Kate Bush’s return to the stage on 26th August 2014 was beyond special and, prior to the announcement, it seemed implausible to ever imagine her wanting to step back out in front of a live audience but, miraculously, she made her stunning resurrection to where she belonged, London’s Hammersmith Apollo.
The mercurial talent hadn’t toured since 1979 and, after 35 years, she made her emphatic return in the very building that her last tour ended at. Bush announced on her website about her plans to perform live again, a time when she announced an initial run of 15 dates at the iconic London venue before adding an additional seven due to such high demand — with the mammoth run of dates selling out in just under fifteen minutes.
Her Before The Dawn residency was much more than a standard run of the mill concert and saw Bush deliver a theatrical display which would go on to win the Editor’s Award at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. She even spent three days in a flotation tank for filmed scenes that were played during the performance which also featured dialogue written by novelist David Mitchell.
The singer also enlisted help with production from Adrian Noble, the former artistic director and chief executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company, costume designer Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting designer Mark Henderson and Italian Shadows Theatre company Controluce Teatro d’Ombre.
“It wasn’t designed that way, because I really enjoyed the first set of shows we did [in 1979],” Bush told The Independent in 2016. “The plan at the time was that I was going to do another two albums’ worth of fresh material, and then do another show. But of course, by the time I got to the end of what was The Dreaming album, it had gone off on a slight tilt, because I’d become so much more involved in the recording process,” she added.
After so many years away from the spotlight, it was only normal that Bush was nervous ahead of her highly-anticipated return to the live arena. “I was terrified. The idea of putting the show together was something that I found really interesting and really exciting to be able to put a visual theatrical piece together, but to actually step into it was something that I had to really work hard on because I was terrified of doing live work as a performer again,” she told 6 Music host Matt Everitt.
“I was really nervous every night as a performer, but had complete faith in everybody on the stage, everybody in the team, all the sound guys,” Bush added.
Her sets saw her snub material from her first four albums which meant that fans missed out on hearing classics such as ‘Wuthering Heights’, ‘The Man with the Child in his Eyes’ or ‘Babooshka’ but they couldn’t care less about that and were blown away by the spectacle that Bush put on — which went down as a unanimous success.
Check out this fan-filmed footage from one of the historic concerts, below.