“This is the last song tonight… and for a while!” Kate Bush, 1st October 2014
As Kate Bush left the stage last night to a rapturous standing ovation, her newly found ‘day job’ – and the routine that went with it – was over. The Before The Dawn extravaganza has come to an end after 22 shows and has been an unprecedented success. Fans, critics, fellow artists and musicians had run out of superlatives to describe the show which featured almost the whole of her 1985 album Hounds of Love (only The Big Sky and Mother Stands For Comfort weren’t played) and A Sky of Honey, the concept piece from the second side of 2005’s Aerial.
Let’s be honest, the last four years have been heaven for Kate Bush fans, with two albums in 2011 (Director’s Cut and 50 Words For Snow) and now this year a who-would-have-thought-it live residency at Hammersmith Odeon. The big question is will Kate ever perform live again? If it’s going to happen it certainly won’t be for a while, so in the meantime what is next for Kate? We examine the options…
Before The Dawn Blu-ray / DVD
Although no official announcement was made, many fans confirmed the presence of cameras in the Hammersmith venue around the middle of September. So it appears there is a definite intention to release Before The Dawn on DVD and blu-ray. It’s by no means guaranteed however. Let’s not forget that Kate is a perfectionist and won’t put out anything she considers to be substandard. Before The Dawn was an exhilarating and jaw-dropping experience watching it live, but if Kate doesn’t think it ‘works’ on the small screen there is no doubt at all that it won’t happen. Her 1979 Tour Of Life has never been issued on DVD and that was filmed (it was briefly issued on a VHS/CD set in the ’90s).
Let’s be positive and work on the assumption that Kate is happy with the footage and her performance. If that is the case then surely this is most likely to be the next Kate Bush product to be released. The entire audio should – just about – fit onto two-CDs, so a dream scenario would be a two-CD+Blu-ray combo set. It cannot be overstated how good the actual audio was. Even if you shut your eyes Before The Dawn is still massively rewarding, so we do hope CDs will be included. If she wanted to go all-out for a super deluxe edition the whole Before The Dawn concept lends itself well to ‘stuff’ to put in a box set. The Merch stands at the shows were selling lapel pins, key-rings, ‘Emergency Survival Kits’ (that contained badges, a whistle and other bits and bobs). They could well have lots of merchandise left over that could be sold as part of CD-DVD-Blu-ray ‘bundles’.
SDE Verdict: Likely to be released in Spring 2015.
New Studio Album
Anyone lucky enough to attend a Before The Dawn show will testify that Kate seemed invigorated, genuinely surprised and touched by the warm and positive reaction from the audience. Although it has been ‘only’ four years since 50 Words For Snow, Kate might be keen to either start work on a new record or continue to work on one that has she has already started. In the programme for Before The Dawn KB mentions that the idea to do some live shows came in Spring 2013. If we assume she has basically been full-time on planning the staging since then, that means she had just over a year after the release of 50 Words For Snow in which to write some new material. Although Kate doesn’t do much promotion these days, she still did release two albums in 2011 so there is a reasonable chance that 2012 wasn’t particularly productive. We know one thing she did, which was to record a new vocal for Running Up That Hill and remix the recording, for use in the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics (where despite rumours she didn’t perform live).
SDE Verdict: Expect in 2016. Possibly. Or three, four or six years after that.
As any Kate Bush fan will tell you, Ms Bush appears to be almost uniquely NOT interested in ‘cashing in’ on her back catalogue. There must have been requests from EMI during the ‘quiet years’ (or should that be the ‘Bertie years’?) between 1995 and 2005 to put out a new compilation or reissue something – anything! The only product that did slip out was a slightly underwhelming EMI 100 Centenary remaster of Hounds Of Love which came with six bonus tracks. So perhaps now is the time to step through the albums one-by-one and create 21st century deluxe editions. New remasters, bonus material collected for ‘companion’ discs, 5.1 mixes where appropriate (The Dreaming and Hounds Of Love to name by a couple) and perhaps Kate might be persuaded to dig out some demos?
SDE Verdict: A hard one. Perhaps a reissue series will kick off as part of a coordinated ‘marketing campaign’ which will start with a greatest hits next year (see below). So let’s say 2015-6.
Greatest Hits compilation
Since Kate’s one compilation was The Whole Story back in 1986 (and even that doesn’t contain the ‘proper’ version of Wuthering Heights!) there are rumours of a new Kate Bush collection every few years, it seems. One might have thought it would have happened this year with all the free publicity, but it seems not. We reported that it might happen in late 2012 which shows you shouldn’t always believe what we say. Kate might think she’s ticked the compilation ‘box’ by releasing Director’s Cut in 2011. Of course, that was more of a personal project for her, rather than ‘hey, my fans might like this’. We love Kate, but we doubt re-recordings of Red Shoes tracks were very high on many people’s KB ‘wants’ list at that time. But isn’t that the point. She does as she pleases. She was not interested in trotting out ‘the hits’ for her live shows, so why would she be interested in doing the same on compact disc?
SDE Verdict: For Christmas 2015.
Paul Sinclair was at the final performance of Before The Dawn last night. At a few points in the evening he had ‘something in his eye’.
What do you think Kate will do next? Leave a comment and let us know!