Gary Flockhart: Kate Bush back in concert

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THERE was a downright giddy level of excitement after the announcement that the legendary Kate Bush is to play a series of gigs in August and September – her first extensive run of shows since her only proper jaunt, at the beginning of her career, in 1979, when she toured with an elaborately staged and choreographed production.

Tickets for the Kent-born singer’s 22-date summer residency at London’s Hammersmith Apollo went on sale this morning, prompting a mad rush as fans clamoured to get their hands on tickets.

I haven’t seen this much kerfuffle over a gig since Tom Waits’ double-whammy at the Edinburgh Playhouse in 2008 – but no wonder. Bush is one of the greats. She’s an utter genius.

I remember seeing her performing like a demented witch on Top of the Pops when I was a very young child. I hadn’t seen anything quite like her before and, at first, I wasn’t even sure if I liked her song (the quirky Wuthering Heights, if I recall correctly) or hated it. But I was transfixed. She was just so different. She seemed otherworldly.

Bush never did Top of the Pops again (“seeing it was like watching myself die,” she said) and went on to become Britain’s most revered and reclusive female recording artist.

The singer has released ten albums since she started recording in the late 70s - most recently 2011’s 50 Words For Snow – but essentially retired from touring after a six-week run in 1979 to promote her debut album, The Kick Inside.

Many rumours have surfaced over the years about the 55-year-old singer’s absence from the stage, including a fear of flying, physical exhaustion and the tragic death of 21-year-old lighting director Bill Duffield at the beginning of her one tour. Duffield fell 20 feet to his death while inspecting a darkened venue for Bush.

She has hinted about returning to the stage several times over the years – but never has. Until now, that is.

That being the case, Bush’s long-awaited return to the stage is shaping up as the live music event of the summer, bar none.