Kate Bush Comeback Concert Draws Celebrities, Rave Reviews

Kate Bush 1980 - H 2014
AP Photo

Kate Bush 1980 - H 2014

Bjork, Lily Allen and Gemma Arterton were spotted at the singer's first performance in 35 years amid Madonna, David Bowie rumors

Kate Bush's comeback concert on Tuesday night in London attracted such celebrities as Bjork, Lily Allen and actress Gemma Arterton (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Quantum of Solace) and rave reviews in the British press.

The singer-songwriter's first stage performance in 35 years ‎at the Hammersmith Apollo also led to unconfirmed suggestions that Madonna and David Bowie may be in attendance, according to The Guardian and other papers who mentioned the various stars actually spotted in the crowd.

Among them were also such 1980s pop stars as Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Marc Almond, as well as Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd‎.

The 56-year-old sold out all 22 shows in 15 minutes. Reviewers heaped praise on Bush, with‎ The Independent saying: "It's quite stunning, undoubtedly the most ambitious, and genuinely moving, piece of theatrical pop ever seen on a British stage."

The Guardian, meanwhile, lauded Bush for her "lithe grace and note-perfect vocals." Said the paper: "For someone who's spent the vast majority of her career shunning the stage, she's a hugely engaging live performer."

Its review also noted that "Bush's 16-year-old son Bertie — clad as a 19th-century artist" appeared onstage with the singer in a sort of mini play.

Concluded The Guardian: "The concert-goer who desires a stripped down rock and roll experience, devoid of theatrical folderol, is thus advised that Before the Dawn is probably not the show for them."

Bush was greeted with huge cheers as she appeared onstage ‎barefoot and dressed in black t‎o‎ open with "Lily" from her 1993 album Red Shoes, the reviews said. She spoke little and told the audience her son had given her courage to return to the stage, according to several reports.‎

The Guardian reviewer also noted that she performed no songs from her first four albums, with reviews noting that she ended the show with an encore consisting of "Among Angels" and "Cloudbusting."

Bush's request for her 22-night residency to go down without the crowd snapping pictures and filming video with phones, cameras and tablets was honored, according to several reports. She had argued that would ensure that she could have direct "contact" and interaction with her audience.‎

Concluded The Independent: "Already widely acclaimed as the most influential and respected British female artist of the past 40 years, shrouded in the kind of endlessly intriguing mystique that is almost impossible to conjure in an Internet age, Bush theoretically had a lot to lose by returning to the stage. Clearly, given how tightly she has controlled her own career since the early 80s, she would only have bothered because she felt she had something spectacular to offer. She was right: Before The Dawn is another remarkable achievement."‎

Boy George couldn’t make the show, tweeting: "Had to miss Kate Bush tonight but hopefully I will catch one of the shows."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai