Kate Bush was an artist that I first encountered one Saturday evening/Sunday morning when she made her US TV debut on Saturday Night Live, with Eric Idle hosting in 1978. The idiosyncratic songstress was a little too precious for me at that time so I glossed over her in my mind for several years. She performed “The Man With The Child In His Eyes” and “Them Heavy People” but they made little impression. This was compounded by Bush’s refusal to grant re-broadcast rights to her performance. I only saw it that first live broadcast. It was edited out of subsequent showings and the syndicated 60 minute SNL edits shown on TV in the mid 80s, back when I still watched TV. My life went on, free of Kate Bush for four years.
It was some time in 1982, when I saw that there was a Kate Bush album in the used bins at Crunchy Armadillo records. It was “The Dreaming” so remembering the name, I picked it up and quickly became a fan, based on the strength of that album. Within weeks, I had her full compliment of back catalogue, thanks to the awe inspiring import cutout bins at Record City, where Canadian copies of “Lionheart” and “Never For Ever” were on sale for chump change. Once I had “The Kick Inside,” I was all set. I enjoyed Kate Bush quite a bit, especially her later albums where her helium soprano had deepend a bit from her late teenaged days when she had started recording.
The bar for what accomplishments a 16 year old could achieve had been set for me by Bush with her debut album, “The Kick Inside.” The songs were like a sophisticated blend of English Music Hall pop and prog lite; an association strongly engendered by the arrangements and production of Andrew [Alan Parsons Project] Powell. When people were wagging tongues over what Debbie Gibson accomplished at a similar age years later, I just rolled my eyes in disgust. Kate started out at an infinitely more sophisticated level and moved on from there.
The later albums proscribed an upward artistic arc, save for the sophomore jinx of “Lionheart.” Much better were “Never For Ever” and my favorite, “The Dreaming.” The latter took idiosyncratic style as far as it could have gone; culminating in the aggressive and almost repellent “Get Out Of My House.” Now that was music unclog drains with! The only other female artists at that time who was equally capable of such a strong artistic stance, and who was equally unconcerned about appearing “attractive” and “ladylike” on her albums was a list that began with Siouxsie Sioux and ended with Nina Hagen.
Since I had bought “The Dreaming” shortly after its release, it seemed like an eternity before Bush released her next album. In the interim, I acquired the boxed set of 7″ singles, “The Single File,” for all of her non-LP B-sides. In the mean time, I apple seeded all of my friends with Kate Bush music, and most of them became fans too. Finally, in 1985, “The Hounds Of Love” was released and Bush managed to get a US top 40 hit for the first and last time with “Running Up That Hill.” At the time, I really enjoyed the album, but I’ve found that time has not been kind to that release. A recent re-listen for the first time in decades sounded like artistic slippage that absolutely presaged her fall from grace in my Record Cell.
After a four year wait, I bought her next album, “The Sensual World,” and felt that Bush had lost whatever she had that I had previously liked. It seemed like a very half-baked record to these ears and it might have ended there for me, except that in 1990, a complete boxed set of Bush’s music, “This Woman’s Work,” was released. And this marked the first time that all of her B-sides and remixes made the leap to CD, so I bit. I liquidated much of my previous vinyl collection to fund the purchased of the Japanese edition of the 8xCD box, which wasn’t cheap.
When I saw later Bush singles as videos on MTV’s 120 Minutes in 1993, just before I stopped watching TV all together, I was appalled as I felt that songs like “Rubberband Girl” and “Eat The Music” were new artistic lows for the former favorite. I skipped her album “The Red Shoes” until a friend played me the film Bush had directed called “The Line, The Cross & The Curve.” I was actually impressed with the title cut to “The Red Shoes,” so I bought a cheap used copy of the album for chump change, only to find that I could only stomach that song, so I traded it off quickly. And to date I’ve simply not bothered with Kate bush for over 20 years.
Bush was infamous for only performing live for a handful of dates in 1979 on her “Tour Of Life” which was released on home video back in the dawn of time. The heavily theatrical extravaganza has attained the status of holy relic among her legion of fans for probably two generations now, so the news that she is breaking her live performance embargo for the first time in 35 years to perform a residency at the same venue [albeit renamed] that she performed her last gigs at, in 1979, caused tongues to wag, to put it mildly. I’ll admit that there was a time that the notion of a Kate Bush concert would have blown the top of my head off… maybe at least until 1990, but I can’t get myself very worked up at all over it in the 21st century.
Kate Bush: Before The Dawn | London’s Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith
Tuesday, 26th August
Wednesday, 27th August
Friday, 29th August
Saturday, 30th August
Tuesday, 2nd September
Wednesday, 3rd September
Friday, 5th September
Saturday, 6th September
Tuesday, 9th September
Wednesday, 10th September
Friday, 12th September
Saturday, 13th September
Tuesday, 16th September
Wednesday, 17th September
Friday, 19th September
If you’re motivated, and I know many will be, the tickets go on sale 9:30 am (GMT) on the March 28th, 2014 and will be available exclusively from these three UK ticket agencies:
I’m sure that obtaining tickets will be like fighting a tank of hungry piranha. You kids have fun. I’ve got bigger and better fish to fry in 2014.
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