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    Tags: Dreaming_of_Kate, Epstein_Theatre

    Review: Dreaming of Kate

    Generations of Kate Bush fans have longed to see this great musician live. Yet, apart from the lucky few who caught her 1979 tour, or her more recent sold out 22-night slot at the Hammersmith Apollo, not many of her diehard fans can say that they've actually seen her perform.

     

    Dreaming of Kate showcases Bush's seminal back catalogue in the visual, absorbing style that it was written to be performed in. Led by the beautiful Maaike Breijman, (an absolute dead-ringer for Bush in her impish Lionheart days), the band open with the atmospheric 'Wow', as Maaike (now Kate) spins airily around the stage. By the third track, 'Babooshka', the band were in full flow. Each song was given its unique identity in the aesthetic way we'd hope from a Kate Bush show, with changes in lighting reflecting new moods and continuous costume changes depicting Bush's many characters.

     

    Vintage stage favourites like 'Hammer Horror' and 'the Wedding List' were acted out terrifically, with constant mini-dramas elevating this above most tribute band experiences. That's exactly what Bush's music connotes - experience, rather than mere listening. When she strolled onstage to the uplifting opening chords of 'Cloudbusting', in dungarees and a cardigan, the whole audience were beaming; all simultaneously reminded of that peculiar music video.

     

    The music never once sounded like a backing track, as we might expect from compositions as musically dense as this. Instead it had that crucial feeling of liveness, which was so essential in evoking Bush's spontaneous yet rehearsed style. The band were at times even interpretive of the work, adding subtle inflections to their singing and playing to ensure we weren't just hearing Kate Bush on record.


    It must have been extraordinarily difficult to rehearse this show, both in terms of choreography and arrangement. Perhaps like the Beatles, Bush was drawn more towards the studio and away from touring because it allowed her to experiment. Dreaming of Kate managed to recreate some of Bush's most experimental pieces that we perhaps wouldn't expect to see live, such as 'Sat In Your Lap', which they played through with manic intensity. Musically-trained Maaike, and the incredible backing singer, additionally managed to hit all of those challenging notes with ease.

     

    The setlist was welcomingly unpredictable and included some of Bush's lesser heard album cuts ('the Strange Phenomena', for example), which made it feel like a celebration of her entire discography rather than a collection of her biggest hits (which were also included, of course).

     

    For the encore, the stage was decorated to look festive and Maaike ran through the crowd, handing out Christmas cards to 'December Will Be Magic Again'. This brought more smiles from the audience, who all stood for a rousing version of 'the Big Sky', which closed the show. I left the Epstein theatre happily singing the songs to myself, dreaming of Kate.


    By Sean Kaluarachchi

     

    Photographs (C) Oliver Donovan

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