Will Kate Bush’s comeback tour finally realise ‘The Ninth Wave’ story?

As top secret rehearsals get underway for Kate Bush’s first live shows for 35 years in London later this summer, speculation for what fans can expect from this rare spectacle is running high. But if the publicity shots for the tour, titled Before The Dawn, tell fans anything, it’s that it’s likely to be a visual realisation of the second side of her classic ‘Hounds Of Love’ album from 1985.

Entitled ‘The Ninth Wave’, the suite of songs tell a deftly crafted story about a woman who had been washed over the side of a ship and was alone in the water, waiting for rescue. Speaking in 1992 about conceiving ‘The Ninth Wave’, the singer, who drew great inspiration from the films of Stanley Kubrick and Powell and Pressburger, told BBC Radio 1 that: “[To me] ‘The Ninth Wave’ was a film, that’s how I thought of it.” An actual film version of the suite never came to pass, but the concept stayed in her imagination and it is expected to play a key part in the live shows – which are her first since 1979’s boundary pushing Tour Of Life. And while details of the rehearsals are under wraps, her guitarist David Rhodes tells NME: “[Kate]’s charming, funny and sings beautifully. Sadly, that’s probably the extent of what I can divulge at the moment.”

It’s also expected that the notoriously secretive artist will incorporate some of the piano-heavy sound of her last studio album, ‘50 Words For Snow’, into the concert. But this seems like the most conventional part of Before The Dawn which will be more ‘theatre performance’ than standard gig, considering the involvement of seasonal West End talent like former Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Adrian Noble and singers like Jacqui Dubois (Rent, Fame) and Sandra Marvin (Chicago, The Lion King). “It’s her statement that she wants to come back to the stage,” one insider tells us. “It’ll be a Kate Bush show, but it’ll be theatrical and tell a story.”

The NME feature on Kate Bush in our April 12 issue owes a huge debt of gratitude to Under The Ivy: The Life & Music Of Kate Bush, by Graeme Thomson. Featuring over 70 new interviews with the people who know her best, it’s the ultimate insight in Kate Bush’s life and career. The book is available now from Amazon and all good booksellers.