Kate Bush has asked fans to put down their iPads at her comeback shows so that the singer and her audience can “share in the experience together”.
The singer returns to the stage at Hammersmith Apollo next week, the scene of her last full concert appearance in 1979.
Bush posted a message on her website, with a “request” for fans attending the shows, which begin next Tuesday.
“We have purposefully chosen an intimate theatre setting rather than a large venue or stadium. It would mean a great deal to me if you would please refrain from taking photos or filming during the shows.
“I very much want to have contact with you as an audience, not with iPhones, iPads or cameras. I know it's a lot to ask but it would allow us to all share in the experience together.”
In a rare communication from the artist, 56, she added that she was “very excited” about the shows and “working very hard in preparation.” She thanked fans who last month sent “lovely wishes for my birthday. I had a wonderful day.”
Previously unseen Kate Bush photos
Previously unseen Kate Bush photos
1/10 Kate Bush
Harari Guido photographed Kate Bush over the course of 11 years
2/10 Kate Bush
A 1993 shot by Guido Harari of Kate Bush from the set of her film The Line, The Cross and the Curve
3/10 Kate Bush
Take in Riva del Garda in Italy in 1982 after a TV show
4/10 Kate Bush
Kate Bush is making a comeback with a series of gigs in 2014
5/10 Kate Bush
This shot was taken on the set of her film The Line, the Cross and the Curve
6/10 Kate Bush
It's me, Cathy. Kate Bush performing 'Wuthering Heights' for photographer Gered Mankowitz in 1978
7/10 Kate Bush
One of Gered Mankowitz's shots of Kate Bush for the US version of her debut album in 1978
8/10 Kate Bush
Kate Bush sitting at her piano
9/10 Kate Bush
Kate Bush in a dramatic shot by Harari Guido
10/10 Kate Bush
To coincide with the comeback concerts, an exhibition of previously unseen photographs of Kate Bush is going on show at Snap Galleries in London
Bush joins a number of musicians who have either politely requested or demanded that fans refrain from viewing their performance through a tiny screen.
Prince introduced a “no photography, no video recording” rule at his gigs. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs posted a blunt message on a sign outside venues: “PUT THAT SHIT AWAY as a courtesy to the person behind you and to Nick, Karen and Brian.”
Jack White asked audiences “not take pictures or videos while holding up their camera phones, etc that block other peoples view or otherwise hinder other fans concert experiences.” The message continued, “Along with that, the bigger idea is for people to experience the event with their own eyes and not watch an entire show through a tiny screen in their hand.”
The London post-punk band Savages offer a philosophical justification: “Our goal is to discover better ways of living and experiencing music. We believe that the use of phones to film and take pictures during a gig prevents all of us from totally immersing ourselves. Let’s make this evening special. Silence your phones.” Bjork, David Byrne and St Vincent have made similar requests.
Roger Daltrey, The Who singer, said it was “weird” to face an audience watching through a lens. “He said: “I really feel sorry for them. Looking at life through a screen and not being in the moment totally – if you're doing that, you're 50% there, right?”
The requests are often ignored. Neko Case is one of the few artists who has threatened to halt a show as a result of flashing camera lights. “Just put away the cameras. It isn’t going to kill you, but it might kill me,” she told her audience in Cincinnati during a moment of frustration.”
Vanity is sometimes the cause of a request to put down camera phones. Artists who wish to control their public image seek to prevent the spread of unflattering pictures or inferior video recordings on social media.
Beyond her request, Bush gave little else away about the hotly-anticipated Beyond The Dream shows, which are set to run for 22 nights and sold out in 15 minutes. “It’s going very well indeed,” she said of the preparations. Bush effectively retired from the live stage after her gruelling 1979 Tour Of Life tour ended at Hammersmith Apollo when she was just 20.