Last week we voxpopped on what Kate Bush's live residency at the Eventim Apollo this autumn might entail. In this series of more detailed predictions, we explain what we think the show (according to its title and the imagery released for it so far) will actually be all about.

To be fair, our predictions are less the work of clairvoyance and more back-alley detective's inference. After all, Kate's new publicity shot, as depicted on Before The Dawn's press release, hints heavily at a revisit of 1985's concept suite, The Ninth Wave. Similarly, the title itself is more than just a nod at the underlying idea behind Aerial's a-day-in-a-life masterpiece, A Sky of Honey.

In this, Part I, we consider The Ninth Wave.

This is Kate, in the role of Shakespeare's Ophelia, wearing a life jacket and stranded in the cold water, as shown on the back of the Hounds of Love cover. And here is another image from the same photo-shoot, taken by Kate's brother, John Carder Bush:

29 years later, Kate appears on the promotional image for Before The Dawn almost entirely submerged in the water, wearing an orange life jacket. The similarities are clearly more than coincidental. There have been some complaints online about the emergence of this image during the search for the lost Malaysian aircraft and its survivors but while the timing may be a case of bad luck, Kate's idea is, without question, an indication that this highlight chapter of her career will feature substantially in her new show.

Occupying the second side of Kate's fifth album, Hounds of Love, the moody - at times sinister - piece is the complete antithesis to the pop hard-hitters of side A, four of which gave Kate some of her most famous singles: 'Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)', 'Cloudbusting', 'Hounds of Love' and 'The Big Sky'.

Spanning seven songs, The Ninth Wave is said to have been inspired by the poet Lord Alfred Tennyson and the painter Ivan Aivazovsky. Lord Tennyson's 'The Coming of Arthur" includes the following lines, quoted by Kate on the sleeve:

"Wave after wave, each mightier than the last,
Till last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep
And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged
Roaring, and all the wave was in a flame"

Aivazovsky's 1850 painting, The Ninth Wave, shows a group of people stranded at sea, holding on to the wreckage of the vessel on which they were sailing before being hit by a storm. These two sources, combined, have a strong presence in the thematic drive behind Kate's The Ninth Wave.

The suite of songs starts with 'And Dream of Sheep'. "Little light shining/ Little light will guide them to me", Kate opens. The red light in her Before The Dawn photograph is that signalling, I'm-here, help light aimed at attracting the attention of a rescue crew or even just a passing ship. And so the story of a woman lost at a vast, lonely sea begins. "If they find me racing white horses they'll not take me for a buoy", she continues, with the fervent spraying of water being likened to horses, so as to ensure the stranded is not mistaken for an inanimate object. The piano backing is accompanied here and there by the sounds of voices on communication radio: "Attention shipping information in sea areas, Bell Rock, Tiree, Cromarty, Gale East, Malin, Sellafield".

On 'Under Ice' the plot thickens like freezing water. Our heroine is trapped under the ice, as seen by a skating figure: "There's something moving under/ Under the ice/ Moving/ Under ice/ Through water/ Trying to get out of the cold water". The simple, string-laden soundbed helps instil the growing chill. On 'Waking The Witch' the implication is that she has been pulled out of the water. Rescuers endeavour to wake her up but she is not compos mentis. It's a jarring, noisy, thumping cut that soundtracks the character's hypothermia and decline.

But death is not a saviour in this instance. On 'Watching You Without Me', the ghost of the protagonist is agonised by a visit to her lover, observing him waiting for her to return home. "You can't hear me/ You can't hear what I'm saying/ You can't hear what I'm saying to you/ You watch the clock move the slow hand, I should have been home hours ago/ But I'm not here". The subtle but grabbing percussion and heavy-hearted vocals make the mood of this song enthralling. "Can't let you know what's been happening/ There's a ghost in our home/ Just watching you without me", she sings and the song leads to a section where the attempts of the ghost to make contact with her partner are imagined as skewed, reversed vocals. On the title-track of her second album, Ghosts, Siobhan Donaghy paid homage to this section with the vocal recordings being reversed in their entirety.

For many, the musical highlight of The Ninth Wave is Jig of Life, where - against the backdrop of a Celtic tremor - the character contacts her future self: "Never never say goodbye/ To my part of your life". It is an urgent, stunning song which also features an incantation/rap from Kate brother, John.

On 'Hello Earth', Kate sings: "With just one hand held up high/ I can blot you out, out of sight/ Peek a boo/ Peek a boo, little Earth". At six-minutes long, this song never outstays its welcome. The piano and bouzouki accompanied sung parts are broken up by the hums of a choir's interval. "All you sailors get out of the waves, get out of the water/ All life savers, get out of the waves, get out of the water/ All you cruisers, get out of the waves, get out of the water/ All you fishermen head for home/ Go to sleep little Earth".

The storm is over. Now comes the morning fog and the sonic change brought with it is a shining light of relief. "I am falling/ Like a stone/ Like a storm/ Being born again/ Into the sweet morning fog". Kate leaves things on a positive, happier note: "I'll kiss the ground/ I'll tell my Mother/ I'll tell my Father/ I'll tell my loved one/ I'll tell my Brothers/ How much I love them".

Almost thirty years on, The Ninth Wave remains a stellar career high in Kate Bush' s nigh-on-perfect discography. Moreover, it doesn't age and continues to be poignant and engaging. We are so excited to hear it performed live.

In our forthcoming Part II, we will be discussing A Sky of Honey.