The last six months has been the anticipatory period between Kate Bush announcing her residency at the Hammersmith Apollo and the first of her 22 gigs. Once my tickets had been purchased, I often found it hard to contain my glee, and took to hanging out on a fan site to commune with others. it seemed a whole lot safer than risking old friendships with my constant and adoring waffle about KB.
With over 900 people, I have shared excitement, humour and rare YouTube videos of the lady herself. I have been copied in to aritcles, pertinent KB alert news, loads of photos that were oohed and aahed over, and many pictures of memorabilia. Whilst I'm not too keen on gawking at images of Kate, however wonderful they may be, or doting over the keepsakes of others, it must be said that I do have my own small collection of Kate trophies, and I admit right here and now, that my interest is not solely based on her music and creativity. I am also a bit in awe of her as a person.
I love the fact that she has shunned celebrity because it would distract her from her art, and that she has this innate sense of female sexuality that is not based on any patriachal fantasy. She has maintained a strong sense of family and friendship throughout her successful career and remains respectful and humble. She is sensitive and talented beyond, beyond words, refining her work but never censoring it. A woman of great integrity.
In these last months I have been constantly told by non-believers that I might be a tad disappointed in the shows because it's not 1979 anymore and Kate is no longer twenty. And walking into the Hammersmith Apollo yesterday did seem to me like a moment of deja vu that almost set up an impossible expectation inside me.
However, those doubters need not have worried for me. As I'm sure you all know by now, she was so great that every song received a standing ovation. Everything was perfect. The sets were amazing. The artistry sublime. The musicians, second to none and her voice, remakable. You will have also heard how everyone stood clapping for around fifteen minutes, at the end, in the hope that she might just come out and take one more bow. Before the Dawn is a mature realisation of Kate's own imagination and obviously very different from The Tour of Life, but one thing is constant with Kate Bush live on stage; her shows are totally addictive and going only once is just not enough.
A lot of fans are hoping that this will be the start of Kate performing live on a regular basis. Personally, I have always felt that this residency is a one off affair and the only reason she is doing it is to introduce her son, Bertie, as a performer to the the world. Interesting then, that Kate's opening words in the programme are:
'In March of 2013, I said to Bertie, "Shall we do some live shows?"
He said, "Yes. Absolutely!"'
Kate introduced Bertie right at the beginning of the show, after the first song I think, and announced that if it weren't for him she wouldn't be doing this. He was on stage the whole time in multiple roles and he has a credit in the brochure for being Creative Advisor. It is also not lost on me that the very last words she sang were, 'your son's coming out'. Or perhaps I misheard and she'd changed 'your' to 'my'.
When I first heard the album Aerial in 2005, I remember thinking, 'Good, Kate is happy now.' I don't know her personally, it was just a feeling. On reflection, it was the first piece of music she'd shared with us since Bertie's birth. When she performed a Sky of Honey (the second half of Aerial) after the interval, I felt an incredible warmth. According to early interviews, Kate used to believe that whenever she sang to an audience she had to perform. Yesterday, she came over as being totally herself. Bertie's mum is also coming out and what an honour to have been there on the very first night.
PS: I'm starting to fantasize about some, future, unplugged residency, somewhere equally intimate...oooh, I hope she proves my one-off-theory wrong.