Kate Bush - Before The Dawn

All live albums are by definition incomplete: if people went to concerts just to listen, notions of performance would never have developed. So it feels perverse for a show as elaborately staged and painstakingly choreographed as Before The Dawn (puppets; helicopter; on-screen heroine floating in the ocean) to be represented without visuals, even though it was filmed. At least the 75,000 or so fortunate enough to get tickets for Kate Bush’s 22-date Hammersmith Apollo residency can stoke their memories of what was a unique theatrical experience. In the absence of a DVD, everyone else has these 150 minutes of music and their imagination. Maybe that’s the point – even audio-only, this is a lavish sensory banquet, its three acts sequenced so the best-known material is dispatched early, before the meditative conceptual set-pieces The Ninth Wave and A Sky Of Honey tap profound emotional reserves, with Kate’s 16-year-old son Bertie to the fore. “I will always remember this,” she says, after the valedictory singalong through Cloudbusting summons a final outpouring of love from her audience. Before The Dawn is glorious and confounding – in other words, pure Kate.

Kate Bush and son Bertie McIntosh (crouching) serve “a lavish sensory banquet”.