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Kate Bush @ Hammersmith Apollo

| Music, Special Events, Theatre, Venues | 01/09/2014

Kate Bush

At some point the mirror cracks and dislodges the illusions of youth. That’s what I thought had happened in Kate Bush’s horror of a short film ‘The Line, the Cross and the Curve’. “A load of bollocks” she describes it. I recall cringing with embarrassment having dragged along a colleague who happened not to be a Kate Bush fan.

I am a Kate Bush fan. Yet the recent relentless laudations in the press are too much. This time around the friends I took along to the Hammersmith Apollo commented, as I did, that it was the best gig any of us had seen. I was sitting there thinking, yes, she does deserve the five stars. Sitting was the operative word. Throughout the jiggle-some numbers in her fabulous song cycle ‘A Sky of Honey’ it seemed only my 44-year-old clodhoppers betrayed the red shoes. My compatriots explained how the audience had “too much respect” for their idol. I thought it was because they were middle aged. Younger factions on the Tube home, seriously beardy, were in a trance of enlightenment; furiously studying the programme notes as if some sacred tract (hopefully more will want the same when I sell mine on eBay).

When I was their age I was racing home from school to catch the latest Bowie video. 80s revival? I’m the real thing, sadly enough. Not half as distressing as reading of their heartache never to hear Kate’s earlier numbers live. I understand it as much as the reasoning behind a millionaire taking a career break to raise a child. Bush once pointed out in interview that she has performed live over the decades if “not a live show”. My teenage mind was blown apart by her performance of ‘Running Up That Hill’. Pertinent that that particular song never did reach the top though nevertheless worked its magic. How many times since have any of us wished to be running up our own hill?

‘RUTH’ was popular in the clubs too, a stonking disco track not that you’d know it from the Apollo audience. Kate Bush has put together some sensational songs such as the crazy and inspirational ‘The Dreaming’. She’s likewise crafted many exquisite videos – forgetting the crap ones – bringing art-pop and contemporary dance to the masses. That’s the truth of her amazing talent. Problem is she’s now adopted as a deity by Pop Snobs. Lady Gaga or an out-of-touch Madonna cannot cut the mustard. At 56, Bush has returned to the stage to make an honest buck because no one sells records anymore (consequently making chart history with eight of hers returning to the Top 40 this week). At over £80 a ticket I’d paid for most of the albums over again, running up a bill instead.

Midway through ditties about his mum being shipwrecked it jarred slightly to witness a public schoolboy acting out proletarian scenes. Although questioning La Bush essentialises the clear and present danger of isolation one thing certain is Bertie’s future in stage or film direction, locked as he is, already in the same theatrical bubble as his mother. The assumption of domestic ordinariness is as far removed from ordinariness as I cannot imagine.

Piling onto the ‘Kate Bush is a Genius’ bandwagon seems to necessitate a leaving-behind of any rational critical sense. Thanks to her my adolescent mind opened up to world music; folk music; modern dance; poetry; film… She brought sparkle into my suburban living room. So I’ll stop by her shrine a while. Kate Bush’s performance at the Apollo was, for me, a glorious celebration that my growing-up was enhanced by one of pop music’s brightest and most enduring stars.


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