Kate Bush Live in London: Her Last Show Ever?

When Kate Bush announced that she was going to perform her first proper concerts in 35 years, the universe shifted slightly. All 80,000 tickets for her 22 night stand at the Hammersmith Eventim disappeared in 15 minutes, immediately creating a black market for tickets. I shudder to think what they were being scalped for.

I’d long given up on being able to go until MarkMarkMark (he likes to be called James Bond, and with good reason) found himself with an extra VIP ticket for the final show of Kate’s residency.

MarkMarkMark

Did I want to go? F**K YEAH! I even felt the same way even after he told me the tickets were £414 each.. At today’s rate, that’s $750 CAD.

Kate Bush ticket

I don’t have many bucket list concert experiences, but this was one of them. I had to make it happen.

As soon as I finished my interview with the Foo Fighters in LA, I roared back to LAX and hopped on an eleven hour flight to London. I made it to the hotel for two, had a plate of curry at the place around the corner, nabbed a 45 minute kip and then grabbed a cab to Hammersmith to meet MarkMarkMark James Bond.

Here are some photo highlights from the night.

TIcket sign

Our tickets came with a special pre-show VIP dinner at the church across the street. It was quite spectacular.

VIP 1

Naturally, it started with a welcome glass of Champagne.

Champagne

Dinner came in a picnic basket.

Dinner came in a picnic basket

Here’s what it contained. Read the descriptions carefully.

The menu

“Edible dirt?” Yeah. It looked like this.

Edible dirt

It also came with an interesting deep-fried egg.

Egg

The salmon mousse was very nice.

Salmon mousse

The sauce and mayonnaise was very good, too.

Sauces and mayo

And of course, there was wine.

Wine

After I managed to shove all that into my gob (there was also a chicken dish, a cheese course and more), it was time to go across the street to the Hammersmith.  The lobby was jammed.

Hammersmith lobby

The venue quickly filled up.

Crowd 2

Looking around, I found Del Palmer and Kate’s brother (dude with the beard you can’t see because the blonde woman is isn the way)…

Kate's brother

…and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour (right in the centre).

David Gilmour

Further down the row was Stephen Merchant, Ricky Gervais’ writing partner. I didn’t managed to get a picture of him, though.

This is the view from our seats. Picture-taking was allowed before the gig began.

Seat view

A slightly closer view of the stage before the show started. Again, this was completely legal under gig rules. Kate had a seven-piece band that included Peter Gabriel’s favourite guitarist and two percussionists.

A closer look at the stage

 

Stage at intermission

Taking pictures during the gig was STRICTLY forbidden.  They had photo cops roaming the aisles warning people to cut it out.  But they couldn’t be in all places at once, right? Especially towards the end of the show when everyone was taking their bows for the final time.

Full band

For the encore, MarkMarkMark and I rushed the stage for a better look during “Cloudbusting.” I couldn’t resist another shot. (Hey, I wasn’t the only one. And this doesn’t make me a bad fan. By the time we got to the last song of the last show, everyone in the audience wanted at least one souvenir picture. If you were there you would have done exactly the same thing.)

She seemed like she was having fun. “Why did I wait 35 years for this?”

Kate Bush

A fine night. Worth the money? Absolutely.

End of the nightr

Here’s a very, very good article on why Kate Bush matters. If you’re still looking at me weird for spending all this time and money to see what could be her last-ever show, read it.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

11 thoughts on “Kate Bush Live in London: Her Last Show Ever?

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  • October 2, 2014 at 5:34 am
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    Hmm. Have to disagree about the Jane Graham article. Yes, KB has (almost) always been in control of the portrayal of her sexuality and the projection of her image in general. Yet, Ms Graham – in common with most of the media – still clings to the image of KB: a ‘hippy-dippy’, ‘toadstool dancing’, wild child of nature, which was largely created by the media at a time when KB wasn’t yet in control of those things. I doubt KB would recognise herself in the description ‘whispery, fluttering’ any more, either. Ms Graham also misreads lyrics: ‘so many songs about the wonders of foliage and baby foxes’; which songs are they then? Did she miss the songs about incest, homophobia, the joy of sex and the pain of death and grieving? KB was influenced early on by folk music – story music – and in the stage show she is not ‘portraying herself’ at all. She’s telling a story. Yes, KB is an excellent role model and as such deserves a less lazy article than that written by Jane Graham.

    Reply
  • October 2, 2014 at 6:28 am
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    Ok – Can I say, Jealous!!! Thanks for the pictorial Alan! Looks like you had a blast.

    Reply
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  • October 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm
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    Financially, the Kate Bush announcement could not have come at a worse time for me, but as you said – I had to make it happen. Seeing Kate Bush wasn’t on my bucket list because I always thought she would never play live again. I have watched Kate’s incredible videos over and over again, since the early ’80s.

    When Kate Bush finally appeared on stage and started to sing “Lily”, I dissolved into tears, and I knew the expense was worth every penny. This was not just a rock concert – and I’ve been to many – this was like a religious pilgrimage. The artist in stage wasn’t just a singer, she was an icon, a leader, and a person who literally brought sons and daughters of all the continents together under one roof, for one purpose.

    Who else but Kate Bush could ask her audience to refrain from photographing her shows – and have the audience wholeheartedly respect that? I felt like I was at a ’90s concert for a moment – how refreshing to not see a sea of iphone screens before me. How wonderful to see and feel the audience fully engaged with the artist and musicians.

    Did it suck that Kate didn’t sing “Wuthering Heights”? Of course not. I am happy to watch a video of a very young Kate Bush whirling around singing and yearning for Heathcliffe. It would be odd and a bit sad to see her sing it now. Kate has evolved, and her show “Before the Dawn” was the right show for her to perform at this point in her career. I knew going into this experience that I was priviledged to be attending this show – I was not going to bitch about the setlist. It was an honour to just be in the same room as Kate Bush.

    I’m so glad you went Alan. You’re right, that salmon mousse looks divine! I’ll get the hamper next time. A long while from now.

    Reply
  • October 3, 2014 at 1:27 am
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    Just to clarify “James Bond” is a nickname Huey Morgan from Fun Lovin’ Criminals hung on me. VIP tix for Kate’s potentially final performance is just living up to the legacy. Great food, great show. There is no doubt in my mind that we witnessed the Halley’s Comet of rock shows. (If you can even call it a rock show..?) I am holding out hope she will make another appearance. Now, let’s see…in another 35 years she’ll be 91. I’ll be 83. The year will be 2049…Its all falling together… Can’t wait! Cheers!

    Reply
  • October 3, 2014 at 7:18 am
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    I waited 30 years to see Kate, I never thought it was going to happen but I was lucky enough to get tickets. When I heard she wasn’t doing anything from the early days I felt a little disappointed. As soon as she came on stage I completely forgot about it until now. I’m one of the lucky ones to have seen this incredible singer, songwriter, musician, composer and entertainer. It’s just left me wanting more.

    Reply
  • October 3, 2014 at 1:03 pm
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    Wow didn’t realise we were sitting in front of Kates Brother. Hard to put the event into words. Sooooooo enjoyable on many levels, great to see your picnic photos etc., for those of us who couldn’t pay that much. Thanks for calling me blonde, I am very much silver, my two daughters thought it was a wonderful show too. (Can’t think of the appropriate superlative words which express the whole event)

    Reply
  • October 4, 2014 at 7:12 pm
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    Let me make it clear.

    As far as I have seen, almost all the audience had followed/respected the rule about camera/filming/recording policy of the show.

    Then looks at these words like “I wasn’t the only one”, “this doesn’t make me a bad fan”, “By the time we got to the last song of the last show, everyone in the audience wanted at least one souvenir picture”, “If you were there you would have done exactly the same thing.”.

    You see a typical person who tries to justify whatever he/she wants to do.

    Like it or not, the more this writer shares such photos which this person took during the show, the more this writer ends up spreading the news by himself/herself that this writer is a person who cannot follow/respect a rule which is requested even by a person this writer wants to see.

    Reply
    • October 6, 2014 at 7:23 pm
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      Since you weren’t there (and I was eyewitness to this,) I’m going to defend the author here. Any photos he (or I) took were taken when the performance had all but concluded. The spirit of the request by Kate herself and the dedicated folks of the K fellowship was just that no audience member do anything to ruin the “in-the-moment” experience for any other patron. Period. We have all stood at a show behind a sea of jerks who are watching the show through their elevated iPhone for the sake of taking some grainy, shite sounding, unprofessional footage that they will likely never watch ever again. Throughout the performance, nobody did that and neither did we. Further, at no point is the author insighting anyone to ignore the “rules” at any future shows because, in case you missed it, there are no future shows. Kate and the cast were more than happy to linger a little longer with the house lights up on the final night to allow a few no flash photos.

      Reply
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