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Kate Bush - Before The Dawn CD (album) cover


Kate Bush


Crossover Prog

4.06 | 31 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I'm surprised to be only the second reviewer for this, considering the huge news value of Kate Bush having gone on stage again. One thing is sure: the fans are anxiously hoping and waiting for the DVD release of this three-act concert. (I've said this before, but I strongly prefer DVD's over live albums. And no, I didn't buy this 3-CD, just borrowed it from my library.) Even if Kate's vocals are in a good form and not notably aged, my initial reception was slightly disappointed. The first disc [39:34], or Act One, contains seven unrelated tracks from the albums Red Shoes, Aerial and Hounds of Love ('Never Be Mine' from The Sensual World was recorded when the show was being filmed without the audience). The selection is not very good IMHO, and it's sad that many great albums in her discography were totally excluded. The other reason for my negative feelings was the way the performances are mostly just uninspired replicas of the studio versions.

Act Two: an extended version of "The Ninth Wave" suite that originally formed the B side of the Hounds of Love album. I can imagine the spoken-oriented extensions increase the drama level on the concert when you are/were there (I wasn't, sadly), but on audio-only they become a mere nuisance. And for the music itself, the arrangement here follows very closely the original form, meaning that a lot of sounds and vocals are not real live at all. As a listening experience this theatre-oriented performance is a bit frustrating in several ways, hopelessly losing to the superb original without really adding new MUSICAL ideas. The happy final part, 'Morning Fog', offers the band a good opportunity to blow some extra life into the playing, but, even if it's the one that differs most clearly from the original, it sounds somewhat lame here. The line-up is top-notch: David Rhodes, John Giblin, Jon Carin, Omar Hakim, etc. After listening to two CD's I felt disillusioned.

Act Three: "A Sky of Honey", ie. the suite of the 2nd disc of the 2005 Aerial album. During this 73-minute disc my reception turned for the positive. Maybe it's because the music of this suite is airier, softer -- less "artificial" if you know what I mean -- , the live performance of it functions extremely well. Finally the band finds its real strength. Already the 'Prologue' part contains extensions that are musically inspired, and the suite becomes a cathartic listening experience, even more so than it was on the album. The new song 'Tawny Moon' is sung by Kate's son Bertie (whose name I fail to find from the booklet?) and it's a very good addition to the suite. From the 2011 album 50 Words for Snow comes 'Among Angels', a beautiful melancholic piano song of the purest Kate Bush touch. And the encore piece 'Cloudbusting' is gorgeous.

The weakest part is the first act, especially being a missed opportunity in a discographical sense. Act Two made me only crave for the visual side of the performance (the pictures reveal it's awesome). Act Three finally made an impression on me, but I guess I have to rate this with "only" three stars. Hopefully the DVD will be released some day.

Matti | 3/5 |


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