Announced on 21 March 2014, Before The Dawn was the first set of live dates by Kate Bush since the Tour Of Life in 1979. Originally, 15 live dates were announced. A pre-sale ticket allocation took place on 26 March for fans who had signed up to her website in previous months (and years). After this pre-sale, a further seven dates were added due to the high demand. Tickets went on sale to the general public on 28 March and most of them were sold out within 15 minutes. All dates took place at the Eventim Apollo in London (UK). The tour was a critical and commercial success, with all shows sold out.

Before The Dawn was a multi-media performance involving standard rock music performance, dancers, puppets, shadows, maskwork, conceptual staging, 3D animation and an illusionist. Bush spent three days in a flotation tank for filmed scenes that were played during the performance and featured dialogue written by novelist David Mitchell. Also involved with the production were Adrian Noble, former artistic director and chief executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company, lighting designer Mark Henderson and Italian Shadows Theatre company Controluce Teatro d’Ombre. The illusionist was Paul Kieve, the puppeteer Basil Twist, the movement director Sian Williams and the designer Dick Bird. The video and projection design was by Jon Driscoll.

Hospitality package

A hospitality package was available for a longer time, even a few weeks after the tickets went on sale. Priced at £424, the package included a stalls or circle seat, a chilled glass of champagne on arrival, summer picnic hamper of gourmet food, including salmon pâté, spatchcock slow-roasted poussin, prawn salad with pistachio couscous and caramel-dipped berries. Plus a half-bottle of wine.


The band playing with Kate Bush on stage consisted of David Rhodes (guitar), Friðrik Karlsson (guitar, bouzouki, charango), John Giblin (bass guitar, double bass), Jon Carin (keyboards, guitar, vocals, programming), Kevin McAlea (keyboards, accordion, uilleann pipes). Omar Hakim (drums), Mino Cinélu (percussion). Backing vocalists were Sandra Marvin, Jacqui DuBois, Jo Servi, Bob Harms and Albert McIntosh. Some actors were involved as well: Ben Thompson played Lord of the Waves, Stuart Angell played Lord of the Waves and the painter’s apprentice, Christian Jenner played the blackbird’s spirit, Jo Servi played witchfinder and Albert McIntosh appeared as painter. Supporting actors were Sean Myatt, Richard Booth, Emily Cooper, Lane Paul Stewart and Charlotte Williams.

Set list

Act 1

Hounds Of Love
Top Of The City
Running Up That Hill
King Of The Mountain

The Ninth Wave
And Dream Of Sheep (video)
Under Ice
Waking The Witch
Watching You Without Me
Jig Of Life
Hello Earth
The Morning Fog

Act 2

A Sky Of Honey
An Architect’s Dream
The Painter’s Link
Aerial Tal
Somewhere In Between
Tawny Moon (lead vocals by Albert McIntosh)


Among Angels


26 August 2014 (Before The Dawn, Before The Dawn From Apollo)
27 August 2014 (Before The Dawn, Before The Dawn From Apollo)
29 August 2014 (Before The Dawn From Apollo III)
30 August 2014
2 September 2014
3 September 2014
5 September 2014
6 September 2014
9 September 2014
10 September 2014
12 September 2014 (Before The Dawn From Apollo XI)
13 September 2014 (London Eventim Apollo, 2014-09-13)
16 September 2014
17 September 2014
19 September 2014
20 September 2014 (The Sixteenth Wave)
23 September 2014
24 September 2014
26 September 2014
27 September 2014
30 September 2014
1 October 2014 (Before The Dawn Live On Stage)

Critical reception

The show received widespread critical acclaim. The Evening Standard gave the opening show five stars out of five, commenting: “[an] extraordinary mix of magical ideas, stunning visuals, attention to detail and remarkable music.. She was so obviously, so unambiguously brilliant, made last night something to tell the grandchildren about. “Alexis Petridis of ‘The Guardian’ gave the show five stars out of five, calling the show “another remarkable achievement”. Q magazine called it “a night filled with magic and mystery, […] an undisputed thriumph”.

Attending celebrities

During the run of the show, several celebrities were spotted in the audience, while others took to social media to confirm they saw the show. Some of the names of celebrities that have seen the live show are Lily Allen, Marc Almond, Gemma Arterton, Bjork, Peter Gabriel, Dave Gilmour, Guido Harari, Holly Johnson, Lauren Laverne, Annie Lennox, Paul McCartney, Caitlin Moran, Frank Skinner and Ricky Wilde.


While Kate requested there was to be no photographing or filming during the evenings, many members of the audience have recorded the sound of the concert instead. Sound recordings from the audience exist from 10 of the 22 dates. On September 16 and 17, some seats were moved in order “to film the show for a DVD release”, according to an e-mail to some fans who had bought tickets for these two shows. In 2016, the album Before The Dawn was released, with live recordings from the shows.

Kate about Before The Dawn

I’d got to a point where I’d down two albums very quickly, one after the other and I didn’t want to go in and make another album. So I thought maybe I should do some live shows. (Laughs) That’s what happened. I didn’t want to do the shows without Bertie because I thought he’d be a very valuable part of the process, which he was, and it needed to fall at a time that worked around his schedule and that happened to be a good time for him.
I thought the whole idea of putting a show together would be a lot of fun. Not that being in it would be fun, that was very frightening. But putting a show together was something I thought I could do. (…)
I really liked the idea of trying to move from what seemed to be a straight rock concert into a piece of theatre. And what I thought would be fascinating – which I’d not seen done before – was moving from obvious rock show, rhythmic lighting to theatrical lighting.

Jim Irvin, ‘Waving… Not Drowning’. Mojo (UK), JaNuary 2017


Drums: Omar Hakim
Percussion: Mino Cinelu
Bass: John Giblin
Guitars: David Rhodes
Guitars, Bouzouki, Charango: Frissi Karlsson
Keyboards, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Jon Carin
Keyboards, Uilleann Pipes, Accordion: Kevin McAlea
Piano (The Ninth Wave [Pre-Recorded], Prologue, Among Angels), Pre-Recorded Synths: Kate Bush

Jacqui DuBois
Sandra Marvin
Bob Harms
Jo Servi
Albert McIntosh

Backline Technicians:
Baz Tymms
Chris Lawson
Morten Turbo Thobro
Steve Grey

Sound Consultant: James Guthrie
FOH Engineer & Surround Systems Supervision: Greg Walsh
FOH Engineer: Davide Lombardi
Live Lead Vocal Engineer: Stephen W Tayler
Monitor Engineer: Ian Newton
Surround Systems Engineer: Davey Williamson
Soundscapes: James Drew

Astronomer: Kevin Doyle
Witchfinder: Jo Servi
Helicopter Pilot, Harmonic Vocals, Fujare: Paddy Bush

Ben: Albert McIntosh
Dad: Bob Harms

Poem at end of Jig of Life written and narrated by John Carder Bush

Astronomer’s Call, Helicopter Pilot, Watching Them Without Her
Written by David Mitchell & Kate Bush

‘Water Tank’ Lead Vocals
Researched & Recorded by Greg Walsh & Ian Newton

Chorus MD: Nick Skilbeck

Puppeteer: Ben Thompson
Puppet Created by Robert Allsopp