She last toured 35 years ago and now, Kate Bush is making her stage comeback.
The British Grammy-nominated singer of hits such as "Wuthering Heights," "Running Up That Hill" and "Hounds of Love" took to the stage at the Hammersmith Apollo Theater, also known as the Eventim Apollo, in her native London on Tuesday, marking her first full concert since her 1979 tour and the start of a 22-date concert residency at the venue.
She received a standing ovation at the show, which was just as theatrical as her past gigs, and was attended by celebrities such as pop singer Lily Allen and Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, who had helped launch Bush's career. The singer's Before the Dawn concert series runs through Oct. 1.
Reviews of the concert published by major U.K. newspapers have been favorable.
The Independent called Bush's performance "quite stunning" and "undoubtedly the most ambitious, and genuinely moving, piece of theatrical pop ever seen on a British stage." The Guardian gave the concert five out of five stars, calling the singer's vocals "note-perfect" and adding, "for someone who's spent the vast majority of her career shunning the stage, she's a hugely engaging live performer." The Daily Mail called the night "spellbinding" and said Bush's voice has "deepened and mellowed with age" and "still sounds terrific."
Tuesday's show featured a slew of elaborate sets and special effects, including a fake helicopter, as well as costumes worn by her band members and other performers, who sported masks resembling birds of prey, dinosaurs and angler fish.
Her son Bertie, 16, also took part in the show—he is one of her backup singers.
Bush was his age when she signed her first major record contract, in 1974. The notoriously shy singer, regarded as one of British rock's most famous singers and sex symbols, has produced and released new music continuously since then.
Her last concert series, the theatrical Tour of Life, took place over six weeks in the spring of 1979 in Europe and ended at London's Hammersmith Odeon, the former name of Tuesday's concert venue (pictured below, Bush performs her second-to-final concert of her 1979 tour).
Rolling Stone dubbed that concert series a "multi-costume-changing, singing and dancing extravaganza" that was "trailblazing." Her sound engineers had fashioned for her what was then an innovative device now used by scores of performers—a microphone headset, which they had made out of a wire coat hanger, the magazine reported.
Why did Bush stop touring after 1979?
The singer has said in press interviews that part of the reason was because of the time and effort needed to put together and perform a concert series. People have also speculated her dislike of flying contributed to her decision, according to BBC News. The singer has also cited her commitment to her husband and son.
"At the moment my family life is incredibly important to me and it comes first," she told BBC's Radio 4. "Then my work fits in around it which is quite easy to do with the recording process but something like doing shows would be incredibly disruptive and I just can't see that would be something that would work at this stage."