With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Kate Bush – Before The Dawn – Hammersmith Apollo Saturday 27th September 2014 September 28, 2014


img_1127Finally the wait was over and the excitement that had built up over the months since Kate Bush announced her return to the stage was about to reach its peak. What would the show be like when I finally got to see one of my favourite artists of all time? Well to be fair I think that everyone who bought a ticket knew not to expect a greatest hits set. But given Kate’s back catalogue of superb albums I didn’t see that as a problem at all. The show that I saw fell towards the end of the 22 show run at the Hammersmith Apollo so I already knew about the set list. All the reviews of the earlier shows that I read suggested that the set list was fixed for the duration and it was.

kate_bush-nThere were 25 songs performed during the three-hour show. There were some hits but not many. When Kate entered the stage at the start of the show she received a rapturous standing ovation. How many artists do you know that would get that before they had sung or played a note? She looks really good and her voice is still excellent and seems to have grown richer over the years.

2014KateBush_Press3_260814The first half of the show (there was a twenty-minute intermission) began with “Lily”, “Hounds Of Love“, “Joanni”, “Top Of The City”, “Running Up That Hill” and “King Of The Mountain“. Then the theatrical element of the show began in earnest for the song cycle “The Ninth Wave” taken from the original side two of the ‘Hounds Of Love’ album.

KATE-BUSH-3_3018012kThe set was truly magnificent as were the special effects, notably the rescue helicopter. Kate’s brother began that section playing a man who had received a distress call from a ship called The Celtic Deep that was in trouble and sinking. This was a filmed segment used to allow the stage to be reset to include the large frame of a ship wreck among other things.  There were fish people and other dancers many of whom created the effect of the sea with large sheets with help from the lighting team. Kate’s son Bertie played her son in the dream sequence where Kate as the drowning woman was dreaming of her family during “Watching You Without Me”. In my opinion Kate proved that she is far more prog than any major prog band and I mean that as a massive compliment.

KATE-BUSH-7_3018020kPart two of the show had a completely different set including a massive set of wooden doors. This was built for another song cycle, “A Sky Of Honey” from the second disc of the ‘Aeriel’ album from 2005. There were birds, trees and the artist. I had listened to “A Sky Of Honey” a lot during the past few weeks and I love it. Played live it is something even more magical. Kate’s son Bertie played the artist during this section and he even got his own solo song spot with “Tawny Moon”. He has a reasonably good voice and the song works, however I did feel that it might have been a little too long.

Kate Bush: Before The Dawn live at The Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London, Britain - 26 Aug 2014There was also an excellent puppeteer on stage working a fabulous artists wooden model dummy puppet. Late in the show there was a Pinocchio moment when the puppet became real. At the end of “Aerial” Kate in effect became a bird. Was she supposed to have been raised from the stage as a bird? It felt like it but that didn’t happen. I was also pleased to see hardly any sign of anyone filming any part of the show using their mobile phones.

Kate Bush: Before the DawnThe encore began with Kate singing “Among Angels” accompanied only by her own piano playing. I honestly thought before that point that things couldn’t possibly get any better. But that song was performed supremely well with great emotion and showcased just how good her voice is. The second and final song of the encore saw the whole band and ensemble return to the stage for a rousing and magnificent “Cloudbusting“. It felt like all 5,000 of us were on our feet and singing along; that is probably because we were! Kate thanked the audience many times but I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for deciding to play live again after all these years. Will she ever play live again? Will it be another 35 years? I really don’t care because I was there in 2014! I would love to hear your views if you were at this or any of the other shows.

imagesI went to the show with my brother-in-law Richard Lee (my wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman gave her ticket to her brother) and my friend Alison Wright with her husband Rob. I think we all enjoyed the show, I know that I certainly did. I would also like to dedicate this post to my cousin Deborah Jane Schofield who passed away far too young and was always a fan of Kate Bush.

I will close with the official video for “King Of The Mountain” one of my favourite songs of the evening

 

 

Gary Numan – York Barbican – Friday 22nd July 2011 July 23, 2011


I mentioned another post earlier this month that I would soon be off to see Gary Numan at the Barbican in York, well it came around quite quickly and I was there for the show last night. It was a part of the weekend long DV8 festival across a number of York venues. It also seemed like there had been coachloads of Whitby Goths dropped in York for the weekend. It could easily have been a Bram Stoker convention. But really I jest because I love the fact that some people, mostly young, take the time to be a little different with their appearance. That indeed was one of the many things that I loved about my late, great cousin Deborah Schofield who died way too young quite a few years ago now. I reckon she would have enjoyed herself last night.

Catwoman did accompany me, against my best advice, I did tell her that she probably wouldn’t like the music. But she came anyway, to try to share my interest. That is one of the many things that I love her for. But she did leave halfway through Gary Numan’s set, I was pretty darned impressed that she made it that far actually!

So onto the show. Personally I thought the support band were dreadful and sit very easily in amongst the 5 worst bands that I have ever seen and I saw my first gig in 1973. Their musicianship was very good, the songs were mostly average and the lead vocalist, well I believe they need to get one! The bass player really looked the part though, he could have stepped right out of Johnny Thunder‘s Heartbreakers in the late 70s. But that is all just my opinion and they did seem to have quite a few fans. Of course it could be that they weren’t allowed anywhere near a sound check as often happens with support bands. Click here to check out their MySpace page and tell me what you think. I would like to stress that this is my opinion and I look forward to the inevitable backlash!

Luxury Stranger finished at 9.30 and then we waited nearly an hour for the main man Mr Numan to arrive on stage, but for me it was definitely worth the wait. I suppose tribal loyalty (I’m a Bowie fan) means I shouldn’t like Gary Numan, but frankly I find all that kind of stuff pathetic. Numan opened with a kind of dark electro fanfare which rolled neatly into the excellent “Down In The Park“. I must confess that I probably know more of his late 70s work, but the newer stuff is strong and powerful and he has a great stage presence. he sure as hell knows how to work his very passionate audience. I will almost certainly buy his new album ‘Dead Son Rising’ when it comes out in September.

He played the classic “Cars” shortly after Catwoman left the building. A shame really as this may have been the one song she would have recognised. He finished the pre encore part of the set with my favourite; “Are Friends Electric?” it still sounds fresh and futuristic. The main synth riff was replaced with a piano riff which works really well. He was only off stage briefly before finishing with two songs. The light show was bloody good as was the sound and the venue is great. I went away happy at midnight as I would imagine the rest of the audience did too. I would definitely go and see him again and I truly believe that his show would work well at the Reading Festival, probably late afternoon on the Main Stage. Are you listening for next year Reading organisers?

I don’t have any recordings from last nights show so here are a few excellent clips for your further listening and viewing pleasure.

And finally an excellent old interview with Graham Norton

 

 
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