This Day in ’79: Kate Bush Kicks Off Her First Tour

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
This Day in Music

40 years ago today, Kate Bush kicked off her very first concert tour, one which lasted for a little over a month and left audiences speechless with the way Bush had expressed her creative vision.

With her popularity rising rapidly as a result of her albums THE KICK INSIDE and LIONHEART, the time for Bush to tour had arrived, but although she was offered the chance to open for Fleetwood Mac, she decided that she wanted to headline her our show, one which would utilize audio technology, narrative storyline, and visual productions to deliver a combination of music, dance, poetry, mime, burlesque, magic, and theater.

Yes, that was quite the elaborate plan Bush had, but she wasn’t the sort of artist who said, ‘I want this, this, this, and this, now you go make it happen while I take a nap.” No, she was reportedly involved in virtually every aspect of the tour, from the design to the rehearsals to the performances.

The tour technically kicked off in Poole on this date in 1979, but it should be noted that it was always considered to be a warm-up gig. The show itself went well, but it proved to be a difficult evening in the end, as Bill Duffield, the lightning engineer for the tour, was killed after falling from one of the stage and seating structures at the venue. It’s notable that the May 12 date of the tour was turned into a benefit concert for Duffield’s family, with Peter Gabriel and Steve Harley performing that evening as well.

The so-called “Tour of Life” was a smash success, and if you’d like to get a feel for how it went, check out this video, which – thanks to a very industrious fan – features a performance of every song played during the course of the tour.

There was one significant problem with “The Tour of Life,” however, and that was the fact that it so exhausted Kate that she opted out of doing it ever again. Well, unless you count the residency she did at the London Apollo, that is, but even at that, it still took her 35 years to give it another go!