Before I start this review it's worth making note of the fact that I wasn't born for years after Kate Bush was originally very well known and I was merely accompanying someone who really wanted to go to the show. Due to this my review is based from someone who knows only two Kate Bush songs (one of which she didn't perform) and didn't really get the hype over her comeback concerts.
You could feel the excitement surrounding Kate Bush's comeback shows from the second I got to Hammersmith, after all these are her first set of concerts in over 30 years. A definite buzz could be felt from around the Hammersmith Apollo which only magnified in size when I took my seat. The excitement was emphasised when Bush took the stage to an astonishingly loud standing ovation.
The concert itself was split into three very distinct sections. The first seemed for me seemed a gentle introduction to Bush. It was all about her and her voice as she sang through her songs. Honestly I had never heard of any of the songs she was singing in this section so I found it to be a little boring. However despite this the crowd was loving every minute of it and gave standing ovations after every song. On reflection is was enjoyable to be able to see her perform with little theatrical elements.
It was when hit song, and the only song of the night that I knew, King of the Mountain was played when things started to get really interesting. It had suddenly turned into the kind of Kate Bush concert that I had described to me. It was visually astounding and frankly just plain strange at times but it was easily my favourite section of the night. It begun with confetti falling from the ceiling and then before you know it Bush was stranded at sea. It was simply the best theatrical production that I've ever seen during a concert. A helicopter flew over the crowd, strangely masked fish men patrolled, a living room was brought on and the stage was transformed into the ocean to name some of the effects. I found it impossible to draw my eyes away from the stage. Despite the fact that I thought the effects were fantastic I found that I paid very little attention to what was being sung. Usually I attend a concert to listen to my favourite songs being sung live whereas in this section of the Before The Dawn concert it celebrated theatrical elements more than her singing. I do think though that perhaps that wasn't a bad thing as the other sections did put more emphasis on her vocal performance.
After a short interval the third section based on album Aerial began. Some lovely sky visuals were projected in this segment which provided a nice balance between the first two parts of the show. Interestingly the final section featured Bush's son Bertie McIntosh, who portrays the painter that on the album was originally played by Rolf Harris. Bertie even managed to get a newly penned track to sing himself. I felt the addition of Bertie provided a break from Bush's unique vocals. However, I'm sure fans who came would have probably preferred another Kate Bush performance in its place.
Kate Bush certainly gave her fans a show staying on stage for three hours. It was refreshing too to be watching a concert without a sea of cameras. The forced camera ban certainly made the audience appreciate what was happening on stage rather than what was happening through a screen. Although the concert wasn't one of my favourite events I've attended I honestly don't think my opinion matters. Because for the thousands of fans lucky enough to have a ticket to see her on her comeback at the Apollo it certainly was a night they wouldn't forget for a long time and well worth the wait.