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Review of I WANNA BE KATE

By Mike Mendelson

I WANNA BE KATE CD Release Party -- Review and Kudos

I just wanted to put in a good word for Tom Dunning and his cast of local artists who exceeded my expectations at a 5 or so hour-long show this past Thursday night (10-8-98). I am still amazed with how smoothly it ran, what with 12 or so different permutations and combinations of most of the people who performed tracks on the album appearing. Each group did their (or someone else's) Kate song plus a couple of their own songs. I have lived in Chicago for 8 years and admit to never really ever having gone out of my way to get into the local music scene... I am familiar with lots of the names just from going to shows of mostly out-of-town artists that I like and the odd person might open. And of course from reading the local arts rags. But this seemed to me like a pretty good cross-section of local talent which I might very well seek out in the future. To this end, the monumental Kate cover project that Tom undertook has served at least a double purpose and I am grateful. What more could I ask for in terms of "show local artists who have at least some or at best lots of Kate sensibility" since KT has always been the center of my musical locus (well, at least since the mid-80's when I discovered her music). The unqualifiedly most moving moment of the evening was when Tom himself performed Not This Time ("The best Kate song ever!" According to him :-) ) with a supporting cast of thousands. Other highlights for me were the string ensemble (2 cellos, 2 violins, a viola) on And Dream Of Sheep (When's the last time you saw a string quintet in a bar??!), and Nora O'Connor's cover of Saxophone Song (also with lots of supporting musicians). And I enjoyed the (mostly) a cappella musings of Plunging Necklines (a cappella is one of my major weaknesses -- and avocations). But in all, it was the magnitude of the feat and the synthesis of the moment that made for me a joyous evening and what may well be the closest I ever get to seeing a "Kate Bush concert." And what it underscored even more tellingly was how easy it would be for Kate herself to put together a tour and reclaim her live diva status. But we already knew that.

~ mjm


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