…(Almost) in concert with Kate Bush

Ticket or no ticket – I couldn't keep myself from trooping down to the Apollo in Hammersmith. If I couldn't be IN the concert, I wanted to be at least as close as possible. Breathe in the atmosphere, take a snifter of joyous anticipation, a happy dose of excitement of those lucky few who HAD secured one of the coveted tickets to see Kate Bush.

There was no red carpet, yet it was definitely a red carpet event. Celebs were marching by, many of them decidedly too young to have ever seen Kate on stage the first time around – 35 years ago at this very same venue …. Lilly Allen, Gemma Arterton for a start. Others, like Marc Almond, Holly Johnson or Dave Gilmore from Pink Floyd were clearly die-hard fans cast from the same mould as yours truly. As Dave marched up to the entrance, I saw him holding the ticket before him like a banner. Oh, I know just how you feel, man! I'd do the same. If only ….

Of course, the press corp was also there in full battalion strength; they'd all had a feast ever since Kate had first sprung the news of her comeback tour on the world in March. And THEY had access to the concert – Grrrrrrrr. Just not poor me. Tickets had sold within 15 minutes of the tour being announced, and I simply wasn't fast enough. Bad karma. Sigh. On the night of the opening, there were still a few, very few tickets changing hands – at £1,000 a piece (over ten times their face value). Too much? – you say. Certainly …. And yet, who knows if and when this musician/performer/artist extraordinary will ever burst onto the stage again after this 22-day tour is concluded?

As the doors closed behind arriving guests at the Hammersmith Apollo I almost regretted NOT having put a thousand quid on the table to secure a seat inside. Almost. In any case, it was too late now for regrets. Inside, I imagined a few opening remarks and then the initial crescendo with which our Kate would burst into the stage …. After a mere 35 year absence. Oh, if only I had been there to see it with my own eyes!

Left with a sense of loss, I schlepped myself to one of the nearby wine bars (I wasn't ready to leave just yet), ordered a glass of Rioja and then put my headphones on to immerse myself in the Kate Bush from the past – hoping one fine day I might add a dose of Kate Bush of the present. I floated off on good wine and better music – from Babushka, Running up that Hill to Withering Heights …. Until, alas, it was time to conclude my evening ALMOST in concert with Kate by trooping back to the Apollo to get a snifter of how it had truly been from the leaving crowd. Fantastic! Mesmerizing! Spellbinding and bizarre! Kate has lost none of her rebellious, curious, wandering spirit! Her voice is as crystal-clear as 35 years ago ….. And, and, and …

They all left the Apollo with the afterglow of something very special. I breathed in all those comments like sweet perfume. I could almost visualize Kate on stage, whirling around, bouncy, "mesmerizing" … Could hear her voice, clear as glass … As I gobbled up the first reviews of the opening night, saw the flurry of "spellbinding" indeed photos, I knew none of the exuberant epitaphs of her show had been exaggerated. It was clearly a comeback to be remembered. And I vowed to myself: Next time, Kate! Next time … And don't let us wait for another 35 years! You're performances are too precious and too rare! I'll be watching out. And next time I will be there. Promise.

 

About Yewande Okuleye

Cultural Historian|Londoner
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