I came across this scene on my wanders in downtown Vancouver today. Sure, it's been constantly in my consciousness since Before the Dawn, but Among Angels immediately came to mind.
Without a doubt, a factor in amplifying the experience of finally seeing Kate Bush live has been the comments, camaraderie and shared emotion on the various forums dedicated to this event. Before leaving London I posted the following because it sums up how much of a difference all my fellow Kate fans have made. I would like to share it here also.
Tomorrow morning I head back home to Australia, to my before the "Before the Dawn" life, and a world of relative Kate obscurity. But before I leave I'd like to say thank you to you all. I may not have had the pleasure of meeting many of you but your posts and comments have turned a potentially solitary experience into very much a shared one. My adventure would not have been the same without you. All the best to those of you yet to see her, those of you who didn't manage to and those of you, like me, who are dealing with the emotional aftermath.
I had a feeling it might be a bad idea. Listening to Kate on the flight home … in public. I wanted to hear it again, to remember - but not too much; not so much that I'd get carried away.
You see, since the second show in particular, I've been a bit emotional. Think about the whole experience too much and tears well up. As they are while I'm writing this. It's been a bit embarrassing at times; not a good look. Those notes, passages and lyrics that were already special, now have new significance as they trigger memories of those nights. Even the once benign now has the potential to set me off.
And yet it feels so adolescent, so immature to be reacting this way. As concerts and performances go, it was up there. An amazing show but, in its own right, not enough to have this effect on me. I figure it must be the fulfilment of a lifelong hope, and the fulfilment in such a big, close up way, that must be the reason for the emotion.
So I straddled the line between satisfying my need to enjoy and engaging too deeply in recall. Pull back from the edge and think of something else when you start to feel it swelling up.
For me at least, Tuesday was the dress rehearsal but last night was the main event. After weeks of uncertainty and frustration, I picked up my ticket for the second night from the box office. To my surprise it was another of the ornate fan tickets; I had assumed it would be a cheap reprint job. But I wouldn't have cared, just as long as I had my row F seat. Or, once you subtract the non-existent rows A to D, my centre of the 2nd row seat!
On the tube to Hammersmith I bumped into Jeffrey and Melissa, two of the lovely people from America I had met at the Swan the night before. They too had tickets for last night so we were able to get to chat some more. At the Swan I met many others; American, Australian, English, Irish, French - a United Nations of fans. And that's been one of the most unexpected and remarkable things for me about this journey - all the connections that have been made. And as well as the expected excitement and anticipation there were even some people who had managed to pick up tickets only that afternoon, after weeks of trying unsuccessfully to snatch the odd ticket that popped up online.
So, at 7:00 we made our way the short walk to the theatre. I felt much more calm than I had the night before, probably due to the tiredness. I took some pictures before the show to try and capture that memory. I would have loved to be able to take one of Kate but we all respected her wishes to not use our cameras during the show.
This was the view as I entered the stalls.
The stage from my seat. The area in front of the band was a vast space for Kate to wander.
And the view of the crowd filling up behind me.
I took one picture on the way out. Again from my row, but with people standing you get a better sense of just how close the stage was. The guy sitting next to me was able to reach out and touch it; he asked me to film him as evidence.
So, was it a different experience from the night before? Hell yes!
Tuesday night the view was panoramic but last night was immersive. The stage occupied my full width of vision. And being in the centre, the sound quality was far more balanced. Kate and the band sounded magnificent. The deep roaring storm in segments of The Ninth Wave, especially Hello Earth, shook the theatre and reverberated inside me.
And then there was Kate; so close you could see into her eyes, notice every detail on her face, see that incredible smile. Did we make eye contact? Probably not, but I'd like to think we may have.
And from the rapturous, thunderous applause as she and the backing singers shuffled onto the stage, to the recurring standing ovations (I can remember at least 8), to the entire theatre on their feet all through the final song Cloudbusting, singing in unison "yeah-e-yeah-e-yeah-oh" - I clapped so hard my hands were sore. The crowd seemed even more vocal last night, and Kate appeared to be genuinely impressed and moved.
So that was it. The event I had given up all hope of witnessing. But even in my wildest dreams I would never have imagined it could have been like that.
Just got back to the apartment from Before the Dawn and I'm not sure exactly how I feel. Still shaking. Not so much because of the show, though it was TRULY shake worthy. Maybe because it's been quite an emotional journey and this is part of the culmination. Either way I'm drained.
But one thing I AM clear on:
I think it highly unlikely I will ever attend another concert so overwhelmingly filled with love from the audience. Every standing ovation, and there were many, was a heartfelt outpouring of pent up admiration and adoration so thick you could touch it and leave a fingerprint.
And the tube ride back to Russell Square was priceless. Shared with total strangers who would look at you and smile: "Wasn’t that amazing?".
I will post some details in due course. Right now, I need a glass of wine to calm me down and settle me for sleep. (Will I dream of sheep?)
It's early morning; another beautiful, clear and mild morning in London. I was in bed early last night and slept solidly until 2:00 when my body obviously decided it was morning. After a couple of hours of tossing and turning I managed to get back to sleep for a little while. But now it's light I know there's no chance of any more.
I read a post on one of the Kate Bush fan groups on Facebook a moment ago that surprised me. We're seeing her on the 9th of the 9th, a major part of the show is her Ninth Wave and it's her 9th show. Added to that, I believe tonight will be a full moon, mysterious and foreboding like Kate herself. I know these are merely coincidences. But all the same I will choose to believe they are signs of something magical to come.
As for the day today, I plan to visit an exhibition of photographs of Kate and wander a bit more with my camera to see what London wants to show me. But first a bowl of muesli with delicious fresh summer berries and some very strong coffee!
Until now I've put a cap on my emotions, for a multitude of reasons. But now, waiting for my flight, it's all sinking in. And the feelings swell like a shy volcano, needing to burst through and erupt in a shameless explosion but contained by its innate English stoicism.
I think it's safe now. Is it safe now? To believe that in only a few days time I will see our beloved Kate in reality, in the flesh, in her element ... my musical hero.
I should stop for now. Not a good look in public.
The last few weeks have been a bit crazy. Potential eruptions in Iceland, a wayward ticket to night #2 that finished up returning to sender, fraud transactions on a credit card leading to a temporary "no card" situation. But all is resolved now. My wayward ticket is confirmed for collection from venue, new cards issued, and by all accounts Iceland will be kind to me.
So off I fly tomorrow morning, to London via Singapore. 5 nights in London and 2 dates with Kate. I've been reading some of the spoilers so I have a general idea of how the shows will go. But that doesn't diminish in any way the excitement and anticipation. In fact, until now I've been holding back; not wanting to jinx it. I dare say when I step on British soil again I will probably go a little crazy ... in a good way of course.
Now to sleep ... if I can.