Wow Karsten, considering it was no photography allowed during the performance, you have done exceptionally well - they are brilliant shots
Well, I thought I would carry on with my report - filling in around the edges !! Now where did I get to ? - oh yes, Hayley had just finished singing Never saw Blue - wow. As I mentioned earlier and Martin explained, the audience 'warmed up' during the second half following the 'clapping' incident after Stephanie's introduction - that sort of broke the ice I felt. I mentioned to Hayley about it afterwards and she agreed that we had been a good audience !!
Again, I felt the whole performance was extremely polished and slick, with Hayley at her best in every way. Santa Lucia went down a storm and when she sang 'I Know You By Heart' , before the applause started, I overheard the lady sitting next to me say to herself "absolutely beautiful". A few seconds later, she was reaching in her handbag for a paper tissue - that says it all doesn't it
All too soon it was time for 'Wuthering Heights' and as the music fired up, two ladies who were sitting in front of me looked at one another with puzzled faces. I got the impression that they were totally surprised by this choice of song.
By now, the audience were very vocal and the clapping as Hayley waved and said "goodnight" with the 'Wuthering Heights' music still playing, was relentless. Was the whole audience aware that this was the last night of the tour ? I doubt it, but it seemed that way. Hayley then came back on stage to perform 'Hine e Hine' and yes, the same level of applause, which brought Hayley back on stage yet again. Raven, Tim & Andy seemed a little unsure if they should leave the stage after Hine but they did, and Hayley just thanked everyone again and waved goodnight.
After discovering from Tim that Hayley was doing a full indoor signing, we made our way to the end of the queue. It didn't take long to process the orderly line of people waiting to see her and soon almost everyone else had gone and it was our turn. In the meantime, Karsten was taking photos and Martin & I had a chat with Hannah from Bedlam.
When it was my turn to see Hayley, she greeted me with her usual wide smile and that special "Hi" reserved for those who she knows very well - if you know what I mean. I had a CD for her to sign and then we chatted about my early birthday gift. I had really struggled to know what to get her and in the end, I decided on a box of mixed Green & Blacks. She had quite a giggle when I told her how I wasn't sure if I should - given that I knew she had said that she was trying to give up the chocolates ! However, she said it would be a very nice treat. I told her that my first thought was to buy her some flowers but I didn't think they would survive the journey from my home to the venue and then all the way back to London. She said that was a very sweet thought.
The Raven girls in particular were in high spirits at the signing, I suspect because this was the last concert of the tour (officially) and I guess, despite the fact that they had obviously enjoyed themselves, they were feeling a sense of relief at having a break from touring.
It was soon time to go as everyone else had gone home and the theatre staff were anxious to close up. I wished Hayley well for her tour to japan & NZ and told her that I would be following her progress via press and forum reports and that she would be missed, to which she replied " I 'll miss you guys too . With that we thanked the theatre staff for their patience ( it was all very well organised - very impressive) and made our way towards the door. On the way out, we bumped in to Natalie from Raven, it was an extra chance to thank her for another superb performance and to let her know that some of us will see her again in Leamington on May 29th.
Our original intention had been to wait outside to wave Hayley off as the tour bus went by but, in the end we decided to go our separate ways after a short wait, as we thought there may be some sort of reception laid on back stage.
And so, that was the official end of the ROD tour. Many thanks to Martin, Karsten and Paddy for your company once again. Thanks also to everyone involved in making this such a very special tour for so many reasons. Most of all though, thank-you Hayley for, well, just doing what you do best and for just being you
Thanks guys for the reports and photos. I thoroughly enjoy these things, and we still seem to manage to get wonderful photos despite the restrictions on photography, thanks to the considerable skill of our photographers such as Karsten.