In the sprawling cosmos of modern music, true beauty within a body of work often comes down to how well it is conveyed through performance delivered live. It is with this that music definition can be crafted and uncoiled to a large and honest resolution. Kate Bush, is now once again at the epicentre of such a magnitude, as a three-disc live album scoops through the gemstones unearthed in her 2014 live shows – her first since 1979.
Before The Dawn is a light irradiated upon a body of work that has proven to stand any test of time – sounding immaculately preserved in 2014 just as the songs did upon their original releases decades ago. Illustrating a novel and picturesque platform, Lily unlocks the magical journey by a spoken word recital, laying out the physicality of what will continue to reinforce as a master crafted live display of glistening vividness. Manoeuvring through a back catalogue spanding some 10 studio albums, Kate plucks tracks, disentangling subtly with precise instrumentation and a vocal luminosity well-blossomed and heavenly patient. Joanni portrays her voice as an innocently echoed jewel ever so slightly over angelic backing cries and a hearty guitar atmosphere. Crowd applause heightens to deafening cheers as each track creeps in and results with an unwanted finish, crawling into the next chosen song ornament. The slow piano ballad of Never Be Mine casts an emotion over the stunned crowd with thoroughgoing mastery before the lively deepness of the familiar drum sequence in the proto-techno giant Running Up That Hill intoxicates the hypnotised audience into a unified surprise. Simply impossible to pinpoint the largest recording off the live record, a sure contender sits inside the third last song; Aerial. Sound-effect driven sonority unwinds into ghostly guitar howls and synth intoxication while Bush’s echoed vocal projection continues to darkly charm the listener. A bountiful drum break and guitar relationship reunite with her confidently sung rawness, reassuring that even after some thirty-five years since performing live, Kate has never been so in control, vibrant and attached to her craft.
It’s these gifts, surprises and unmatched feats of career triumph that fans and musicians both mutually desire. For Kate to return at such an uncertain stage of a music career with a gentle reminder of the unadulterated skill at hand, is a gift both divine and affecting. It’s an experience designed and developed for decades, performed briefly, and cast in stone for another lifetime with all of the grace and thanks belonging to the one and only Kate Bush.