Kate Bush is Touring Again. But Why Now?

Bush has always refused to boilwash those linens and return to the stage.

21 March 2014, 2:19pm

Good morning! Want some good news? Kate Bush is going on a 15-date tour, her first in 35 years. Unfortunately the shows are all in the UK, but you know, THIRTY FIVE YEARS and no live shows. If you're a true fan, fork out buddy. Going by her track record, after this, she probably won't tour ever again.

Bush has so far weathered 21st century reunion mania. Despite drunk late-night calls from Bob Geldof and Glastonbury organizer Michael Eavis to perform at various charity events, state occassions, and anniversary jamborees, Bush has always refused to boilwash those linens and return to the stage.

A Kate Bush show, though, could never just be three songs in at some overpriced one day festival sandwiched between Razorlight and Brian May. A combination of dance, art, theatre and Bush's trademark mime, her 1979 Tour Of Life tour had the production of a Broadway musical. Although it was Bush's only tour, it's widely seen as one of the high watermarks of live performance:

The show was 24 songs long and featured 17 costume changes. Bush performed from a giant animatronic egg that was intended to represent the womb (remind you of anyone?). It was revolutionary in the live music industry. The headset stage microphone, which has since been used by everyone from Britney Spears to your SoulCycle instructor, was also invented by Bush so she could take part in the elaborate staging while still jumping octaves (her version involved blu-tack and a coat hanger). Basically this was the tour to end all tours, it made Watch The Throne look like a 5th grade talent show.

After the tour played to venues around Europe, the actors, dancers and band members expected a big US jaunt. They were basically selling their apartments and dumping their boyfriends when Bush told them she wouldn't be touring again for a while. For a while became 35 years.

Why she stopped touring was never made clear. Many believe the tour was simply too exhausting for her to handle. Those who worked with Bush recall seeing her exhausted after each show. She also hated flying, and living your life in a hotel room/plane seat/dressing room prison didn't seem to appeal.

Others believe her unease about live performance grew after her 21-year-old lighting director Bill Duffield fell to his death in an accident at a warm-up show in Plymouth. Bush was distraught and contemplated cancelling the tour. In the end the first night became a fundraiser for his family, but many believe that the accident dented her desire to hit the road again.

So why now, on the 21st March 2014, has Kate decided to return. Well we've had a quick look at her pros and cons list and it basically comes down to this:

We're not saying that Kate Bush decided to tour again because Taylor Swift set the precedent for announcing a UK tour which consisted of five nights at the O2 London. But it does help that modern pop has an unhealthy disregard for the rest of the UK, meaning Bush can announce her comeback tour will be taking place over 15 nights at one venue, the Hammersmith Apollo, where her final 79 shows took place. Compare this to her last tour where Bush was expected to play places as unglamourous as Poole and Southampton. Playing in one venue means that Bush's issues with travel are dealt with. She's also given herself a day of rest between most of the shows, which should mean a less gruelling schedule.

Bush has released seven albums since her last tour and—bar the very occasional TV performane—most of them have never been performed live. As an artist for whom performance is basically what they do, it's pretty odd to have such a lengthy unperformed back catalogue. Bush's last release, 2011's 50 Words For Snow, seems like the straw that broke the camel's back, with Bush hinting in an interview that the album has given her a never say never attitude to touring.

Let's be honest, Kate's tax return for next year is gonna be looking a little meatier than normal. The 15 dates themselves, if there's going to be the big production everyone's expecting, probably won't make that much. UPDATE: someone from a live music company just emailed me to say the 15 dates themselves will make an absoloute shitload, but the resulting live DVD, TV rights and quite possibly simulcast cinema screenings... Who needs a reformed pension annuities market when you've got a couple of milli from 15 nights work, AMIRITE?

Kate has previously said that she couldn't see how touring would work with her current lifestyle, and that she was focusing on raising her son, Bertie. But now he's 15 and she doesn't have to shell out for a babysitter, it may be more attractive to return to live performance.

Anyway, good luck getting tickets. I won't be needing one, I'm just going to hide out in the men's toilet stall from the Micky Flanagan show the night before.

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