Before the Dawn (Kate Bush concert residency)

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Before the Dawn
Residency by Kate Bush
Promotional image of the tour programme, with text of its announcement
LocationLondon, England
VenueEventim Apollo Hammersmith
Start date26 August 2014
End date1 October 2014
No. of shows22
Kate Bush concert chronology

Before the Dawn was a concert residency by the English singer-songwriter Kate Bush in 2014 at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. The residency consisted of 22 dates, attended by almost 80,000 people. It was Bush's first series of live shows since The Tour of Life in 1979, which finished with three performances at the same venue. A live recording of the same name was released in physical and digital formats in November 2016.[1]

On 21 March 2014, Bush announced via her website her plans to perform live. Pre-sale tickets were on sale for fans who had signed up to her website and an additional seven dates were added to the original 15, due to the high demand. Tickets were on sale to the general public on 28 March and were sold out within 15 minutes.[2]

With the program, Bush won the Editor's Award at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards;[3] and was subsequently nominated for two Q Awards in 2014: Best Act in the World Today[4] and Best Live Act.[5]


Costumes from the tour on display

Before the Dawn was presented as a multi-media performance involving standard rock music performance, dancers, puppets, shadows, maskwork, conceptual staging, 3D animation and an illusionist. Bush spent three days in a flotation tank for filmed scenes that were played during the performance,[6] and featured dialogue written by novelist David Mitchell. Also involved with the production were Adrian Noble, former artistic director and chief executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company, costume designer Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting designer Mark Henderson and Italian Shadows Theatre company Controluce Teatro d'Ombre. The illusionist was Paul Kieve, the puppeteer Basil Twist, the movement director Sian Williams and the designer Dick Bird. The video and projection design was by Jon Driscoll.

The performance was centred on a band featuring the following musicians:[7]

and the following actors:

  • Albert McIntosh – chorus, Son, Painter
  • Jo Servi – chorus, Witchfinder
  • Bob Harms – chorus, Dad
  • Sandra Marvin – chorus
  • Jacqui DuBois – chorus
  • Ben Thompson – Lord of the Waves, Tesoro
  • Stuart Angell – Lord of the Waves, Painter's Apprentice
  • Christian Jenner – Blackbird Spirit
  • Sean Myatt, Richard Booth, Emily Cooper, Lane Paul Stewart, Charlotte Williams – Supporting actors

Bush's son, Albert McIntosh, who performed in the show as a backing vocalist and actor, was also credited as creative advisor.[8] Keyboard player Kevin McAlea is notable for also having played on Bush's previous tour "The Tour of Life" in 1979.

Parts of the show told stories based on two Bush song-suites – "The Ninth Wave" from Hounds of Love and "A Sky of Honey" from Aerial.

During "The Ninth Wave", Bush's character is lost at sea after her ship, the Celtic Deep, sinks. She fades in and out of consciousness, sometimes underwater and sometimes above, hoping to be rescued with only a flickering red light to make her seen in the darkness. She has an almost out-of-body experience, observing herself as though under ice, seeing her family without her, and imagining entering Earth's atmosphere until she is found; survival has given her a new appreciation of love and life. Then, in "A Sky of Honey", Bush portrays a bird-like woman observing the actions of a 19th-century painter and a wooden puppet.[8][9]


The exterior of the venue during the residency

The news of the residency prompted a surge of interest in Bush, with a number of music websites, radio stations and newspapers running the story, as well as causing Bush's own website to crash due to the high web traffic. Bush was said to be "completely overwhelmed by the response to the shows", adding she was "looking forward to seeing you all later this year".[10] In the week before the show's debut, The New York Times ran an article documenting Bush fans who were traveling from around the world to attend the show.[11]

The show received widespread critical acclaim. The Evening Standard gave the opening show five stars out of five, commenting: "[an] extraordinary mix of magical ideas, stunning visuals, attention to detail and remarkable music ... she was so obviously, so unambiguously brilliant, made last night something to tell the grandchildren about."[12] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian gave the show five stars out of five, calling the show "another remarkable achievement".[13] Following the first week of performances, eight of Bush's albums charted within the UK Top 40, making her the first female artist in history to ever achieve this, with The Whole Story at number six and Hounds of Love at number nine being the highest charting.[14]


Production credits[edit]

  • Before the Dawn – written by Kate Bush
  • Directed by – Kate Bush, Adrian Noble
  • Creative advisor – Albert McIntosh
  • Lighting designer – Mark Henderson
  • Set designer – Dick Bird
  • Projection designer – Jon Driscoll for Cinelumina
  • Creative consultant – Robert Allsopp
  • Costume designer – Brigitte Reiffenstuel
  • Movement direction – Sian Williams
  • Oceanic wave design – Basil Twist
  • Illusionist – Paul Kieve

Tour management[edit]

  • Tour director – David Taraskevics (David T)
  • Production director – Keely Myers
  • Assistant to tour director – George Sinclair

Show production[edit]

  • Production manager – Simon Marlow
  • Production coordinator – Georgie King
  • Technical stage manager – Richard "Wez" Wearing
  • Stage manager – Dan Shipton
  • Show caller – Sharon Hobden
  • Head of wardrobe – Natasha DeSampayo
  • Wardrobe assistant – Kerry Harris
  • Production runner – Dom Dryburgh

Sound credits[edit]

  • Sound designer / FOH engineer – Greg Walsh
  • Monitor engineer – Ian Newton
  • Kate vocal navigator – Stephen W. Tayler
  • FOH sound engineer / systems engineer – Davide Lombardi
  • Stage tech – Baz Tymms
  • Surround systems engineer – Davey Williamson
  • Sounds FX consultant – James Drew
  • Record archive – Ian Sylvester
  • Record supervisor – Jim Jones

Backline credits[edit]

  • Guitar and bass technician – Chris Lawson
  • Keyboard (and guitar) technician – Morten "Turbo" Thobro
  • Drums and percussion technician – Steve Gray

Set list[edit]

The set list[15] comprised most of Hounds of Love featuring the entire The Ninth Wave suite, most of Aerial including the entire A Sky of Honey suite, two songs from The Red Shoes, and one song from 50 Words for Snow. Bush's first four albums and The Sensual World were excluded from the set list, though a recording of "Never Be Mine" (supposedly from initial rehearsals) is included on the CD and LP releases.[16]

All tracks were performed live for the first time, except "Running Up That Hill", which had been already performed live in 1987 with David Gilmour of Pink Floyd at the Secret Policeman's Third Ball.

Act One

  1. "Lily"
  2. "Hounds of Love"
  3. "Joanni"
  4. "Top of the City"
  5. "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God) (Extended)
  6. "King of the Mountain" (Extended)

The Ninth Wave

  1. Video Interlude – "And Dream of Sheep"
  2. "Under Ice"
  3. "Waking the Witch"
  4. "Watching You Without Me"
  5. "Jig of Life"
  6. "Hello Earth"
  7. "The Morning Fog"

Act Two
A Sky of Honey

  1. "Prelude"
  2. "Prologue" (extended)
  3. "An Architect's Dream"
  4. "The Painter's Link"
  5. "Sunset"
  6. "Aerial Tal"
  7. "Somewhere in Between" (extended)
  8. "Tawny Moon" (performed by Albert McIntosh)
  9. "Nocturn" (extended)
  10. "Aerial"


  1. "Among Angels"
  2. "Cloudbusting"

Show dates[edit]

  • 26 August 2014
  • 27 August 2014
  • 29 August 2014
  • 30 August 2014
  • 2 September 2014
  • 3 September 2014
  • 5 September 2014
  • 6 September 2014
  • 9 September 2014
  • 10 September 2014
  • 12 September 2014
  • 13 September 2014
  • 16 September 2014
  • 17 September 2014
  • 19 September 2014
  • 20 September 2014
  • 23 September 2014
  • 24 September 2014
  • 26 September 2014
  • 27 September 2014
  • 30 September 2014
  • 1 October 2014


  1. ^ "Kate to release the live album "Before the Dawn"". 29 September 2016.
  2. ^ Keith Perry. "Stampede as Kate Bush tickets sell out in 15 minutes". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Stars honoured at 2014 London Evening Standard Theatre Awards". Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Vote now for Q Best Act In The World Today presented by Buster + Punch – Q Awards 2014 – Q MagazineQ Magazine". Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Vote for Q Best Live Act presented by The Cavern Club – Q Awards 2014 – Q MagazineQ Magazine". Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  6. ^ Watts, Halina (23 June 2014). "Kate Bush spent THREE days underwater in a flotation tank to create special effects for live shows". mirror. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  7. ^ Bush, Kate (2014). The K Fellowship Presents Before the Dawn (official concert programme).
  8. ^ a b Ben Ratliff. "Kate Bush Returns to the Stage, and Her Fans Are There to Welcome Her". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  9. ^ Dan Stubbs. "Kate Bush hails return to stage 'a great adventure' as ultra-theatrical show launches in London". NME. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Kate Bush tickets sell out in under fifteen minutes". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  11. ^ Melena Ryzik. "An Encore 35 Years in the Making". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  12. ^ JOHN AIZLEWOOD. "Kate Bush: Before the Dawn, Hammersmith Apollo – review: Kate Bush was so obviously, so unambiguously brilliant". Evening Standard. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  13. ^ Alex Petridis. "Kate Bush: Before the Dawn review – a lithe grace and note-perfect vocals". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  14. ^ Grow, Kory (2 September 2014). "Kate Bush Lands Eight Albums on British Chart Following Comeback Shows". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  15. ^ Alex Young. "Kate Bush's first concert in 35 years: setlist + photos". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  16. ^ Tim Masters. "Kate Bush comeback greeted with huge cheers". BBC. Retrieved 26 August 2014.