As there is no sign that there is ever likely to be an official DVD of Kate’s 1979 Tour, here is a You Tube recreation of the typical full length live show, put together by A Rose Growing Old using available video from contemporary TV broadcasts, audio recordings and stills:
You can find the other 24 parts of this wonderful reconstruction here:
Originally from HomeGround issue 64, a description of the shows:
Kate’s live show, song by song by Peter Fitzgerald-Morris
Twenty years on, many Kate fans only know Kate’s live show from the Hammersmith videotape, and from discussions we’ve had, it appears some fans think that the songs on the tape constitute the whole performance. In fact, the original shows were more than twice as long, and sadly most of the theatrical effects were lost in the video taping. This, therefore, for those who didn’t see it, is is a brief explanation of what actually took place in one of Kate’s shows.
The whale song begins, and projected onto a stage wide gauze curtain is a huge shadow of Kate moving gently to the rhythm of the music as she descends the ramp from the back of the stage. The curtain parts as Kate, dressed in an electric blue leotard snaked with silver sequin trails, begins to sing Moving. Kate dances alone to the song, and in the closing notes strides over to the piano to sing Saxophone Song whilst on the back of the stage appears a shadow projection of the saxophone player. As the final notes die away, the sound of a thundering heartbeat takes over, reflected in a pulsing red light. In the otherwise darkness, the piano is removed, and Gary and Stuart bring on stage the large oval box lined with red silk, from inside which Kate, now wearing a sequinned top over the blue leotard, begins Room for the Life. As Kate sings, Gary and Stuart roll the box, and Simon Drake appears, dressed up as Carmen Miranda, complete with fruit headdress. For the final chorus Kate emerges from the “womb” and joins in the dancing. As the song fades, Kate disappears behind the “womb”, and emerges in the old mac and trilby. Gary and Stuart roll the “womb” offstage. Kate begins Them Heavy People and sings and dances alone until the first chorus when she is joined from the wings by Gary and Stuart, similarly attired. At the end of the song, the band play a linking sequence. Whilst Kate dances with Gary and Stuart, she removes the mac, takes a glass of water, and dances over to the piano, and the music mutates into the intro for The Man With the Child in his Eyes. At the end of the song, the stage is blacked out, the piano removed, and when the band begin the intro, this first, funky version of Egypt. Gary and Stuart dressed in Egyptian costume start an animated dance, until Kate emerges down the ramp from the back of the stage, wearing an Arabic headdress and a red and gold wrap around skirt over the leotard. On the way down she dances in and out of the band and the lights find Paddy also decked out in Arabian clobber. At the end of the song the stage is blacked out, and the band begin the long intro into L’Amour Looks Something Like You. The lights return to reveal Kate in a black leotard and a red wrap around skirt, centre stage with a long pivoted mirror. As she sings the mirror pivots and Simon appears through it with his magical floating cane. Whilst Kate sings, Simon moves around the stage with the mysterious cane, and finally disappears back through the mirror. The stage darkens and the band start the long (it got longer through the Tour!) intro to Violin. The lights find Kate wrapped in the gauze curtain stage left, (still in the black leotard with the red skirt) from where she sings the first verse. When she emerges to centre stage we see now that she has the bat wings. She’s then menaced by the full size dancing violins, until they all end up in a heap centre stage. The stage darkens. For the first time the voice of John Carder Bush is heard in a spoken introduction which begins “Let the wasp rest for a moment on the down of your arm”, and ends in an eerie spoken duet with Kate “don’t let me see – two in one coffin!”. Meanwhile, the spot picks out Kate, still in black leotard and red wrap around, making her way cautiously from obstacle to obstacle across the stage to the piano where she begins The Kick Inside. At the final words of the final chorus a black figure drapes a veil over her head, the stage darkens, and the curtains close.
The curtains open to reveal Kate dressed in a long black dress with a lace top, and a long dark red wrap around skirt, sitting on the piano centre stage from where she sings In the Warm Room alone, simply picked out by the spot. For the British Tour and most of the European Tour, (but not at any of the Hammersmith dates where for some reason the song was omitted), Kate then moved down to sit at the piano for Fullhouse. At the end of the song the stage darkens, and the band begin the long intro (big costume change!) to Strange Phenomena. Finally the ramp lifts, and Gary and Stuart emerge dressed as space cadets, followed by Kate dressed as the magician in tailed jacket and crumpled top hat. They dance the routine as Kate does her prestidigitation stuff. With the end of the song proper, the ramp opens again and Gary and Stuart disappear back into the darkness. Simon emerges, with that cane again, for a long play out with tricks and illusion, and strobe light effects that batter the eye. Kate disappears whilst Simon is doing his stuff. He finally retreats up the ramp until he disappears behind a black cloth he holds up, it drops, and it is Kate standing there, in the long black dress and veiled hat. She runs terrified down the ramp to begin the mime to Hammer Horror. This was the only song in the performance Kate did not sing live, so that she could concentrate fully on the complicated dance routine, with the veiled black figure who haunts her. At the end the stage is plunged into darkness, and the band begin a strange oriental chant which dies away with the first notes of Kashka from Baghdad. Kate has reappeared now with a dark blue top wrapped around the black dress. She sings at the piano, and at the end the stage darkens. The roar of traffic noise is heard. The spots pick out Gary and Stuart, dressed in leather jackets, picking their way with torches around the street scene, complete with mesh iron fences. Another spot finds Kate stage centre, similarly dressed, behind one of the mesh fences. The band begin the intro to Don’t Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake. Kate and the dancers do a West Side Story type street dance. The stage darkens and the curtain drops.
The curtains part to find Kate in that purple dress, standing on the raised end of the ramp now doubling up as a pier. Gary and Stuart are below in the dry ice dressed from waist down as whirling dervishes. Kate sings Wow usually with the head mike so that she can use both hands, though there were sometimes technical problems, and Kate was stuck with the hand mike! The lights fade, and as the band play the intro to Coffee Homeground. Gary, Stuart and others mime demented stage hands setting up the poisoner’s cellar. As the music gets more raucous, Simon appears as the poisoner punctuating the musical phrases with thunderflashes. Gary and Stuart bring on two chairs, and then escort Kate (now dressed in a tweed jacket over the blue leotard) to centre stage. She sings from the chair as Simon mimes around her. In the chorus she gets up to examine the cellar, and dead bodies fall out of walls. The lights fade and the band begins a long intro into In Search of Peter Pan. John Carder Bush recites another spoken introduction. The spot picks out Kate, in leather jacket with silver and blue scarf over the blue leotard. She sings and dances alone until Simon appears with a dancing globe. The globe moves around Kate as the outro mutates into Trios Gynopodies, the intro to Symphony in Blue. Whilst others bring on the piano, Gary and Stuart dance with Kate, removing the scarf, giving her a glass of water. For the first time, but staying in time with the music, Kate waves to the crowd and blows a kiss, making her way to the piano. During the song blue skies with white clouds, or red hearts are alternately projected onto the piano lid and stage. At the outro the stage is invaded by party types who throw streamers over Kate and remove her leather jacket. Simon is now a party goer in formal dress, offering Kate a glass of champagne whilst his own glass floats in mid air. He moves in for the pickup, but Kate refuses and retreats to the piano, streamers still in her hair for Feel It. The stage darkens, someone whistles, then the sound of thunder. A strange character in a flying jacket walks across the stage, head buried in a glossy magazine. The wind picks up, and the band strike up the intro to Kite. The stage is projected with clouds, Gary and Stuart appear down the ramp, and then Kate in her blue leotard with wings. At the end of the dance Kate is blown off stage first, followed by Gary and Stuart. The band continue the outro as the character in the flying suit reprises his walk, now against a harsh wind, and loses the pages of his magazine over the stage. He disappears and the band begin the intro to James and the Cold Gun. Kate comes on from the wing, dressed in Wild West gear, and stows her shotgun backstage. That’ll be needed later! She dances alone, and with her six gun. In the extended play out, Gary and Stuart come on from the wings, dressed as gunslingers to challenge her, and are shot down; Paddy appears from the back of the stage and is shot too. Kate revels in the violence, retreating up the ramp, waving the shotgun as the play out ends and the curtain drops.
The curtain opens to Kate centre stage, wearing a flying jacket, with Gary and Stuart sitting nearby in flying suits. A parachute is draped across the stage. John Carder Bush recites an introduction with images of a Romantic England, and without moving from where she sits, Kate sings Oh England My Lionheart. The curtain drops again and after a decent interval opens to the intro to Wuthering Heights. The stage is covered in dry ice and draped in a purple haze. Trees and woods are projected on the back of the stage. At the second line of the intro Kate appears from out of the mist, dressed in purple leotard and ragged skirt; she is the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw. In the play out, as she retreats back up the ramp, she switches from the slow wave of the lost ghost, to the enthusiastic wave of the artist to the crowd, at last breaking character as the curtain drops and the music ends.
After a few moments, the hall is filled with a reprise of the Wuthering Heights outro, the curtain opens, and the band come running down the ramp in pairs to take a bow, the musicians, the backing singers, finally Gary and Stuart, and then Kate comes to take her bow, and throws the contents of a large bouquet of flowers over the audience, then takes the microphone to express her heartfelt appreciation.
A re-work of this tour show has been something I’ve argued for intensely over the years.. Although it’s now over 30 years old I still think there is a market for it… Just look the DVD release of the Led Zeppelin concerts from 1969!!…
All the Hammersmith shows were filmed in their entirety and the raw footage still exists including backstage footage… All of the soundtrack recordings exist also.. There is even a whole video recording made of just the band which we did during the second day… This was because the cameramen could not gain positions on the stage during the concerts to film us in close up.. So, we did a whole mime to playback run of the entire show to enable close-ups to be filmed… Alas, none of this footage was used..
As much as I hate to say this I do think that none of this footage will ever see the light of day… A shame but there you go!!..
Wow, Del. Thanks for that info. It all screams “Special Edition” DVD release to me, I can only imagine what creative editors could do with the raw footage, but I appreciate that you’ve tried your best to suggest it happens. I know that I have 12 years worth of emails to the site asking for the tour on DVD, there’s definitely BIG demand for it 🙂
What can I say about this?.. I’m as frustrated as you are about this whole thing believe me.. It’s not my intention to wave this information under your noses in order to satisfy some childish need to make you all see what you are missing.. I really have argued about making this stuff available.. Especially as it was our one and only concert tour… But, well, in the final analysis it’s Kate’s work, creation and production… She MUST be allowed the final say in this… She strongly feels that this stuff is now too old, technically deficient and unrepresentative of her and her work… I don’t like it but there it is… But I do still hold on to the hope that, one day, she’ll change her mind…
Weellll…she could always do a new tour and film that. 😉 I know it must be frustrating for you, Del, since you’re part of the work, too, but I respect Kate’s decision as well. It is, after all, her art. But do nudge her, EMI and all and sundry to get on that Whole Story 2012 project. lol
Thanks for that Del. Can only agree with Sean. Special edition DVD indeed. As others have commented, modern digital equipment may be able to overcome some of the problems of 1979 recordings.
Thanks so much for this recap of what sounds like an amazing experience. If anyone has further transcriptions of Paddy’s narrations, I would love to see those as well.
I so wish that this would be released on DVD. I wonder why it wont be? whose decision is it?
I used to have the Live at Hammersmith VHS but after years of damp old flats in the North of England my tape sort of gave up on me so Im now resorted to watching it on youtube which isnt the most enjoyable way to view such a wonderful piece of musical theatre.
I still hold that little piece of hope that one day we will get what we want, please, to the powers that be, have a good think and do it for the patient and very loyal fans
Many thanks to Del for filling in some of the gaps in all this. I do hope one day that some kind of DVD will be released, even if its The Whole Story 2012 or something with all the video clips. A Rose Growing Old is to be commended — and bought many drinks — for taking on such a history project such as this.
I’ve just watched and listened to ‘arosegrowingold’s reproduction of the ‘Tour Of Life’ shows. Wow (as someone once said). Just amazing. A true labour of love, it must have taken ages to do – a massive thank you for sharing this.
As for the show … been a Kate fan for over 30 years (man and boy !), there since the beginning, so how can I *still* be blown away by the songs, the music and Kate’s moves ? But, above all else, THAT VOICE !! Oh, please reconsider giving this a proper DVD release Kate … all of you made magic during those shows.
Wow (to coin a phrase).
I am so touched that all you real Kate Bush experts are promoting my amateurish reconstruction – and that Del Palmer (!!) has been watching – ulp! I’d have tried a bit harder had I known…
If you want to know why I did it – my mum died last year and in my despair, I turned my car stereo on the way home from the hospice.
‘A Coral Room’ immediately played.
I was completely devastated at the time, but Kate’s words and voice kept me going on that long, lonely drive. I resolved immediately to do what little I could to repay her by promoting her genius in whatever way I was able.
…..of course, if this also prompts Mr Palmer into nagging Miss Bush to release a DVD of the Tour, then I might even have done some good for the entire planet! And I’m not the only one doing this:
Thanks again HG
Yes I have indeed watched your entire reconstruction and, I have to say, I was so very impressed with it… So much of it works and those parts which are, lets say, more obscure your use of photographs worked beautifully.. I have argued and fought for a reworking of this material over the years and a couple of times have come very close to succeeding… Maybe sometime I’ll get to do it… Meantime I for one would congratulate you on your efforts… My best to you!!…
Blimey, I am completely bowled over by that comment.
To have someone who was there every night say that is extremely kind. Thank you, Del. Would you mind if I quoted your assessment on the playlist’s hosting page (www.arosegrowingold.co.uk)?
Of course if you have any images (or anything else) to fill in any of the gaps, I’d be delighted to update my playlist – after all, I just used what is in my own small music collection and the video and images I could find on-line. I do understand that this is an awkward issue, though.
Thanks once again for such a positive comment, and I am really sorry that so few pictures of the amazing band are included – oddly, all the photographers seem to have concentrated on someone else! (I am also eternally sorry that I was only 12 in 1979!)
Well, this makes it even more special … I looked forward all day yesterday to watching your tribute, ‘rose’, and it didn’t disappoint – you did an amazing job. Heartfelt thanks from me x
This possibility (regardless how faint) of seeing it in its entirety is simply mind blowing. Please let all of the fans know what we need to do to convince Kate to reconsider. It would be a crime to let this cultural treasure fade away, not just for the fans she has inspired in the last three decades, but music lovers for the decades, if not centuries, to come.
First I would like to thank Arosegrowingold for this wonderful contribution; lots of stuff I certainly never saw or heard earlier. And thanks Mr.Palmer for his honest remarks regarding an eventual release of the complete Tour of Life. This DVD would be very welcomed in Holland as well. Still, I can understand Mrs.Bush’s point from this moment in time.
It was the greatest show I missed! However, good to see its on Youtube. However, I could swear that I bought a CD/DVD release a few years back, or did I dream that…? I’ll have to trawl through the collection just to satisfy my mind now.
I think you’re thinking of a video / CD package from 1994, it only contained the edited show from the original VHS release.
I agree with everything that’s been said about the efforts and skill employed by arosegrowingold to bring “the” tour to “life”! He must be honoured by all the comments, but especially those from Del Palmer, who was part of the whole, sadly “one-off”, project. Bravo!
I’m also glad that “A Coral Room” brought him some comfort during those dark hours of the drive back from the hospice, and inspired him to get to work on this. I really didn’t realise when I sent him a video I’d made for “A Coral Room” of what significance it was to him.
Sadly, it doesn’t look like Ms Bush will sanction the DVD release (ever), so it looks like arosegrowingold’s painstaking work is probably the nearest we fans are ever going to get to the real thing. Thankyou, arosegrowingold!
Not a problem TC – I’m not the sort to share such things, but I thought I’d better explain why I’d done such a thing – I was just so touched that this little thing had brought so much enjoyment.
And your work ought to be celebrated on this site as well!