I make it no small secret that I love Kate Bush. I think she’s a fabulous musician with an actual perspective on art, life, and music and deserves all the accolades that come her way.
When I heard rumor that she might somehow be involved in the London Olympics Closing Ceremony, I chose not to get my hopes up. After NBC opted to cut out the tribute to the 7/7 victims because they were afraid Americans wouldn’t get it, what chances would the eccentric and lesser known Kate Bush have on their primetime coverage? Couple that with how few appearances Kate Bush makes nowadays and I wasn’t going to work myself up to be disappointed.
My cautious approach paid off. Kate Bush was involved in the ceremony. NBC did cut her performance. And she, herself, did not appear on the broadcast at all.
Kate Bush recorded a new version of “Running Up that Hill” for a beautiful tribute to the struggle of human achievement. The original song is a reflection of the differences between genders and how men and women can never fully understand each other because they can never fully experience how they other half lives. In the context of the closing ceremony, the song becomes a tribute to failure, success, and–above all else–perseverance in the pursuit of excellence at the games.
A group of men and women, clad in white, begin pushing and carrying large blocks to the center of the arena. They are forming a literal hill on which to rise upon. As the dancers recreate Kate Bush’s choreography in between moments of construction, a sharply cut montage of Olympic highlights are shown. You see winners and losers, joy and sorrow, and the hope that if you keep trying, you can learn to accept yourself as a winner.
It’s a brilliant twist on a great song and the staging made it something truly special.
Unfortunately, NBC is really trying to crack down on this video footage. This morning, Rich Juzwiak’s post on Gawker was the only place to see the full performance. Now, it’s been chopped down to just an out of context minute, as pointless as a photo of Bjork standing with the Olympic athletes at the Athens games trapped underneath her billowing ocean of a dress. It’s needlessly confusing and insulting to assume that the viewer needs to be protected from a message that isn’t “We’re #1″ or “Go for the Gold.”
It is such a shame that artistic statements like this are blocked from every reaching a mainstream audience. I don’t care at this point who is responsible for cutting the song from the broadcast. The real outrage is seeing a systematic effort to erase it from existence after the fact.
Thoughts? I’d be able to write more about the new arrangement but the Olympic edition of “Running Up that Hill” isn’t even available for sale in the US. That Kate Bush is a crafty one. What do you think? Sound off below. Love to hear from you.