It was an incredibly tense moment as I found my ID being scrutinised by security at the door of the concert.I look nothing like my passport photo and my maiden name printed on the tickets does not correspond either. This and a moment earlier being approached by a shady character asking if I had any money or ‘Cake’ I could give him certainly got the adrenalin pumping pre concert and me feeling very Rock N Roll!!
It is a reality check when scanning the line. I sum up that the average age of these gig goers is 55 and rising. There is a fair smattering of women wearing token crushed velvet and pieces of Ivy adorning their hair. Assessing the men it’s less about clothing and more about their manner. Many seem to posses an expectant and distant, dreamy look on their face – We have after all, waited our whole lives for this moment – it’s a dream come true!
Once inside, the four merchandise stalls are heaving with hoards of people trying to show restraint, buying any Slice of KB memento they can lay their hands on. They then frantically fish out reading glasses from bags or pockets in order to tap in pin numbers to pay.
Anticipation for the show to start found me un-characteristically making animated small talk to strangers and neighbouring fans all commenting on how lucky we were to have acquired tickets….Chatting to an American guy it was decided that being in the fan club and purchasing from another country where the servers were less mobbed might be one explanation as to why we were so fortunate – we are the chosen few!
Exactly on time Kate is received by a standing ovation as she appears stage left, flanked by her backing singers bare footed and clad in a long black coat with heavily embroidered hemline.
She launches in to Lily (Red Shoes album) – her voice so powerful and bang on key. Her beauty and humble down to earth manner is quite bewitching.
Some of the songs to follow are Hounds of Love, Joanie, Top of the City, Running Up That Hill & King of the Mountain.
The mood changes dramatically as the stage is transformed in to a production of the songs from The Ninth Wave. (B side of Hounds of Love album).You feel as if you are watching a film as what follows envelops and transports you on a roller-coaster of emotion as the story of someone who is lost at sea is told.
Kate is able to convey every form of emotion in her voice and her amazing band of musicians, singers and puppeteers only enhance what she is trying to say.
A highlight for me is listening to her sixteen year old son who is given a solo verse. His adolescent, not yet fully matured voice is then joined by his mothers soft velvety tones, enveloping but not dominating his. This culminates in to a perfectly balance duet.
This first half of the gig is an hour and a half!
The second half is mainly songs from the album Ariel. Once again the stage and lighting crew have excelled in creating a mesmerising and captivating backdrop to Kate’s haunting and breathy tones. At one point I felt so hypnotised that I wasn’t sure if I was awake or not…..must have been a bit of jet lag creeping in!
The last song and climax of the show was ‘Cloudbusting’ after which we were all released back in to reality and the lure of the West London streets.
The concert left me emotionally drained and exhilarated at the same time if that’s possible and as we streamed out of the venue we were treated to a waxing moon in a cloud free sky making even The Hammersmith Fly Over not such a bad place to be!