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Reviews of Before the Dawn

10377637_4532352282887_1805158293836365733_nHoly s***. The Kate Bush show is reinventing the pop concert…laughing, crying and wondering what the hell is gonna happen next.” – BBC Radio 6 Presenter Rob da Bank.

We’ll gather the reviews of Kate’s live show here.

Daily Telegraph picture gallery.

Rod McKie’s definitive review.

The Guardian (Alex Patridis and Nick Grimshaw) … Daily Telegraph (Bernadette McNulty) and also on audio and more and moreThe Irish Times (Sinead Gleeson) … Mirror (Gavin Martin and Katy Forrester) … BBC (Gemma Arterton and Anna Calvi) … BBC (Tim Masters) … Daily Express (Simon Gage) … Daily Star (James Cabooter) … ITV (Neil Connery) … Daily Mail (Jan Moir) … The Independent (Andy Gill) … The Times (Will Hodgkinson) and Times Saturday Magazine (Caitlin Moran) … NME  okay – we forgive you for 1979! (Lucy Jones) and also Emily McKayNew York Times (Ben Ratliff) … London Standard (John Aizlewood) … Spectator (James Walton) and comment from John-Paul Marney … Uncut (Anon and then John Mulvey) … Time Out (Andrzej Lukowski) … Mojo (staff) and second night (Jenny Bully) …. Gay Times (Mikey Walsh) … Channel 4 (Anon) … Billboard (Richard Smirke) … Rolling Stone (Mark Sutherland) … Drowned in Sound (Alan Pedder) … Pitchfork (Jude Rogers) … The Quietus (Simon Price) … Financial Times (Ludovic Hunter-Tilney) … Digital Spy (Kate Goodacre) … Louder than War (Dave Jennings and Martin Unsworth) … Hot Press (Hannah Hamilton) … Irish Independent (Bernadette McNulty) … Metro (Anon) … Magnet (Cory du Browa) … The Arts Desk (Russ Coffey) … Prog (Chris Roberts) … Back Seat Mafia (Nickety) … Sunday Express (Charlotte Heathcote) … The Observer (Kitty Empire) … Get to the Front (David Dunn) … PanCakePictures (Fiona Smith) … Huffington Post (Karen Ruimy) and then Victoria SadlerHidden Tracks (Pete Paphides) … The Trio of Oz (Rachel Z) … National Post (Mike Doherty) … GScene (Criag Hanlon-Smith) … Specs (Adrian) … Beige (Collin Kelley) … Clash (Anna Wilson) … Even the Stars (Deborah Walker) … Chris RogersSo So Gay (Jon B) … Gloucestershire Echo (Giulia Crouch) … Plastic Bag (Owen and again) … Coffee-Table Notes (Neil Cooper) … The Woman’s Room (Jane) … The Plashing Vole (Anon) … Candy Pop (Natasha) … The Age (Bernard Zuel) … Lilly in the Labyrinth (Lilly) … Chris n that (Chrisv) … Pedlar’s World (Charlie) … The Monitors (Eamon Murtagh) … Toronto Star (John Sakomoto) … Disorder (Kate Allen) … Melodee Writes (Melanie Hayden-Williams) … Daily Star (Nicole Morley) … Echoes and Dust (Dave Cooper) … The 405 (Robert Whitfield) … Rick Wakeman’s Cape (Wizard of Ooze) … PJ Media (Clay Waters) … John Guy CollickLiverpool Sound and Vision (Donna Lesley Price) … Freq (David Solomons) … (Nick Bond) … GigSlutz (Rosie James) … Mr. Haircare (ditto) … Martin BeamChoirBoyMotel (John Forde) … The Examiner (Gillian Gaar) … Gigwise (Andrew Trendell) … The Skinny (Dave Kerr) … Retrocosm (Charles Heady) … Rants of a Bitter Northerner (Helen Richards and again and again and again ) … Put the Kettle on (Mark) … Moving Brands (Phillip Browning) … Minibreak Mummy (Ruth Jenkins) … The Art of Jane Tomlinson (the same) … NotAllWomenAreTheSame (Sue Sherman) … The Morning after the Deluge (Sasha Loske) … Tunnels of Green (Maree) … The Music Chronicles (Stratos Bacalis) … Louder than War (Youth) … All That’s Left (George East) … North Devon Journal (Anita Butler) … Lesley Anne JonesEQView (Roy Ward) … Bloggertropolis (Steve) … Diary Von DavidlyYahoo Music (Lyndsey Parker) … My Bloggywog (Lealoo) … Greenwich Catholic (Tamas) … Strange Times (Dave West) … Waking Life has Blurred the Lines (Casey Stratton) … Liisa LadouceurFrom Beer to Eternity (Paul) …

Through the Wire (Justin Holford) … Dyverse Music (Mike Butler) … The Figure Ground (Alex Dale) … You Tube (Hitler) …. Spiked (Alex Dale) … The Big Issue (original version by Rachel Johnson and reply by Suzanne Barbieri and incomplete “apology” by Johnson) … Brussels Bronte Blog (Marina Saegerman) … The Afterword (Poppy Suceeds) … A West End Whinger (Phil) … London Live (Alistair Foster) … Tiny Camels (Jonathan Gibbs) …

Collections of reviews: GuardianBBCDaily ExpressGigwiseAgendaWashington PostHollywood ReporterHuffington PostITVMetroLos Angeles TimesThe Wild Reed (Urs Arnold) … Volkskrant (Gijsbert Kamer) … Musik Express (staff) … FranceTV (staff) … Lust for Life (Peter Douma) …

It’s quite stunning, undoubtedly the most ambitious, and genuinely moving, piece of theatrical pop ever seen on a British stage. Which is just what everyone here tonight was hoping for. Andy Gill

Everyone’s calling it a triumph. Everyone’s right. The unconscionably influential Kate Bush could have blown her mystique by returning to the spotlight in such a no-prisoners manner, but from the first minute she is in her element. The prog event of the year. The musical event of the year. The event of the year. Just don’t expect three chords and the mundane truth. Or Wuthering Heights. I put this moment here Chris Roberts

In A Sea of Honey’s long day, nothing particularly remarkable happens, just as nothing really remarkable happens in Ulysses. The sun comes up, and “the sky is filled with birds”, and the Moon rises, and the protagonists swim in the sea, at night. But some people are just more alive than others, all eyes and mouth, and overloading senses – and that’s what Joyce was, and that’s what Kate Bush is. They appear in your life to remind you that to watch a sunrise is to watch a burning star, and that pollen is sperm, and summer is fleeting, and everything on Earth is so unlikely – so improbable – that we might as well live somewhere where Kate Bush can end a concert by turning into a one-winged bird and flying out into the auditorium …Caitlin Moran


Kate sets new UK chart record


Kate nominated for two Q Magazine Awards!


  1. Paige

    Thank you for all the links!! Wish I could be there…instead I will fall, happily, into the Land of Spoilers!! For those going, enjoy…enjoy!

  2. Michelle

    There better be a DVD release of this!!!

  3. Darren Sumner

    WARNING to all Kate mega fans wanting merchandise. Get there early, I queued for over an hour to get served, people were getting nasty and pushing in trying to get served. There are two main merchandise stands. one as you go in and the other one is upstairs at the back of the room. dont make the mistake i did, they are displaying Kate merchandise at one of the bars, i queued there only to be told they don’t sell them there!!!!!!!!! Enjoy the show, it’s AMAZING.

    • Andre

      OR you can just wait and buy the stuff AFTER the concert, when most of the people already got their T-Shirts and stuff. Don’t panic, folks, there’s enough stuff for everyone! 😉

      • James

        There really isn’t. Was there on opening night and came away with none of the merchandise we queued for twice.

  4. Sean M

    I appreciate that some fans with tickets prefer not knowing what’s in store…

    … but some of us would LOVE if Katebushnews recorded the Set List for these concerts. It’s possible that different songs will be performed each night.

    From the opening concert, there was much confusion about the setlist – a ‘fake’ list appeared on and got reported by the Guardian live blog, as a result of which it has featured prominently on other music news sources (last time I checked, Pitchfork website used this set list, even though they had sent a critic to the show)

    What appears to be the correct set list appeared later yesterday evening, but still there was some confusion, because NME reported that ‘Never be mine’ was performed among the early songs…

    Perhaps Katebushnews could somehow co-ordinate submission of the setlists from fans who attend? I’ll be there in three weeks time, will happily contribute 😀

    • At the moment, we know that the set list for the first two nights replicated the setlist at the final dress rehearsal/preview on Sunday.

      • Sean M

        Thanks for replying Peter

        Your remark about the setlist at the final dress rehearsal/preview on Sunday is very interesting. I read a comment, written on another website, mentioning that she performed a much-loved song which hasn’t featured on the set list.

        Obviously any true fan will be overjoyed with whatever gems feature on the night… just torturing myself, wanting to know about what other songs feature on the nights I’m not there!

        • Hello Sean – was at the Preview, but not at the first or second night, but so far as we understand the sets have so far been identical. Which is not to say the rest will be.

    • Benjamin

      Hi, Sean M.
      This link to Wikipedia has the set list as it was (at least) on opening night.

      I flew from Atlanta, Georgia, USA for this concert, after getting up at 4am the day tickets went on sale and banging at the computer for an hour and a half before I got through. I still can’t believe I was there opening night and in the center section, second row. Kate looks beautiful and sounds beautiful and it was all so incredible. Another poster mentions what it must have been like to be surrounded by Kate Bush fans. It was incredible. The energy in the theatre was electric and magical and so positive and happy. I’m still in semi-shock a week later, although that could be jet-lag from such a fast turnaround trip! I really hope they release a DVD because there was so much to see that I think I felt a bit of sensory overload and I’d love to see the show several times. Be prepared to be completely transported to another world for three hours. This show was worth every penny.

  5. Gary Alexander

    I saw the show last night: Incredible!!!!!

    I managed to avoid most reviews and i’m so glad.. it was not was I was expecting but WOW, WOW, WOW UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

    From the opening Lily to the last bar of Cloudbusting it was AMAZING!!!!

    And how many standing ovations can one woman get!!!!

    At one point I was in tears and I am so glad that everyone adhered the request about phones and I-Pads….

    Now I can start to look forward to next Tuesday…

    Please release this on DVD and CD

  6. giulio

    I also was at the 27th August show!!!
    I still can’t believe what I saw and what Kate was able to achieve!!!
    A show full of love, art, music, theatre, cinema bits….
    ‘And Dream Of Sheep’ was the end of the world!
    She also sang the ‘Aerial Tal’ birdsong and I was in a state of shock!!! Brilliant!!!!
    The whole show is a must see and hear.
    I do hope there will be a DVD release + a CD live release because everybody
    (not only us, who could see the show with our very eyes) should have the
    chance to enjoy such a wonder in sound and vision.

    Thank you Kate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Jamie Johnson

    A DVD release of these concerts would be so nice. And for people like me in middle-America where there aren’t large concentrated numbers of Kate fans, I would love it if that DVD included footage of the crowds gathered before and after the concerts.

  8. i really wish when she said “this is only the beginning” she would surprise all of us and start a worldwide tour next year *_* sold-out concerts guarantee, since she has lots of new young fans after 35 years…so that would make these uk concerts a big rehearsal for her ultimate comeback <3

  9. neil

    Cant beleive some criticising the lack of singles featured.They are clearly not true Kate fans as its always been albums that have been Kates first love and to see her perform stuff shes hasnt done before is what makes it exciting.It’s a sign that she is always moving forward that she does have to go over old ground and a testiment to the quality of her albums and timlessness that she is able to perform whole sides of albums that are not even current.

  10. Jamie Johnson

    Those of us who will never experience the concert will be able to fill in some of the blanks of the show itself, from reading the wonderful reviews to hopefully watching the DVD when it is comes out. But the one thing we will never experience is the feeling of being surrounded by Kate fans who are buzzing with excitement. If anyone has footage of the crowds gathered before and after, please, please post them somewhere. Please be sympathetic towards those of us who will never know what you know!

  11. Barbara

    Simmy Richman in the Independent on Sunday had a limerick about WH not being performed at the show!

  12. neil

    According to the unimpressed mail on Sunday the second half was all about a painter…..o please pay attention if you are going to criticise.

  13. Eric

    The headline in de Volkskrant says:
    ‘Comeback Kate Bush is not perfect but at times utterly beautiful’.

  14. Gary Alexander

    Saw the show again last night and although I was up in the circle; 2nd row from the back I had a fabulous time. In fact Cloudbusting was even better as everyone was singing the chorus and when she flew off the stage it was even better as I had a better view…

    I was sitting behind 3 people who had flew in from Seattle, Washington and they were awestruck….

    I also spoke to two people outside who had flown in for the the whole month just to sit outside in the hope of getting a ticket.. if you are reading this I hope you managed to get in….

    Once again no IPADs etc came out… to the person who sat beside me..thank you for getting me some confetti… and then on the train home someone else gave me another one… so thanks to them as well…

    to anyone that is reading this and still not been you are in for a brilliant time… now I am sitting here tired thinking.. should I try to get a ticket for the last show.. or would that be being greedy…..

    If Kate ever reads this forum please release it on DVD.. it will have to be the whole show and therefore a double DVD and triple CD but could you imagine Christmas morning waking up and finding that in your stocking!!!!!

  15. THE FIRST LADY OF PROG IS BACK!!!!! From what I’ve read of the reviews and after seeing the photos, KATE BUSH: BEFORE THE DAWN is a HIT!!!! Although I couldn’t be there, I’m very, very proud of her and the decision she made to put on this concert production. Also, I’m very happy that the fans enjoyed her show!!

  16. Simon

    To anyone who was at the actual show(s):

    Have you seen any “official” cameras/cameraman around filming the show? That would been a good first indication wether there will be a future DVD/BluRay release… or not!


  17. Beverly Morrison

    I was not fortunate enough to get KB tickets as i reside in Canada… but I was at the Tour of Life concert in 79 and she was amazing … and like the saying goes…some things get better with age…which I am sure is the same with Kate… she is an amazing songtress and amazing entertainer. So yes a video would be wonderful and/or CD for those of us who couldnt get there…. Long live Kate Bush……

  18. davie

    We saw the show on Friday. I WAS COMPLTELY BLOWN AWAY. FANTASTIC.

    What I felt was that Kate was completely comfortable with herself, her music, her stunning voice and with the audience. She seemed so relaxed and happy.
    Also, when we left people were hanging around and chatting to one another, lovely! .

    Can’t wait for this coming Friday. Kate, we are on the third row of the circle. We won’t be there the following weekend because we are getting married. Fab September 🙂

  19. Due to circumtances, such as I cannot afford, ticket,travel and accomodation together, plus illness, I can’t attend any of Kate’s concerts. So a Dvd would be fantastic, I feel as sick as a parrot I can’t see her. I have loved her music for so long.

  20. Aaron

    Hi everyone, has been utterly great to be reading about the concerts and hearing everyones impressions. I tried to get tickets, but failed… still so happy that many old and new fans are getting to see Kate perform live! Amazing times indeed! I have heard from a reliable source that a large and significant filming crew have been seen at at least one concert. (and this was told to us by someone who works in film production, and knows what she’s talking about when she sees it…) hopefully this is a sing that the production is being filmed f0r release. fingers crossed.

  21. Steve

    Just got back home (Newcastle) having spent the last six days in Hammersmith. It cost me an absolute fortune but it was worth every penny. A wonderful, magical show, Kate was note perfect and her voice was so powerful, some of her vocal were better than the record version – the new vocals for And Dream of Sheep (recorded in a huge water tank in a state of mild hypothermia) are especially good, her obviously distressed breathing between each line really enhances the meaning of the song. I hope we get an official release of the video for this song.

    In anticipating the shows I expected a great vocal performance, great band and great stagecraft, but what I didn’t expect was how great Kate’s dancing would be. Granted she’s not turning cartwheels a la Wuthering Heights, but now her style is almost oriental, she puts worlds of meaning into a graceful head inclination or beautiful movement of her hands. The black costume she wears really makes her head and hand movements stand out.

    Sorry for rambling on but as I said I’ve just returned home desperate to share my experience of seeing Kate Bush and none of my friends are particularly interested so I’m getting it all off my chest here. Those of you still to see the show have a magical experience to look forward to. And those of you who can’t get to the show I offer this possible crumb of comfort – Kate was so obviously enjoying herself she may decide to repeat the experience, perhaps take it on the road this time…….you never know.

  22. Sensual World

    I had the pleasure to see this magnificent woman last night. I was exhausted by the end. It was an assault on all my senses and I loved it. She was incredible to watch as she led us by the hand through a world that we do not know but would all love to reside in. I just wish she had covered some of her 70s classics but alas not enough time. Simply exquisite. X

  23. Nic

    It’s difficult to articulate how I felt and what it means to have seen this show….

    What a beautiful, immersive and moving experience. To see Kate’s life’s work fully realised was such a privilege and deeply affecting. It feels so dull to have to go back to real life.

    I want to live in that ‘lovely afternoon’ forever…

    She is a talent beyond compare and her humanity and beautiful spirit just shines trough…

  24. davie

    Saw you again, Kate, on Friday. We were further forward in the circle. Simply fantastic. My sister went with us who is a complete rock chick and she said it was the best live show she has ever seen.
    I have to also say to all the KT fans out there: aren’t we lovely people? There was such a friendly and warm atmosphere both nights that we went.
    Alas, I have my wedding to look forward to this coming weekend. Walking down the aisle to Under The Ivy xx

  25. Carlos From Seattle Washington

    We flew all the way from Seattle Washington US to London to see Kate Bush. Attended the show Sept 10. We managed to score 2 Hospitality tickets. OH MY GOD!!! The food prior to the show was amazing. the basket of food wine, treats and crowd free shopping of the merchandise was awesome. Kate Bush was unforgettable. It truly was the most amazing brilliant rock-opera-theater-musical show I have ever seen in my life. I am 40 yrs old and this show was has topped any other artist of our time. All the money spent to fly and see Kate Bush perform her vision-art-music was truly an honor and will always be imbedded in my mind as one of the best artistic creative artist of our time. What a religious experience in a sense to be in the church of Kate Bush. All Hial the queen Kate Bush

  26. Crimminy, that was … astonishing.

    The noise from the crowd when she first danced onto the stage and the noise when she finished each song was as great as the silence when she was performing. Someone shouted ‘we love you!’ as she started ‘Among Angels’ and as one person, the whole auditorium went ‘Shhhhhhh!!!!!!!’

    The volume we made by the last encore was making the walls shake. And Kate, suddenly shy and self-conscious, just murmured ‘what a fantastic audience, thank you so much.’ And we bellowed ‘We love you Kate’ – I was in the front row and I swear she had tears in her eyes.

    What a bloody masterpiece of an artist – I feel humbled to have seen her.

  27. Keith Pitches

    As one who couldn’t get a ticket to see the show, I’m glad so many people enjoyed it.
    Having attended most of her conventions, I know what a buzz it is to be surrounded by Kate Bush fans.
    Power to you!

  28. Samphire7

    April 5th 1979, a class mate ‘phoned at 5.30pm and said we have a spare ticket for Kate Bush tonight at Birmingham Hippodrome. Heart leapt, Mom said ‘No, we can’t afford it and you have homework to do’, heart sank, tears flowed. September 17th 2014, sat in the circle at Hammersmith Apollo, heart leapt, tears flowed, and flowed, and flowed. The most incredible night – amazing set, beautifully performed. Kate is a true creative genius, a genuine artist and has amazing power to move her audience. Like others have said, I felt humbled and priveliged to be there. And 35+ years on, though I would have loved to have seen the Tour of Life’ if I could only ever see her once I wouldn’t trade last week’s experience for the World. From the bottom of my heart thank you Kate, Bertie and all the KT fellowship for a real dream come true.

    • Yeh. Know the feeling. My mum wouldn’t let me stay up and watch the moon landing in 1969: “I don’t care if they are walking on the moon, you’ve got schoool in the morning …” On the other hand I did get to see Kate at the London Palladium ten years later. Life balances out.

  29. davidly

    As always, thanks for this, Seán! You’re a real Mensch, in both the German and Yiddish senses. Had it not been for you and your keeping this spot thriving for so long, I never would have registered at Fish People… the rest goes without saying.

    The intensity of the high has diminished, but that which led to my feeling I had to put the experience in words has not. Now that the official run is through, I thought I’d put this moment here for aggregations-sake and for whomever it might be of interest.

    • You’re welcome davidly! I’ve added yours to the other reviews.

      • davidly

        What Rod said, really. You all are quite wonderful.

        • Aw shucks …. Been on this job since 1982 in one way or another. It gives us great pleasure to talk and share things Kate. Many thanks to all our readers. This has been a great year to be a Kate fan.

  30. Rod

    Thank you so much, Homeground. I’m humbled, truly.

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