OF ALL THE GIGS that have taken place in the last decade few were as eventful or as thrilling as those staged by Kate Bush in 2014. And now, some two years later, those performances are set for release as a 3CD or 4LP set available on November 25 entitled Before The Dawn.
Rather than being billed as a Kate Bush solo album the live set is credited to The KT Fellowship, as was the show. Produced by Kate, nothing on the record was re-recorded or overdubbed. The first disc comprises Act One of the stage show: seven career-spanning songs including Hounds of Love, Running Up That Hill and a stunning King Of The Mountain from 2005’s Aerial. Acts Two and Three are spread across the second and third discs, the former presenting The Ninth Wave – ie. the entirety of the second side of Hounds Of Love, while Act Three is the A Sky Of Honey suite from the second disc of Aerial, plus Kate’s son Bertie’s touching solo turn on previously unreleased song Tawny Moon. Disc 3 also includes the show’s encores: a shiversome Among Angels from 2011’s 50 Words For Snow and a final, rip-roaring rendition of Cloudbusting.
On March 21, 2014, Bush announced she would be returning to the stage for the first time since 1979 to play multiple shows at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, starting on August 26. The demand for tickets was such that the shows sold out in minutes, her run extended from 15 nights to 22 as a result.
For Bush herself, the shows were both triumphant and deeply affecting.
“It was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life.”
“It was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life,” said Kate, writing on her web site following the completion of the shows. “I loved the whole process. Particularly putting the band, the chorus and the team together and watching it all evolve. It really was the ultimate combination of talent and artists, both from the music business and the theatre world. I never expected everyone in the team to be so lovely and we all grew very close. We became a family and I really miss them all terribly.”
Bush reserved extra praise for those who attended the shows themselves: “I just never imagined it would be possible to connect with an audience on such a powerful and intimate level; to feel such, well quite frankly, love.”
For their part, those who saw Before The Dawn will likely never forget the experience, particularly the sense of communion with an artist who for such a long time seemed like a distant star. Reviewing the show for MOJO in 2014 Jim Irvin wrote, “Considering the creative energy that was poured into Before The Dawn, and the transcendent power of the result, just 22 performances seems a crying shame. It could run forever.” The new live album offers not just the chance to hear the show it in its entirety but also adds a genuine Kate Bush rarity: a version of Never Be Mine from The Sensual World which didn't make it into the stage show.
Fans will have to wait a while longer to see footage of Before The Dawn, as no DVD or Blu-ray component has been announced. Here’s to another 35 years...
Before The Dawn album track listing:
Lily Hounds of Love Joanni Top of the City Never Be Mine Running Up That Hill King of the Mountain
Astronomer's Call (Spoken monologue) And Dream of Sheep Under Ice Waking the Witch Watching Them Without Her ( dialogue) Watching You Without Me Little Light Jig Of Life Hello Earth The Morning Fog
Prelude Prologue An Architect's Dream The Painter's Link Sunset Aerial Tal Somewhere In Between Tawny Moon Nocturn Aerial Among Angels Cloudbusting
The full 4x vinyl tracklisting is below.
Vinyl 1: Side A
Lily Hounds Of Love Joanni Top Of The City
Vinyl 1: Side B
Never Be Mine Running Up That Hill King Of The Mountain
Vinyl 2: Side A
Astronomer’s Call And Dream Of Sheep Under Ice Waking The Witch Watching Them Without Her Watching You Without Me
Vinyl 2: Side B
Little Light Jig Of Life Hello Earth The Morning Fog
Vinyl 3: Side A
Prelude Prologue An Architect’s Dream The Painter’s Link
Vinyl 3: Side B
Sunset Aerial Tal Somewhere In Between
Vinyl 4: Side A
Vinyl 4: Side B
Among Angels Cloudbusting