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Kate Bush - Live At Hammersmith
Label: Pid
Release: 1981

Tracklisting:
Moving
Them Heavy People
Violin
Strange Phenomena
Hammer Horror
Don't Push Your Foot On The Heartbrake
Wow
Feel It
Kite
James And The Cold Gun
Oh England, My Lionheart
Wuthering Heights


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The only Labushka live document available, "Live At Hammersmith Odeon" was recorded in 1979, on the last date of Kate Bush'sonly tour, the Tour of Life. It's also available on video too - that version, naturally due to the outstanding visual performances, recieves a massive 10, but as it is, we're concentrating on the CD here, so we'll just go with that.

Generally, these live renditions are faithful to the albums, and don't fare as well as they do on the video version, mainlydue to the lack of Kate's outstanding visual accompaniment. The biggest sufferer here is "Hammer Horror", due to the factthat Kate, due to the hectic dance movements that occupy this song, couldn't sing it live, so the vocal from the album trackis used. Unbelievable on the video, but doesn't sound that good on the CD.

Although mostly, the songs work fine on this CD - there's enough change to justify this CD release. And Kate is fully able to perform the incredible vocal workouts on these songs live - along with doing all those movements. Some of the songsare extended - "Them Heavy People" is given an extended coda, and "Heartbrake" is given an extended intro, while "Kite" and"James and the Cold Gun" both get big jam sections. Plus, there's plenty of embellishments on "Wow", "Lionheart", "Moving"and particularly "Wuthering Heights" to give all of those performances big thumbs up.

The only other more unfortunate numbers that aren't really done any justice to on this CD are "Strange Phenomena" and "FeelIt" - absolutely nothing to do with the performances, as they're both performed very well, but "Phenomena" in particular misses the spacey costumes and top-hat craziness that's on the video, and on "Feel It", you generally just miss the sight ofKate at the piano. You do get a nice treat on this CD (and video) too - an early live performance of Never Forever's "Violin" that is pretty different to the album - different lyrics, and a few less guitar embellishments. Again, though, itmisses those crazy antics in the video.

So the winner, at the end of the day, is "James and the Cold Gun". A pretty standard rocker on the album, here it's transformed into a massive rock monster - performed with extra "oomph" and complete with a great outro jam-a-thon. Once again, the video version trumps it, but it's still great sonically.

So, i'm going to now give this an 8 - although this shouldn't reflect on the performances. Every song is performed excellently - but it doesn't really paint the picture of just what happened on this tour - I cannot stress how essential thevideo is. Even that didn't paint a full picture, as it only featured an hour of a 2 1/2 hour set, but it's still an absolutely amazing live document. I'm not going to spoil that video - i'll just say that it's absolutely essential in orderto enjoy these performances fully. Here on the CD though, the songs do lose some of their effect when not combined with thevisuals, and so it suffers. A high 8 - but buy the video before you buy the CD.

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