Kate Bush, the English music icon who achieved international stardom at the age of 19 with her offbeat but compelling hit song, “Wuthering Heights,” retired from performing her music in live concerts after one brief tour in 1979. But now, at the age of 55, Kate Bush is coming back to the stage for the first time in 35 years — and tickets are already in hotter demand than those for some of today’s most popular performers.
According to one report, tickets for the late-summer Kate Bush shows are already outselling tickets to see Beyoncé, Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, all of whom owe a debt to Kate Bush who broke through in the pre-Madonna era when superstar female musicians were still few and far between.
“I am delighted to announce that we will be performing some live shows this coming August and September. I hope you will be able to join us and I look forward to seeing you there,” Kate Bush wrote on her official online site. As soon as concert dates were posted, the site crashed under the heavy demand.
Kate Bush, now 55 years old, never retired from music, only from live touring. Her series of shows, titled “Before the Dawn,” scheduled for late summer of 2014, are not strictly speaking a “tour.” Instead, they are a residency, a series of 15 concerts all at a single venue, London’s Hammersmith Apollo.
Then known as the Hammersmith Odeon, the same theater was the site of the last live concert Kate Bush ever gave, the final performance of her highly theatrical “Tour Of Life” in 1979.
That elaborately staged tour included material from the first two Kate Bush albums, which were then her only albums, The Kick Inside and Lionheart. At the time, Melody Maker magazine deemed the Kate Bush live show, “the most magnificent spectacle ever encountered in the world of rock.”
Since then, Kate Bush has continued to write and record regularly, issuing 10 albums. The latest is 50 Words For Snow, released in 2011.
As to why she stopped touring 35 years ago, some speculation has it that Kate Bush is afraid to fly, whole others site the death of her 21-year-old lighting director Bill Duffield who perished in a 20-foot fall while inspecting a lighting fixture early in the “Tour of Life.”
Still others believe that Kate Bush was simply exhausted and preferred to focus her energies on creating new music, rather than performing older songs.
Kate Bush herself, who was just 21 when she stopped playing live, explained it by saying, “I felt a terrific need to retreat as a person, because I felt that my sexuality – which in a way I hadn’t really had a chance to explore myself – was being given to the world in a way which I found impersonal.”