I just returned from my long summer, far away, when I saw a surprise text message. My dear friend had invited me to the friends-and-family preview night of the most hotly anticipated show in London for years - the amazing Kate Bush!
We arrived to find an unusually polite, well-behaved crowd. It was like the whole theatre was filled with the artist's close friends, waiting eagerly for the grand return of this long-awaited diva. Although I loved her music, as I was living in France during the 80's and 90's I didn't know as much of her work as everyone else. I felt a bit like a foreigner, I did not belong to this generation of long-time fans who all knew it was a special moment. It was tangible, you could feel how much they loved her and how they so cherished her come-back. The audience were so respectful of her courage, to create a show after all those years of being in her own private space. You could feel the respect and the love. There were smiles on everyone's faces.
She arrived on stage with bare feet, like a woman who really understood life. She came back to us to truly share both her art and her wisdom. Honestly, what a relief when I heard that her voice was still stunning, bringing both the intimate and the strong to the stage. When I say strong, I really mean strong! She was the real woman, the one we all are looking for in our lives. We are women all of us, but we are also looking for our strength, our authenticity, trying to discover our feminine sacred energy. Kate Bush appeared like an amazing message to the room where we sat. I say room as she really wanted to connect with her audience which is why she chose such a small venue, one on a human-scale, where she could feel and respond to the emotions of the crowd.
Kate Bush returned to the stage for reasons that I don't know but certainly what she achieved was to create a real and genuine exchange with her audience. She brought to her audience a totally spiritually-oriented show. The show read as a story of survival in the harsh world, a story of uniting nature; the sun, the moon, the birds, the trees, of finding and expressing your truth...well that is how I read it anyway! I must say I was surprised that she created such a big theatrical production, with changing scenes and decor to narrate her story and her philosophy of life. Maybe it was a bit too much, too much because what we really wanted was for the show to be about her voice and her presence. Did we need all those props moving around so very often? I am not sure. Maybe however this was her unique way to deliver her best performance, and it was through bringing to life this rich show, through events and scenes of drama and theatre, that she could achieve that. She definitely enjoyed it. So did we.
The strongest elements of the show, for me, and the most well conveyed are the connections with and the presence of nature. The talking birds, the huge trees, the beautiful moon and sun, these elements were beautiful. It all enhanced the character of Kate Bush as a goddess, a sorcerer of life, as a shaman. And yes, we are most definitely seeking the extraordinary with her - as a woman and as a performer. It felt as though all the audience were in awe at her for that. That is how I received her art and energy. That is why listening to her gave me chills, offered me a moment to dream, a moment to reconnect to the authentic, to the elements of nature. A true gift to her audience.
Everything on the set was very well realised - the bird costumes, Kate's own costumes, the beauty of the images that surrounded her. Yet after all this quite heavy and full-on production there was a moment of quiet - as she finally sat down at her piano and gifted us with a song - sang alone on the stage, just her singing and playing the piano. Her fans will come to witness her enduring magic, her way of seeing and expressing her vision of life. How interesting to see that today, when people question what it is that makes us excited, what makes us all tick, that there is still a huge audience looking for this authenticity, this quest for the absolute which Kate Bush is definitely bringing to us. How reassuring that an artist is daring to bring her truth onto a global stage, not afraid of the music-market laws that we are told are out there. My friend who invited me, who I met when I was recording at Real World, Peter Gabriel's studio, is from the same school - a group of visionary musicians and producers who seek to make quality music imbued with authenticity.
Kate Bush is very much still rooted in who she is as an artist. She is a real diva, in the very truest sense of the word.
Karen Ruimy's show ZIK'R will be coming to London on November 21st. For further ticket and venue information visit www.karenruimy.com