Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

How the return of Kate Bush shows the value of rarity

The fuss around Kate Bush’s return to live performance has as much to do with the rarity of the experience as what she’ll actually do on the night

Entrance stage left: Kate Bush

Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 09:58


Kate Bush’s live music agent was probably very busy last Friday morning. As the news broke that the singer was about to play her first live shows since 1979 (a 22 date residency at London’s Hammersmith Apollo), one can only imagine the number of phone calls and emails heading to that agent as a result.

This is the value of rarity. At a time when every single musical act still shuffling around on this mortal coil has to tour to make a bean, Bush has stayed happily offstage for 35 years. It’s obvious that she didn’t require or want the cash which would accrue from spending year after year on the road.

Now that Bush has decided to get back on the horse, everyone will be going gaga to see her because so few people have actually experienced a live show by her. Furthermore, you can bet that the friendly agent in the opening paragraph is currently inundated with offers for festival appearances and other shows. No doubt a decision has already been taken about how to proceed once the initial 15 shows are done and dusted.

The rarity factor is something which more acts should bear in mind. The music business mindset is increasingly about quantity over quality, a state of affairs which means all acts, regardless of status, spend much of their time touring and playing live. In their heart of hearts, many musicians would prefer to do otherwise, but the live music revenue renders such objections null and void.

Enter Bush. As others tune up for another pointless and unwarranted lengthy world tour – we’re looking at you, U2 – Bush stands out a mile. Yes, artists, it is possible to play the game by your own rules and remain in rude creative and financial health.