If you hadn't heard, Kate Bush is touring...
Savage Garden's Darren Hayes tells us why he'd fly to the moon and back to see Kate in concert...
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Starting this Tuesday (26th August), the Woman in Red Shoes is making a massive return at the Hammersmith Apollo.
Our old friend Darren Hayes, arguably the best half of Savage Garden, has written this personal, heartfelt piece about why he'd fly to the moon and back to see Kate Bush live in concert...
“In September this year I’m flying to London from our new home in Los Angeles for one purpose only: to see Kate Bush in concert. It’s a moment I never thought would happen in my lifetime and even as I write this I still can’t quite believe it’s a reality.
I think myself incredibly lucky I grew up in an era where I saw Michael Jackson live in his prime and at a time when geniuses like Prince and pioneers like Madonna were within my grasp. Yet Kate Bush has inspired me from the most loving distance only.
I was six-years-old and living in Australia blissfully unaware of music when Kate last played a live concert. By the time I could understand who this wonderfully mad and enticingly magical Elvin creature on my telly was, she had all but retired from public appearances.
As Kate retreated from public life, she lovingly poured over her music and after what seemed like achingly long periods, every now and then a new album would appear. Her body of work has become a benchmark I use to evaluate my own purpose and meaning as an artist.
I find myself defending my own slow progress writing music by pointing out her stunning album Aerial took precisely 12 years to emerge. From a void of nothingness this album appeared over a decade after The Red Shoes. And it was so worth it.
After Aerial I assumed it might take another age before Kate made another album when she suddenly entered in to a phase of extreme productivity. In the subsequent years she outdid Beyoncé with her stealth release of Director’s Cut – an extraordinary sonic reinvention of her past catalogue that came literally without warning, then a Christmas album. Now this year, she’s touring. KATE BUSH IS TOURING!?
I am thrilled I have this opportunity to see my muse on stage where I truly feel she belongs. At the time, I feel slightly bittersweet about it.
In a world where celebrity has become more valued than talent, Kate’s supposed reclusiveness set her apart from the desperation of fame. I loved that she has carved out a career that is commercially successful and artistically untouched.
Yet I find myself equal parts thrilled and slightly guilty I’ll witness an acquiescent return to the pit of public scrutiny. In some ways ‘doing a Kate Bush’ is what many artists have aspired to: art on your own terms.
Perhaps this is how she defines her decision to tour in 2014. In fact, I know so.
To understand my fascination with Kate, I need only point you to an album I made which was a not so cleverly disguised lovingly inspired response of sorts, to Hounds of Love. I made my double album This Delicate Thing We’ve Made with the same model Fairlight Synthesizer Kate used on her revolutionary album from 1984. I bought it on eBay for £3000, yet back in the day this instrument cost as much as a house.
I liked to imagine the ghost of Kate was in that machine. When I made the record, it was a crazy decision. No one was making concept albums; no one wanted a double record and who the hell was the guy from Savage Garden to warble on about traveling back in time? But that’s precisely what it felt like.
Back to a time when albums were a life’s work. Back to making decisions about art, purely about art.
When I met my Husband Richard, it was a lyric of Kate’s that bonded us. We both excitedly blurted out the same song lyric to each other and instantly knew we understood each other. Like my love of Star Wars or dogs, if you don’t understand my obsession with Kate Bush, we probably won’t get along.
My husband knew the words to the most obscure Kate Bush song. He was a keeper.
When the announcement came out of the blue, I didn’t think twice about purchasing plane tickets for Kate’s shows. I knew in that instant this was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. Who knows if Kate will ever grace the stage again?
Conversely maybe this is the beginning of a new phase of connecting more with the outside world? I don’t know, but I do know it’s a seminal moment in pop culture and I’m again marvelling at the luck of being alive to witness it.
It’s funny to wonder what might have prompted Kate’s desire to return to the very scene of her last performance. Much has been written about Kate’s experience of touring but one thing can’t be misunderstood: after performing at the Hammersmith Odeon in May 1979 Kate quietly decided not to do it again for 35 years. This act alone has made her a modern day enigma.
Kate’s own defense of her absence is shockingly understandable. She wanted a life and she wanted to raise her son. I love this quote from her from 2005:
“A lot of people refer to me as a recluse, which I’m not. But I do like to try and live as normal a life as possible,” she said.
“Sometimes it’s very frustrating that I’m portrayed in such a strange way, when people who go on television and eat live insects and spend three weeks up a tree with a camera stuck up their nose are considered normal.
“I’m sorry, but from where I sit, I’m the normal person.”
When you listen to Director’s Cut – I think we might be witness to the seed of her desire to return to the stage and perhaps what she might have been getting up to all of these years. I got into a massive argument with a friend who didn’t like Kate’s reinterpretations of her classics on that album. I defended it fiercely because I could see this was an artist who had never experienced the evolution of doing her material live.
When you tour your music, your songs evolve, change and grow throughout the years. If you listen to This Woman’s Work for example, it’s a completely different song on Director’s Cut. It’s almost like the version she might have come to after 35 years of doing it over and over again on stage.
From an artist who had never toured the song, it makes complete sense to me in its current form.
I have no idea what Kate will do on stage later this year. She could stand there with a nose flute for all I care. True to form and in keeping with all of her artistic decisions she has more than earned the right to do whatever the hell she wants. I’m just glad we get to witness it on her terms.
For more information on Kate Bush, visit katebush.com, @katebushmusic. For more information on Darren Hayes, visit darrenhayes.com, @DarrenHayes.
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