It’s easy to gripe about what this isn’t – namely a Blu-ray/DVD of Kate’s extraordinary 2014 show. I was there on one of the 22 sold-out nights at the Hammersmith Apollo, my jaw on the floor, witnessing not just the return to the concert stage of the most talented and original singer-songwriter this country has ever produced but also in awe of how she brought her music to such incredible visual life.
The show, divided into three sections and dubbed Before The Dawn, deserves an audio-visual souvenir and hopefully Kate is working on one. For now, though, it’s just in album form and it works brilliantly. Bush is on top vocal form, the music majestic and magnificent, the recording beautifully atmospheric.
The first bit is a straight-up gig – opening with a rocking ‘Lily’ and concluding with ‘King Of The Mountain’ – with Kate sounding overwhelmed by all the love in the room. Then we get side two of the Hounds Of Love album, aka ‘The Ninth Wave’, and the second disc of Aerial, aka ‘A Sky Of Honey’.
These conceptual pieces (one about a drowning girl, the other charting a single summer’s day) are masterpieces that rolled out like mini-movies on stage and, embellished with dialogue, stimulate the imagination here. That could be Bush’s masterstroke; an iconoclast who doesn’t just think outside the box but has no idea what it is, she’s challenging us to approach Before The Dawn another way.
Crack open a bottle of wine, lie on the sofa and soak it all in.
Before The Dawn is out now on CD and vinyl
Words: Simon Button