Announced on 21 March 2014, Before The Dawn was the first set of live dates by Kate Bush since the Tour Of Life in 1979. Originally, 15 live dates were announced. A pre-sale ticket allocation took place on 26 March for fans who had signed up to her website in previous months (and years). After this pre-sale, a further seven dates were added due to the high demand. Tickets went on sale to the general public on 28 March and most of them were sold out within 15 minutes. All dates took place at the Eventim Apollo in London (UK). The tour was a critical and commercial success, with all shows sold out.
Before The Dawn was a multi-media performance involving standard rock music performance, dancers, puppets, shadows, maskwork, conceptual staging, 3D animation and an illusionist. Bush spent three days in a flotation tank for filmed scenes that were played during the performance and featured dialogue written by novelist David Mitchell. Also involved with the production were Adrian Noble, former artistic director and chief executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company, lighting designer Mark Henderson and Italian Shadows Theatre company Controluce Teatro d'Ombre. The illusionist was Paul Kieve, the puppeteer Basil Twist, the movement director Sian Williams and the designer Dick Bird. The video and projection design was by Jon Driscoll.
A hospitality package was available for a longer time, even a few weeks after the tickets went on sale. Priced at £424, the package included a stalls or circle seat, a chilled glass of champagne on arrival, summer picnic hamper of gourmet food, including salmon pâté, spatchcock slow-roasted poussin, prawn salad with pistachio couscous and caramel-dipped berries. Plus a half-bottle of wine.
The band playing with Kate Bush on stage consisted of David Rhodes (guitar), Friðrik Karlsson (guitar, bouzouki, charango), John Giblin (bass guitar, double bass), Jon Carin (keyboards, guitar, vocals, programming), Kevin McAlea (keyboards, accordion, uilleann pipes). Omar Hakim (drums), Mino Cinélu (percussion). Backing vocalists were Sandra Marvin, Jacqui DuBois, Jo Servi, Bob Harms and Albert McIntosh. Some actors were involved as well: Ben Thompson played Lord of the Waves, Stuart Angell played Lord of the Waves and the painter's apprentice, Christian Jenner played the blackbird's spirit, Jo Servi played witchfinder and Albert McIntosh appeared as painter. Supporting actors were Sean Myatt, Richard Booth, Emily Cooper, Lane Paul Stewart and Charlotte Williams.
Hounds Of Love
Top Of The City
Running Up That Hill
King Of The Mountain
The Ninth Wave
And Dream Of Sheep (video)
Waking The Witch
Watching You Without Me
Jig Of Life
The Morning Fog
A Sky Of Honey
An Architect's Dream
The Painter's Link
Somewhere In Between
Tawny Moon (lead vocals by Albert McIntosh)
26 August 2014 (Before The Dawn, Before The Dawn From Apollo)
27 August 2014 (Before The Dawn, Before The Dawn From Apollo)
29 August 2014 (Before The Dawn From Apollo III)
30 August 2014
2 September 2014
3 September 2014
5 September 2014
6 September 20149
9 September 2014
10 September 2014
12 September 2014 (Before The Dawn From Apollo XI)
13 September 2014 (London Eventim Apollo, 2014-09-13)
16 September 2014
17 September 2014
19 September 2014
20 September 2014 (The Sixteenth Wave)
23 September 2014
24 September 2014
26 September 2014
27 September 2014
30 September 2014
1 October 2014 (Before The Dawn Live On Stage)
The show received widespread critical acclaim. The Evening Standard gave the opening show five stars out of five, commenting: "[an] extraordinary mix of magical ideas, stunning visuals, attention to detail and remarkable music.. She was so obviously, so unambiguously brilliant, made last night something to tell the grandchildren about. "Alexis Petridis of 'The Guardian' gave the show five stars out of five, calling the show "another remarkable achievement". Q magazine called it "a night filled with magic and mystery, [...] an undisputed thriumph".
During the run of the show, several celebrities were spotted in the audience, while others took to social media to confirm they saw the show. Some of the names of celebrities that have seen the live show are Lily Allen, Marc Almond, Gemma Arterton, Bjork, Peter Gabriel, Dave Gilmour, Guido Harari, Holly Johnson, Lauren Laverne, Annie Lennox, Paul McCartney, Caitlin Moran, Frank Skinner and Ricky Wilde.
While Kate requested there was to be no photographing or filming during the evenings, many members of the audience have recorded the sound of the concert instead. Sound recordings from the audience exist from 10 of the 22 dates. On September 16 and 17, some seats were moved in order "to film the show for a DVD release", according to an e-mail to some fans who had bought tickets for these two shows. In 2016, the album Before The Dawn was released, with live recordings from the shows.
Drums: Omar Hakim
Percussion: Mino Cinelu
Bass: John Giblin
Guitars: David Rhodes
Guitars, Bouzouki, Charango: Frissi Karlsson
Keyboards, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Jon Carin
Keyboards, Uilleann Pipes, Accordion: Kevin McAlea
Piano (The Ninth Wave [Pre-Recorded], Prologue, Among Angels), Pre-Recorded Synths: Kate Bush
Morten Turbo Thobro
Sound Consultant: James Guthrie
FOH Engineer & Surround Systems Supervision: Greg Walsh
FOH Engineer: Davide Lombardi
Live Lead Vocal Engineer: Stephen W Tayler
Monitor Engineer: Ian Newton
Surround Systems Engineer: Davey Williamson
Soundscapes: James Drew
THE NINTH WAVE
Astronomer: Kevin Doyle
Witchfinder: Jo Servi
Helicopter Pilot, Harmonic Vocals, Fujare: Paddy Bush
WATCHING THEM WITHOUT HER
Ben: Albert McIntosh
Dad: Bob Harms
Poem at end of Jig of Life written and narrated by John Carder Bush
Astronomer’s Call, Helicopter Pilot, Watching Them Without Her
Written by David Mitchell & Kate Bush
‘Water Tank’ Lead Vocals
Researched & Recorded by Greg Walsh & Ian Newton
Chorus MD: Nick Skilbeck
Puppeteer: Ben Thompson
Puppet Created by Robert Allsopp
- Before the Dawn (Kate Bush concert series). Wikipedia, retrieved January 9, 2016.
- Kate Bush, salmon pâté and a slow-roasted spatchcock: what a 'hospitality' concert ticket will get you. The Guardian, 28 March 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
- Kate Bush Comeback Concert Draws Celebrities, Rave Reviews. Hollywood Reporter, 27 August 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
- Kate Bush returns to the stage: Celebrities react to the iconic star's opening night of Before the Dawn. Mirror, 26 August 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
- 'Wow!' [concert review]. Q magazine, November 2014.