Eventim Apollo; Hammersmith; London 30th September 2014

Type: Audience master, recorded from seat slightly right of centre stage in row BB, the 22nd row of the stalls, approximately 20 metres from the stage.

Source: Factory-matched pair of Schoeps CCM 41V microphones (DINa mounted) ->
Marantz PMD661 recorder with Oade Concert Mod
(-18 dB gain/44.1 kHz/24 bit WAV)

Lineage: Audacity 2.0.5
* Amplified right channel of Act I by 0.8 dB.
* Applied variable envelope amplification across recording for consistent listening experience.
* Painstaking manual attenuation of audience noise, including more than a thousand individual hand claps.
* Added fades.
* Split tracks.
* Converted to 16 bit.
-> FLAC (compression level 8) [libFLAC 1.3.0 20130526]

Taper: Ian Macdonald (ianmacd)

Length : 163:04

Act I.

01. [01:18] [announcement]
02. [04:50] Lily
03. [03:36] Hounds Of Love
04. [06:22] Joanni
05. [05:41] Top Of The City
06. [05:51] Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
07. [08:17] King Of The Mountain

The Ninth Wave:

08. [03:05] [video: The Astronomer's Tale]
09. [04:03] [video: And Dream Of Sheep]
10. [03:19] Under Ice
11. [07:22] Waking The Witch
12. [03:33] [sketch: Father And Son]
13. [06:46] Watching You Without Me
14. [05:16] Jig Of Life
15. [08:13] Hello Earth
16. [05:03] The Morning Fog
17. [01:21] [banter]
18. [00:13] [announcement]


Act II.

A Sky Of Honey:

19. [02:56] Prelude
20. [10:17] Prologue
21. [05:42] An Architect's Dream
22. [01:34] The Painter's Link
23. [07:57] Sunset
24. [01:59] Aerial Tal
25. [06:58] Somewhere In Between
26. [06:24] Tawny Moon
27. [08:44] Nocturn
28. [10:52] Aerial
29. [00:48] [banter]


30. [00:53] [encore break]
31. [05:37] Among Angels
32. [00:40] [banter]
33. [07:20] Cloudbusting

¹ Sung by Albert McIntosh

Sample :
Kate Bush - Somewhere In Between - London 30th September 2014 [ianmacd]


I'm back in Hammersmith, just two weeks after my last visit, and my reason for being here is the same as last time: to catch two performances of Kate Bush's groundbreaking 'Before The Dawn' show, now nearing the end of its historic run at the Eventim Apollo.

Bus 197 once again takes me to Schiphol, where I board flight BA 2759 to Gatwick and enjoy clear skies for the duration of the short, hour-long flight.

Having reclaimed my bag, I indulge in a Cornish pasty for lunch and then board the Gatwick Express to Victoria.

After changing to the Tube, I travel the few stops to Hammersmith on the District line and then walk the now familiar route to my equally familiar hotel.

Sure enough, I'm helped by the same receptionist as last time and given room 305, which -- you've guessed it -- is the same room I stayed in two weeks ago. This day is such a carbon copy of 16th September that I'm half-expecting to wake up tomorrow to 'I Got You Babe' on the radio².

Bush's historic 22 date residency at the Apollo is drawing to a close. Tonight, she will give her penultimate performance to another packed house, once again fulfilling the dreams of an ecstatic audience, who, back in January, never could have imagined that they would be witnessing this legendary, almost mythical performer sing live before the year was out.

To say I'm looking forward to the concert is an understatement. The joyful anticipation of my four shows has been something I haven't experienced with such vivid, childlike intensity since my early twenties.

Most of the time, I find that I can barely drag myself out the door for a show just up the road at the Paradiso, yet international travel feels like the most minor of obstacles that I could negotiate to see Kate Bush perform.

Indeed, the fact that the mountain most certainly won't come to Muhammed in this case has temporarily rendered Hammersmith the world's epicentre of love and admiration for this most celebrated of female performers.

Fans from all over the world have made the pilgrimage here to see her perform, forming an immutable emotional link between this small corner of west London and the realm of Kate bush fandom.

With just a few hours to kill until the gig, I unpack, charge batteries and take a short nap. When I awake, I shower, pack a rucksack and head to The Swan for a leisurely plate of fish and chips before the gig.

At 18:15 on the dot, following ID checks in the queue, the doors to the venue are opened. Within seconds, the merchandise stand is swamped. I'd love to see the sales figures from this residency. I'm curious just how much money has been made without playing a note.

The mass of bodies must be fifteen deep and it's like this every night, both before and after the gig. Two more merchandise stands are located upstairs, and business is only a little less brisk up there.

The pre-gig taper prep for these shows is becoming routine for me at this point. I drink a pint of fluid to combat possible dehydration and then head into the auditorium just after 19:00 to find my seat.

I'm in row BB of the stalls this time, slightly right of centre. My seat is located about two thirds of the way back, just under the circle. It's a terrific seat with a great view of the stage and, in my judgement, the potential to facilitate an absolutely stunning recording.

I head to the loos to configure the microphones for my position relative to the PA, then take my seat in the auditorium and savour the last few minutes of sweet anticipation.

At 19:45, the now familiar taped announcement is played through the PA:

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to tonight's performance of 'Before The Dawn'. The KT Fellowship kindly reminds you to refrain from using any photo or recording devices and to turn phones off during the performance. Thank you and enjoy the show."

No photo devices? Check.

Muted telephone? Check.

No recording devices? Er, let me get back to you on that.

The house lights go down and the musicians take their positions to loud applause. The spoken word intro to 'Lily' begins and then, as the music starts, Kate Bush makes her entrance.

From the applause, you'd think it was the second coming of Christ. I've never heard anything like it, except, perhaps, at the two Kate Bush shows I attended a fortnight ago.

The mild-mannered man on my right becomes a screaming queen and goes into emotional meltdown. With his whooping and thunderous applause, he will unwittingly go on to provide me with the largest audio post-production task I have ever undertaken. Cheers, mate.

Oh well; the level of fanaticism that this woman engenders and the law of averages pretty much guaranteed that I would end up next to someone like this at least once during my four shows. He calms down somewhat as the show progresses.

I have written about the content of the show before, so suffice it to say that there are no theatrical hitches this evening, and the highlight for me remains the blistering performance of 'Aerial', with its duel between the blackbird figure of Kate Bush and a bird-beaked David Rhodes, the guitarist.

The one thing I do notice -- though it's not until the mastering stage that I do -- is that the guitar is missing from the start of 'Somewhere In Between'. I'm not sure what happened there.

Kate plays an absolute blinder this evening. These performances are becoming more and more polished as the residency wears on, and tonight's is one for the ages.

On the theatrical side, I'm still noticing little details that I missed the first couple of times. Every time I see the show from a different vantage point, there are new things to pick up on and new perspectives on previously seen things.

Even Bertie's nasal drawl on 'Tawny Moon' is growing on me. You just have to have respect for any 16 year old who has the balls to get up and sing to an audience who've waited most of their life and paid a hefty sum to see Kate Bush perform live. Even if he is her son and starts with the audience on-side, it's still a gutsy thing to do for such a young man.

Mercifully, it's been a little less hot in the Apollo tonight than on the previous two occasions. Make no mistake, it was still quite uncomfortable; just not the oven of two weeks ago.

The recording lives up to my expectations. The base recording was already excellent, if somewhat blighted by the exuberance of my neighbour in the stalls, but the difference between the raw source and the mastered product is night and day.

Happily, the unwanted contributions of the gentleman next to me have come out in the wash, along with innumerable individual hand claps and instances of whooping and cheering that were too far forward in the sound image.

All of these small imperfections have been individually treated and rendered unobtrusive by consigning them to the background, insofar as that is possible with a single track recording such as this.

In total, 3575 edits have been applied to the recording during mastering, by far the most ever needed by one of my recordings. The work took more than 23 hours at the computer, spread across two days.

As always with this kind of endeavour, much of the credit actually goes to my wife, for ensuring that our children didn't go hungry or murder each other in the meantime.

This recording of tonight's show is superb, quite possibly the best of the four that I have made, thanks to the location of my seat in the auditorium. For the last six months, this was the ticket that I was anticipating would yield the best recording, and that might just be the case.

In any case, this is a recording that will be stirring memories and providing me with immeasurable pleasure for years to come. It belongs in the collection of any fan.

Some portions of the show, such as the voices at the start of 'Waking The Witch', were in surround sound. Obviously, my stereo capture fails to accurately reflect that dimension of the show, but it's a minor concession, all things considering.

Since this recording is bound to end up on fan sites and music blogs, no doubt sometimes repackaged as MP3s, I would like to make the following polite request. If you must re-encode and repackage this work, do please at least include these notes (the info.txt file) in the archive and do not alter them in any way. Thank you.