Warning: Contains track list spoilers.
On Saturday 27th September 2014, thanks to the generosity of a good friend, and the kindness of a complete stranger, I got to fulfil a lifetime dream: I saw Kate Bush perform live on stage at the Eventim Apollo. It was, in the most literal sense of the word, wonderful. More than wonderful; her performance exceeded even my most optimistic expectations. I watched a diminutive, middle-aged woman gather up the hearts and minds of a packed theatre of people and lift them up, vibrating and trembling in harmony with her vocals, and hold them there through song after song. Her voice was astonishing. She has lost none of her range or power; her voice was crystal clear and faultless for almost two and a half hours. In a time when we are accustomed to hearing gushing, fulsome, but thoroughly undeserved praise heaped onto singers in reality shows, it was sobering to listen to a true master of their craft, delivering an outstanding performance with effortless skill.
I’m not generally given to tremulous outpourings of emotion, but throughout the whole show I was an emotional wreck, on the verge of tears from the moment she rang out the first note, like a church bell summoning the faithful to worship. And worship we did: even the random shout of “I love you, Kate” from someone at the back of the theatre was received with cheers and warm applause from an audience utterly in agreement with the sentiment. I sat transfixed by the woman who’s music was the soundtrack to my awkward teenage years, swept away by the emotion that rolled off the stage from her in palpable waves. Her voice was simply amazing. The music and the musicians were amazing. The backing singers were, predictably, amazing. The stage and lighting design lifted the show even further.
If I’m brutally honest however, I did feel that the theatrical element of the show was an unnecessary distraction. It was clever and interesting but, for me at least, it got in the way of what I wanted most: to hear her sing. To hear that huge voice issuing from the tiny, barefoot woman who filled the stage with her presence. My highlight was Kate on her own, seated at a piano, lifting me away with a simple song, performed beautifully. That, and the tumultuous final performance: Cloudbusting, one of my favourites, with the whole audience on their feet, singing, cheering and, around me at least, crying with joy.
A magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience that I never expected to have, and I can’t possibly thank those who made it happen enough. I wish I managed to get hold of another ticket, so that I could have shared the experience with my lovely wife. But then again, Elaine would have just laughed at my complete and utter fan-boy meltdown and called me a giant wuss. Which I most unapologetically am. The only problem I have now is dealing with the fact that every night will now be a night when I’m not watching Kate Bush perform live on stage.