Kate Bush – “Before the Dawn” (2016)

Label: Fish People/Concord Music Group

Review by Warren Mayocchi

In 2014 Kate Bush gave a series of concerts in London, she called the experience “Before the Dawn”, and we now have an album with the same name. It is credited to the KT Fellowship in honour of all the contributors to the event. “Before the Dawn” is a recording of performances from the three act concert series. It is particularly notable as it is rare for Kate Bush to perform live, over the years she has only occasionally appeared for one-off events. The last time she delivered a concert series was 1979 – The Tour of Life. So, the existence of this new album is a special occasion in itself. The three acts of the concert are partitioned onto three separate albums. Act one is a selection of songs from “Hounds of Love”, “Director’s Cut” and “Aerial”. The second act is the “Ninth Wave” sequence from 1985 release – “Hounds of Love”. Finally, act three is the “A Sky of Honey” sequence from 2005 album “Aerial”. As an encore we have Kate Bush and a piano for “Among Angels” from “50 Words for Snow” and the KT Fellowship for “Cloudbusting” from “Hounds of Love”“Before the Dawn” has an interesting song selection as it contradicts the standard approach for musicians in concert – a selection of greatest hits and recent releases. However, with approach here there is conceptual integrity. The selection of songs in act one sets a particular mood. Then the art of Kate Bush presented in acts two and three builds from the mood into a theatrical experience. These latter acts were originally written to be experienced as a whole, so, in keeping with the original idea, we are treated to a greater whole than a series of distinct songs. The crowd is present in these recordings though usually only noticeable at song boundaries – they are generally unobtrusive, allowing for an immersive listening experience. There are a few dramatic spoken word sections which are more disruptive than the audience. In total, this is a souvenir of performance art which would be better delivered in video format, but is no less valuable in audio. Kate Bush and her supporting artists are in excellent form. While the song selection may not suit those who love Kate Bush‘s earlier work, all but two songs from the acclaimed “Hounds of Love” are performed. Combined with the conceptual sequences of acts two and three, it all provides a better live experience of the Kate Bush phenomenon than a broader song selection would. As it is rare for Kate Bush to perform live, and even rarer for her to travel, this release is a must-have album for fans, showcasing the talent of an artist who works with the musical medium.

Rating – 86/100

 

Tracklist

CD1

  1. Lily
  2. Hounds of Love
  3. Joanni
  4. Top of the City
  5. Never Be Mine
  6. Running Up That Hill
  7. King of the Mountain

 

CD2

  1. Astronomer’s Call (Spoken monologue)
  2. And Dream of Sheep
  3. Under Ice
  4. Waking the Witch
  5. Watching Them Without Her (dialogue)
  6. Watching You Without Me
  7. Little Light
  8. Jig of Life
  9. Hello Earth
  10. The Morning Fog

 

CD3

  1. Prelude
  2. Prologue
  3. An Architect’s Dream
  4. The Painter’s Link
  5. Sunset
  6. Aerial Tal
  7. Somewhere in Between
  8. Tawny Moon
  9. Nocturn
  10. Aerial
  11. Among Angels
  12. Cloudbusting

 

Links

facebook.com/katebush

twitter.com/katebushmusic

katebush.com