Interviews & Articles


"The Perfumed Garden Of Good And Evil"
by Sandy Robertson
April 14, 1979

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Kate Bush

DID YOU ever visit some distant relative for tea and cakes, and as a postscript have to sit through the 'party piece' of their little girl, all rolling eyes and precocious gesturing? Kate Bush is a bit like that. Now, I'm the heartless sod who with a singular lack of vision numbered Kate's 'The Kick Inside' album as a 'tax loss' flop, but I'm here to tell you I've seen the light, and the 'Wuthering Heights' too.

Yes, the light(s). And the mime, the dance, the special effects, the professionalism and, must importantly, the talent. Kate is Cinderella, that front room brat landed with a million dollars to play with, and she's used it wisely.

For me, her voice is so unique and impossibly high that it only really works on record in a singles format, but on stage she's surrounded by such a dazzling barrage of imagery that any lack of versatility in the melody department slips by virtually unnoticed amid the MoR psychedelia.

In fact, Kate's dream machine techniques are by far the best I've ever encountered on a British rock 'n' roll tour.

A SHADOW on a silk-screen, whisked away as willowy Kate emerged from a circular cavern, slinky and innocently seductive. God knows what the song was, I was too busy watching the huge concave screen with its tidal wave which seemed about to engulf the band at any minute.

Oh the band! Del Palmer, a bassist who looks like Todd Rundgren and plays like a dream. And Brian Bath on searing but delicate lead guitar, and what seems like 40 dozen other people, sonically speaking, who are so good that most of the time you don't even notice their presence.

Forgiveable, when you're being distracted by Katy being wheeled around in a giant sized satin-lined choc box contraption by two agile and androgynous negro dancers, or listening to the programme links booming out in the sonorous tones of John Carder Bush (is this a family show?)

As her lights stroked the eyeballs with a series of visuals more formalized than the 1967 San Francisco variety but just as effective, the cuddly Kate posed and flew in perfectly executed manoeuvres, with her dancing pals along for the ride going through as many positions as The Perfumed Garden without ever missing a sexy note of her Sunday supplement-rock.

Wolves howled, candles flickered ten times larger than life, people danced 'Fantasia'-like in eight foot human violin getups (just like Wayne County) a magician worked wonders with an airborne cane (you rarely saw the wires), dry ice almost asphyxiated the stalls and Bushy whisperers lines like "You have the face of a genius ".

PRETENTIOUS, unfortunately. Effective, undoubtedly. Resonating announcements of Byronic waffle about letting "The wasp settle on the soft down of your arm" might be pushing the audience's tolerance a bit far, but when it gets to not wanting to "see two in one coffin" you have to give the lady credit for stepping outside of showbizzy conventions, although she might still be a little sweet for hardrock poetaster fans.

Actually, it's difficult to discern who the Kate Bush audience really comprises The place seemed to be full of upmarket young couples, with a smattering of 'nice' chaps cruising on their own. Those lads; the Judy Garland/Bette Midler axis. They'd love be Kate, a thousand thrills, a hundred costume changes. Humiliating those nasty men with that big rifle, leather jacketed in a 'West Side Story' parody. That predelication for leg-warmers. Wow!

She belly dances (keeping it covered up, though), and sang 'Kite' while managing to look like one, and 'Oh England My Lionheart' in a set straight out of 'Reach For The Sky'.

KATE BUSH'S show is the connection between rock 'n' roll and Las Vegas taken to the outer limits. It's so finely realised that it's beyond rational, criticism because she's constructed her very own universe on a stage, and if that universe seems a little precious or twee then it's of secondary importance when you consider her purely physical achievement.

Rock turkeys the world over have forever played around with stage concepts, but apart from a smoke machine here and a thunderflash there it's all come to naught. Kate Bush, however, has put her dreams into actual flesh.

Maybe the package )she's on stage for nearly 2 1/2 hours) is overlong, like Bruce Springsteen's marathons, but she never bores, and unlike The Greatful Dead's day and night jobs you won't need acid or dope to keep you amused.

Mime and crystal pure sound (but the mike attached to her noggin should go, simply for visual reasons) do a great show make. Kate Bush may not have anything particularly profound to say, but on this evidence she says it beautifully. Just like Walt Disney, a child's garden of good and evil.


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"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush

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