – and delight – what you get for your money is a demented but never excessive exercise in multi-sensory music-theatre, performed by musicians, dancers and actors, switchbacking from Celtic pastoral to angsty urban (by way of shipwreck in the Irish Sea). All this startling stagecraft is led by a woman with barefoot grace and a note-perfect voice that has grown richer and fuller in the years of her record-breaking retreat from the world. Kate Bush is restored to us, unsurpassed.