Kate Bush comeback greeted with huge cheers

By Tim Masters
Arts and entertainment correspondent, BBC News

media captionGemma Arterton and Anna Calvi gave BBC Newsnight their take on Kate Bush's comeback concert

Kate Bush has made her stage comeback to an ecstatic response from fans at her first live concert for 35 years.

Bush received a standing ovation as she closed the show with Cloudbusting, from her 1985 hit album The Hounds of Love.

The 56-year-old British star was appearing at London's Hammersmith Apollo - the scene of her last live show in 1979.

Tuesday's three-hour set kicked off a run of 22 shows, titled Before the Dawn, which sold out in minutes.

Afterwards, she thanked fans for their "warm and positive response".

Backed by seven musicians, Bush opened the show with Lily, from the 1993 album Red Shoes.

There was a huge roar from the crowd as Bush appeared on stage - barefoot and dressed in black - leading her five backing singers.

image copyrightRex Features
image captionBush came on stage at 19:45 BST as scheduled to open her Before the Dawn show
image copyrightRex Features
image captionShe played six conventional numbers before a theatrical performance involving lasers and video

"It's so good to be here - thank you so much," she told the cheering crowd.

She later introduced one of the backing chorus as her teenage son Bertie who, the star said, had given her the "courage" to return to the stage.

The first half of the show included the 1985 single Running Up That Hill and, from the same Hounds of Love album, the song suite The Ninth Wave - which combined video, theatre and dance to tell the story of a woman lost at sea.

After an interval, the second act was dominated by songs from Bush's 2005 album Aerial.

media captionWill Gompertz reports

There were no songs from Bush's first four albums, which meant fans did not get to hear early classics such as Wuthering Heights, The Man with the Child in his Eyes or Babooshka.

But fans did not seem to mind.

Julie Beynon, from Glasgow, told the BBC: "That was really surprising. I noticed she played a lot from Aerial which I didn't have a problem with. I think it might reference the fact she was much happier in that period of her life. It felt quite joyous and celebratory."

She added: "I'm not disappointed - I thought it was stunning comeback. To me it was like musical theatre but with Kate Bush songs. It was a a weird hybrid of different styles, and completely innovative."

Elizabeth Hobson, from Enfield, said: "She does what she wants to do. We might have liked to hear some of the songs we love from a while back - but hopefully everybody's going to be really nice about it and we might see some more of her at a later date."

media captionFans outside the Hammersmith Apollo said the concert was worth the 35-year wait

The audience also largely resisted taking photos or video, as the singer had requested.

Bush said on her website last week: "I very much want to have contact with you as an audience, not with iPhones, iPads or cameras."


Fans of the singer showed up early on Tuesday to begin queuing for the show.

Richie Cairns from Southampton said: "I'm almost nervous myself. I've got butterflies. It's something I never thought I'd have an opportunity to see - and it's my birthday.

"I don't mind what she does. I'd have happily sat there for two hours while she played the piano as beautifully as she does. People say we want to hear the hits but I'm not fussed to be honest. I just want to see and hear her after all this time."

media captionAs Colin Paterson discovered, some fans have travelled thousands of miles to attend the concert

Belinda from London turned up looking for a ticket while others had placards begging for a spare.

She said: "I should have been in here in '78 but I was only 12 then, so I'm hoping to see it tonight. I'd pay £150 or £200."

Awarded a CBE for her services to music last year, Bush is one of UK music's most important and distinctive artists.

Theories about her long absence from the stage have included her fear of flying and the death of one of the tour crew during a warm-up show for The Tour of Life.

In an interview with Mojo magazine in 2011, Bush admitted that tour had been tiring - even for a 20-year-old.

"It was enormously enjoyable. But physically it was absolutely exhausting," she said.

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