You may have heard the increasingly persistent rumours that Kate Bush will do something for the Olympics closing ceremony on Sunday, August 12. Fans have been going mental over it, but if they’re anything like me, they’ll have mixed feelings about how it all works out. Kate Bush has only performed live a few times after her only tour in 1979. Here are two of her post-1979 performances:
Kate performing “Running Up That Hill” live with David Gilmour in 1987.
While not a perfect performance, this shows a confident artist on top of her game. You wouldn’t know that Ms. Bush hadn’t toured for a few years. If a performance at the Olympics was as good as this, the only reason a person could have for disliking it was if they’re not into Kate Bush’s music, and that’s fine. Some people just can’t be helped.
Kate performing “Comfortably Numb” with David Gilmour in 2002.
This is not a confident artist on top of her game. It isn’t, by far, the worst performance of Comfortably Numb; I like it better than the performances by Bob Wyatt and Bob Geldof that have made it onto David Gilmour DVDs, especially because Kate keeps the original phrasing intact. But it is a hesitant, strained performance. Compared with how David Bowie made this song his own when he was the guest, it falls far short of that.
While the latest live clip is not bad, it’s not at the level you need to be when you’re performing in front of a billion people. However, if Kate can rise to the level of the first clip, that would make a great impression on at least half of them.
Anyway… the rumours keep changing by the hour. Kate may choose to lip-synch (the organisers apparently prefer this for all artists as they want a glitch-free ceremony), there may be a videotaped performance or (the latest rumour has it) she may not perform at all. We won’t know until it actually happens.
August 13, 2012: and now we know. For the benefit of those poor benighted sods who had to watch the ceremony on NBC, Kate Bush did not appear in person, but a new mix of Running Up That Hill, with a rerecorded vocal, was played over a complex dance routine/sports montage. NBC, apparently cut it, along with Ray Davies’ appearance, for an ad.