Kate Bush has won rave reviews for her comeback concert, with critics hailing the singer's first show in 35 years as "spellbinding", "magical" and "wonderous".
The reclusive singer made a return to the stage at London's Hammersmith Apollo on Tuesday night (26Aug14), more than three decades after her last gig there in 1979 which effectively marked her retirement from live performance.
Bush's show, the first of 22 dates at the venue, has pulled in a slew of five-star reviews, with critics praising her innovative use of video montages, theatrical dance sequences, operatic performance art and even a mini-play featuring her 16-year-old son Bertie, who also sang with a choir on stage.
She thrilled the crowd with renditions of hits including Running Up That Hill, Hounds of Love, and King of the Mountain, as well as her epic The Ninth Wave.
Critics also revealed Bush's distinctive voice has not been dulled by her years away from the music scene, with Bernadette MCNulty of Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper writing, "Her voice was an undiminished roar, surprisingly rich and powerful after such a long break," adding, "There was something thrilling about seeing the often bonkers but still delightful imagination of Bush run free after all this time, apparently untouched by the frenetic pace of the digital world... Still childishly wondrous."
The Daily Mail's Jan Moir describes the show as "magical", adding, "Age has not withered our Kate, but the dancing acrobatics and histrionics of an earlier age were gone... Her voice still sounds terrific - although she no longer includes Wuthering Heights, her first and biggest hit, on her set list... Her music is still audacious and weird, but sometimes it is spellbindingly beautiful, too."
The Guardian's Alexis Petridis, who gives the show five stars out of five, writes, "Over the course of nearly three hours, Kate Bush's first gig for 35 years variously features dancers in lifejackets attacking the stage with axes and chainsaws; a giant machine that hovers above the auditorium... giant paper aeroplanes; a surprisingly lengthy rumination on sausages, vast billowing sheets manipulated to represent waves... and the singer herself being borne through the audience by dancers clad in costumes based on fish skeletons... Her voice too is in remarkable condition: she's note-perfect throughout."
Andy Gill of The Independent concludes, "It's quite stunning, undoubtedly the most ambitious, and genuinely moving, piece of theatrical pop ever seen on a British stage."
A number of celebrity fans were in the audience for Bush's first show, including Bjork, actress Gemma Arterton, and Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour, who is credited with discovering the singer and helping her land her first record deal. Pop star Lily Allen was also at the gig and broke Bush's camera ban by snapping a picture of the stage and uploading it to her Twitter.com page.
Prior to the first show, Bush released a statement urging fans to leave their digital devices at home so they could "share in the experience together".