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For Kate I wait: BBC documentary and first live show in 35 years
August 27, 2014 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Last night, Kate Bush performed her first concert in 35 years at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. She last toured in 1979, following the release of Lionheart. "Not since the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited for a one-off show in 2007 has there been such hype over a comeback." - The Guardian. Last week, BBC 4 released an hour-long documentary called The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill that reflects on Bush’s long and enigmatic career. It features appearances from Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Tori Amos, Annie Clark, Big Boi, Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Kahn, and more. Vimeo link. Guardian review.
posted by porn in the woods (58 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
The hype around the concert has been overwhelming. I can only explain this by the supposition that the British media is being run by men in their late 40s.
posted by Devonian at 10:11 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]


I don't deny that she is a significant artist. I accept that she has a loyal base of fans who love her and her work. But, I just cannot get into her music. I've tried. But I'm glad that her fans are so excited. Enjoy.
posted by Fizz at 10:16 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Well, I've been waiting about 35 years for this.
posted by pracowity at 10:20 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Telegraph: Kate Bush's Cloudbusting video: 7 minutes of heaven. Quick link to the video, and notes on Wikipedia.
posted by Wordshore at 10:21 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Aw, Kate's fantastic and this series of shows came as a big surprise to everyone who's followed her career as live performances were a rare thing even in her heyday. I thought Pitchfork had a pretty good write-up.

I've had friends who couldn't "get" Kate Bush, either. It mystifies me, but whatever. (I don't get Radiohead, so we're even.*) I bought Hounds of Love when it was new and for the next couple of months spent all of my extra cash on Kate Bush CDs — including The Kick Inside which, at the time, had to be imported from the UK.

*Slight exaggeration.
posted by Mothlight at 10:22 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


I really hope she is filming this for release... the reviews have been unanimously glowing!

Good for her! It's not like anyone doubted her creative energy, since her most recent releases have been stellar. I'm so happy she took the time to prepare, rehearse, and nail the SHIT out of this performance!
posted by ReeMonster at 10:22 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


"Cloudbusting" live from last night, despite the no-cameras policy.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:30 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


As one who will be flying in from California in two weeks, I am really hoping the Iceland volcano won't mess up one of my lifelong dreams.
posted by waytoomuchcoffee at 10:32 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


So she's doing BOTH of her major suites in this show! That's exactly what fans wanted, on some level. I'm super envious for anyone who gets to see this show. I've been pushing A Sky Of Honey on people for years, with mixed success, but it's one of my favorite album-length works in my vast music collection.
posted by hippybear at 10:36 AM on August 27 [6 favorites]




I can only explain this by the supposition that the British media is being run by men in their late 40s.

I've always thought that Bush's most impassioned audience tended to be women rather than men.

I used to be one of those people who liked one or two of Bush's tunes but mostly couldn't get into her all that much. Then suddenly something clicked. I think she's an astonishingly inventive and risk-taking composer. And she's been working steadily long after she fell off the pop charts.
posted by yoink at 10:42 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Was hugely enjoyable re-listening to these songs last night while I browsed the live reviews. Some I hadn't heard in 15 years and the melodies and words came back instantly. This is the best review I've read so far.
posted by erebora at 10:45 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


To paraphrase Caitlin Moran on Twitter, YOUR MUM just schooled everyone on how to be a pop star.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 10:48 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]


And she's been working steadily long after she fell off the pop charts.

Aside from the 12 years she took off between The Red Shoes and Aerial, you mean.
posted by hippybear at 10:53 AM on August 27


I'm strangely relieved to see the generally stellar reviews the first night garnered. And not-so-strangely miffed that I didn't get a ticket.

Bush is just a one-off, and like most one-offs she attracts almost equal measures of adulation and puzzlement. I've been in the former camp since I saw "Wuthering Heights" on TOTP all those years ago.
posted by Decani at 11:05 AM on August 27


Aside from the 12 years she took off between The Red Shoes and Aerial, you mean.

Well, o.k., "for certain values of 'steadily'" then.
posted by yoink at 11:08 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I really hope this is being filmed for release -- I'm not a dedicated Kate Bush fan by any means, but I've always really admired and appreciated her, and the spectacle of this show sounds amazing. A friend of mine is flying from Denver to London to see her next month, and I think he's pretty much into counting-down-the-seconds mode at this point.
posted by scody at 11:15 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Glad to see that Cloudbusting link from the show is already taken down from YouTube.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:18 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Didn't get tickets; notching that as one of the worst mistakes of my life. I am an idiot.

I've loved the most English of Roses from childhood onwards {glances at complete collection of albums}. Though I didn't realise it for a while, Kate may have been my introduction to feminism, English mysticism, the true effects of war, female sexuality, how art and music and theatre can all merge into one, and the power of the uninhibited and personal word, written, spoken and sung.

And the videos. From the Big Sky drumming to the darkness and regret of This Woman's Work to the anti-war lyrics of Army Dreamers to the deceit and costume changes of Babooshka to the offbeat desire for knowledge of Sat in Your Lap to the epic but intensely personal Moments of Pleasure.

And lyrics written when 13(!) that seasoned adults struggle to attain, and cover versions arguably better than the original.

Favorite video and song and lyrics, and I'm resisting the urge to babble on for ages why: Hounds of Love. The moment at 1:22 when Kate's voice seems to break free of the music is ... yes.
posted by Wordshore at 11:19 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]


I have a friend who rarely travels, but who went to London (from seattle) this week to see the show. he and his wife are so excited that they are also going to see a KB cover band (???) while they are there. Glad to hear they were most likely not disappointed.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:21 AM on August 27


"Cloudbusting" already busted on YouTube, although it must be out there somewhere
posted by thelonius at 11:29 AM on August 27


I've been pushing A Sky Of Honey on people for years, with mixed success, but it's one of my favorite album-length works in my vast music collection.

As far as I'm concerned, it's her masterpiece, even more than The Ninth Wave.

The idea that she's performing artsy stagings of both suites, and I'm not there to see it, is really hurting my heart right now. Sigh.
posted by dnash at 11:29 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


"Cloudbusting" live from last night, despite the no-cameras policy.

video already gone.
posted by dnash at 11:42 AM on August 27


Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted that Kate Bush exists, is doing her thing, has such an impact on so many people and has by all accounts created a very splendid piece of theatre entirely on her own terms. But, uh, the degree of coverage in places where such things normally never register has been verging on the parodic.

(I did, however, enjoy Charles Shaar Murray being interviewed about this on the radio, where his 1979 review of La Bush's last gig was resurrected - he was scathing at the time. "An exercise in the time-honoured art of battering the audience to death until they love it." He seems to be doing this a lot recently. I agreed with most of what he said, at the time that he said it.)
posted by Devonian at 11:50 AM on August 27


It still blows me away that Wuthering Heights hit #1 and stayed there for a month. That is some kind of magic.
posted by rtha at 11:58 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Didn't get tickets; notching that as one of the worst mistakes of my life. I am an idiot.

She is doing quite a few shows and so if you can get to London easily and at short notice, tickets will likely be available on the secondary market (seatwave.com; getmein.com etc) at reasonable-ish prices on the day of the show.
posted by colie at 12:01 PM on August 27


I've been pushing A Sky Of Honey on people for years, with mixed success, but it's one of my favorite album-length works in my vast music collection.

It took me years, multiple listens, and a religious epiphany to get hooked into Sky of Honey, partly because I got the version where it was split and I kept getting fragments on my playlist. I also couldn't listen to Bush for years because an assigned college roomate was a fan, and habitually fell asleep to an album side that ended with Breathing, which I count as her creepiest song.

I think Sky of Honey holds together better than Monae's Metropolis Suite, which is my other recent album-length narrative work.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:03 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Wuthering Heights hit #1 and stayed there for a month.

In total, spent 75 weeks on the UK charts. It's a shame she apparently played nothing from her first four albums last night.
posted by colie at 12:07 PM on August 27


Oh!

So that's why my ride home from work has to go through a massive crowd of people.
I was wondering what "Before the Dawn" was. It doesn't actually say Kate Bush anywhere on the Apollo.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 12:12 PM on August 27


The documentary is lovely. I did not know that Big Boi was such a fan! She has a reach indeed.
posted by rtha at 12:16 PM on August 27


colie: "She is doing quite a few shows and so if you can get to London easily and at short notice, tickets will likely be available on the secondary market (seatwave.com; getmein.com etc) at reasonable-ish prices on the day of the show."

Or not. Stubhub had none for tonight's show earlier today. Seatwave's for tomorrow start at £841 and there are three left. Getmein has none.
posted by Auz at 12:24 PM on August 27


I know it's foolishness to imagine she'll follow-up her home concert run with a series of international dates in 2015, but then again if you'd asked me last year, I might have confessed my lack of faith in her doing another single live show ever again...
posted by fairmettle at 12:27 PM on August 27


I have friends who are going to London to see this, so I'm delighted for them to hear it's turning out so well.
posted by immlass at 12:48 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I don't "get" Kate Bush. I mean I don't get how she's a mortal human like the rest of us.
posted by naju at 2:00 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Auz: I stand corrected about the scant availability of tickets.

More likely it will turn out like the Led Zep London reunion concert then, where I heard about a guy who motorcycled 500 miles to the venue with 1000 pounds in cash to buy a ticket from a tout on the night.

A tout duly did him the deal of a ticket for a grand but also insisted on taking the motorcycle as well.
posted by colie at 2:01 PM on August 27


I listened to KB religiously and am refinding my love for her in this resurgence. I think I still have the cassette tape around here somewhere....

Hmm.
posted by Sophie1 at 2:21 PM on August 27


I've always liked singing "Running Up That Hill" in a really exasperated voice. "....if ONLY I could make a DEAL WITH GOD......"
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 2:23 PM on August 27


"But NOOOOO"
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 2:23 PM on August 27


There are some - I imagine legit - stills from last night's concert in the Spectator's review.
posted by Devonian at 2:24 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Pause for the jet...
posted by perhapses at 2:55 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


[reads the set list]

Damn, I would have liked to have been there. I dare say I hope she releases this on bluray. Those are some fine songs from one of my favorite artists.
posted by bouvin at 2:57 PM on August 27


Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted that Kate Bush exists, is doing her thing, has such an impact on so many people and has by all accounts created a very splendid piece of theatre entirely on her own terms. But, uh, the degree of coverage in places where such things normally never register has been verging on the parodic.

Lots of coverage of Kate Bush? Good!

Have you turned on the TV news, or opened a newspaper, this last few months? Iraq, Syria, ISIS, Ukraine, plane shot down, plane disappears, Ebola, Ferguson, drought, war, famine, austerity, poverty, politicians failing, ice caps melting, the world is dying, civilization is ending...

Some good news ... any good news ... anything positive is totally lacking. The news cycle is wall to wall grim with no respite, and that cannot be good for the mind or the soul.

But Kate returns, and if the TV and newspapers want to give her, and her talent and work, some exposure then I am totally fine with that. More please!
posted by Wordshore at 4:45 PM on August 27 [7 favorites]


KB is presented in that video as a total original outlier, but there's also Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith who proceed her with groundbreaking experimental vocal gymnastics and have been highly influential on other artists. (But they aren't English.)
posted by stbalbach at 7:44 PM on August 27


It took me years, multiple listens, and a religious epiphany to get hooked into Sky of Honey, partly because I got the version where it was split and I kept getting fragments on my playlist.

I have a habit of ripping any connected tracks on any album as a single track to avoid this problem. I've had ASOH on my iPod as a single track since the day I got the CD.

The "join tracks" feature has saved me much frustration across the years.
posted by hippybear at 11:15 PM on August 27


It was 1987 and I was a freshman in a coed dorm at Yale, and the guys underneath our quad were always blasting their music, because that's what you do in college, and it was pretty late at night when they blasted Wuthering Heights. Except they played the version where Bush goes crazy at the end with these incredible, heartfelt vocal runs, and they CUT THEM OFF.

So what's a girl to do but go huffily downstairs and bang on their door to complain that they had "cut off the emotional orgasm of the song." It was probably the first and last time anyone got angry at them because they had STOPPED blasting their music.

Such is the power of Kate Bush.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:39 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


KB is presented in that video as a total original outlier, but there's also Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith who proceed her with groundbreaking experimental vocal gymnastics and have been highly influential on other artists. (But they aren't English.)

Kate Bush's music is not much like Joni Mitchell's, and it really really is not like Patti Smith. Other than the fact that they're all three women who sing in ways that aren't always pretty. I mean, would either JM or PS produce something like "Sat in Your Lap"?

I agree with what Tricky said in the documentary: you can't hear who her musical mothers and fathers are.
posted by erlking at 4:44 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


8. The floatation tank gave Bush hypothermia
"Even thinking about it makes me shudder," Bush reveals. The film of Bush singing, on her back in a tank took six hours "of floating around with a full diving team, a terrified make up artist who couldn't swim and had to wade around in a wet suit ... and a whole film crew who didn't even get their feet wet". Understandably, Bush says by the end, she "started to feel a tiny bit irritable and really cold [and] incredibly grumpy."
The whole endeavour resulted in a very sweary Bush - who says people are always suprised by her "appalling language" - who had contracted mild hypothermia.
"It was the first time in all my years of nutty ideas that I really questioned my sanity", she adds, "it really was the most challenging performance yet".


!!!!

One of the many things I admire about Kate Bush: she does nothing by halves. When she commits to a project, she goes all in.
posted by erlking at 4:50 AM on August 28


Nothing at all from her first four albums?! Well, this consoles me a great deal for not being there. Why would she make that choice? Some of her best material is on those albums (IMHO nearly all!), and it's not like she's really performed that material very much.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:57 AM on August 28


I mean, we could speculate. Her first 4 albums were released 32-36 years ago. Many feature songs she wrote as a teenager. She is 56 years old. She may not identify with this work any more (I know she said, in an interview, that she barely remembers half the songs on Lionheart).

She did play almost all of Hounds of Love (only left out 2 tracks: The Big Sky and Mother Stands for Comfort), which consensus opinion holds as the pinnacle of her career.

But really, does the reason matter? Kate Bush did what she wanted to do and she did it how she wanted to do it. That's been her modus since day 1 and it's very unlikely to change at this point.

(50 Words For Snow is the BEST and now I lament that there's no elaborate staging for ""Snowflake"-"Lake Tahoe"-"Misty")
posted by erlking at 9:04 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Kate Bush did what she wanted to do and she did it how she wanted to do it.

It's like when you see Dylan live, and what you really want is a note-perfect recreation of Tangled Up in Blue, but you realise that if he did that he wouldn't be Dylan any more because he'd lose interest.
posted by colie at 9:52 AM on August 28


Finally watching the documentary...

I'm struck by how much the dancing in Running Up That Hill is related to what Pina Bausch was doing.

(Seriously, if you like that video, find a way to watch Wim Wenders' Pina. You'll be equally fascinated.)
posted by hippybear at 12:03 AM on August 29


As much as I love Kate's music (a lot), I did LOL at this tweet.
posted by Wordshore at 2:48 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


She's truly one of the utterly unique, unprecedented irruptions of creative power. I don't listen to her often, but I've been listening to her since the beginning, and I have so much love.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:42 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Eight albums in the UK top 40 this week (looking down the list a little further, it's also eleven in the top 50).
posted by Wordshore at 12:48 PM on September 1 [2 favorites]


(looking down the list a little further, it's also eleven in the top 50)

That "eleven" is her entire discography, including her compilation album The Whole Story.

Who does this? I mean, really?!?

That's astounding. It's a shame she won't fly. If she were to do a residency tour of the US, say 25 cities with 5 nights in each... *sigh*
posted by hippybear at 9:06 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I don't fly either, but if I was in her shoes I'd take the Queen Elizabeth across the Atlantic. Stanley Kubrick did that and edited some of 2001 on the way in a makeshift suite. Very civilised!
posted by colie at 11:57 AM on September 3




On paper I should not like Kate Bush at all, but I was hooked the instant I heard her. She just defines such a Very. Specific. Time. in my life.

Like someone else said, I've been waiting.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:49 PM on September 18


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