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Kate Bush recalls the ‘terror’ of her 2014 live shows

Media captionMatt Everitt speaks exclusively to Kate Bush about her ‘Before the Dawn’ tour.

Kate Bush has confessed she was “terrified” by the critically-acclaimed concerts that marked her return to the stage two years ago.

The ambitious, three-act Before the Dawn show played for 22 nights at Hammersmith’s Apollo in 2014, her first full live performances since 1979.

Speaking about the shows for the first time, the star told BBC 6 Music she was “nervous every night” of the residency.

Her biggest fear was losing her place mid-song, she told Matt Everitt.

‘Primeval’ reaction

“I naturally tend to race ahead in my mind,” Bush explained. “I’m always thinking about situations and running them through.

“I think, maybe it’s that kind of primeval thing where you’re trying to think, ‘Can I get to that tree before the tiger gets me?’

“So my head is always moving ahead, just trying to get to the conclusion of whatever this journey is. And once we started running the show I had to be absolutely in that moment.

“But I was so terrified that if my mind wandered off that when I came back I wouldn’t remember where I was.”

Bush has spent the last two years preparing a live album documenting the show, which will be released on 25 November.

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Noble and Bright / Rex Features

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The star asked fans to put away their phones so she could have direct contact with an audience

Like the concert, the album is divided into three parts – the first covering hits like Hounds of Love, Top Of The City and Running Up That Hill; while the second and third more conceptual movements were focused on two suites of songs: The Ninth Wave and A Sky Of Honey from her Hounds Of Love and Aerial albums respectively.

Bush declined interview requests before and after the concerts but will delve into the shows on a special hour-long programme, Kate Bush on 6 Music, at 13:00 GMT on Sunday 20 November.

In these exclusive excerpts, she speaks about her decision to perform live again, the problems she experienced and whether she has started working on new music.

What changed your mind about doing the live shows? This is the first big question, isn’t it?

I’d done two albums in really quite quick succession and I felt like doing something different. I really wanted to do something that wasn’t going to mean sitting in the studio for a couple of years just putting an album together. So it just felt like the right time.

Can you recall that moment of thinking, “Okay, this might interest me”?

Well, I suppose there’d been odd moments when I’d thought this before: “It might be nice to do some shows”. But actually pushing the button to go was something that I had to really seriously build up to.

Were you quite nervous?

Yeah, I was terrified. The idea of putting the show together was something that I found really interesting and really exciting… 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.

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AFP

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The singer’s hits include Hounds of Love, Wuthering Heights and Running Up That Hill

As opposed to the studio, the disciplines involved with live work are very, very different. The ability to exert control is wrested from your hands. How did you cope with that?

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.

The most difficult thing for me was to be continually in the now because I naturally tend to race ahead in my mind. I think maybe it’s that kind of primeval thing where you’re trying to think, ‘Can I get to that tree before the tiger gets me? Will I be able to get up high enough?’

So my head is always moving ahead just trying to get to the conclusion of whatever this journey is. And once we started running the show I had to be absolutely in that moment.

But I was so terrified that if my mind wandered off that when I came back I wouldn’t remember where I was. So I had to really fix myself, so that I would remember where I was in the song.

It was obviously a really creatively fulfilling thing to do the shows – and you’re smiling at me already because you know the question that’s going to come in a second. You enjoyed it and you managed to achieve something very special, something that maybe hadn’t been done with a live pop music show for a long time. Is there the temptation to do it again in some form?

The thing about that show is that most of the material was already written. And to start something like that from scratch is another whole world of work, isn’t it?

It was an extraordinary thing to be involved in, especially to have got the response that we did. It was really magical. But I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I want to just do something new. I’ve been working [on] this project for a really long time now.

Image copyright
Kate Bush

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Before The Dawn incorporated a dramatic interpretation of The Ninth Wave, a suite of songs about a shipwreck

In terms of your songwriting at the moment, how has that been affected by the political state the world finds itself in? Because it’s difficult to avoid – no matter what side of the political fence you sit on. Is that something that you’ve been inspired to write about?

No! [laughs]

That was a really well thought-out question and it was just shot down! Nothing?

I haven’t written a song for ages. I haven’t been writing.

How come?

Well, sir, I’ve been quite busy. I’ve been putting a live album together.

I mean, tell me there’s going to be another album at some point. This is not a full stop or anything, is it?

Oh no, I don’t think so. I think it’s just a rather big comma.

Kate Bush on 6 Music will be broadcast at 13:00 GMT on Sunday, 20 November.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-37924894