Just back back after a 3 hour gruelling drive - stuck on the M25 for most of the journey Anyway, what a fantastic concert last night - I will write a full report later but for now, here are afew shots to keep you going. Oh yes, and the new song - hopefully there may be a surprise in store regarding that It was wonderful.
Just looking in quickly to give you the set list from last night:
FIRST HALF Prayer Sacrborough Fair The Water Is Wide Songbird The Mummers' Dance Amazing Grace Shenandoah Danny Boy
SECOND HALF I Know You By Heart Never Saw Blue Pokarekare Ana River of Dreams Talk To Me* Santa Lucia Both Sides Now Wuthering Heights
ENCORE Hine e Hine
'Talk To Me' was co-written by Hayley and Beth Orton (that name is about right but I am unsure of the spelling). Hayley accompanied herself on piano!
It was another suberb evening (apart from the weather!) and it was great to meet up with so many regular members once again. Most pleasing was to meet up at last with our friends Rodders (scoobedoo) from New Zealand and Tom (phototeach) from Michigan. Hope to see you guys again sometime.
I won't steal Mark's thunder (we certainly had some yesterday), but I will tell a couple of amusing anecdotes. After Hayley had arrived, most of us went down for a meal in one of the seafront cafés. I was sitting with Peter who ordered a brunch followed by a cream tea, so he managed to devour breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea in a single sitting!
Walking back up to the Pavilion after our meal, Peter and I met Hayley and Dave walking down. Hayley said she was going to see the ocean, so I think she was a little deflated when I told her it was really the Thames Estuary. She later mentioned this during the show. i.postimg.cc/9fYxy370/smilie-big-grin.gif
It was good to see so many HWI members in Southend, and Hayley gave a magnificent performance as always. I'm sure there will be plenty of reports and more photographs to follow shortly.
A Day By The Sea With my bags packed and my directions ‘Googled’ I’m anxious to be on my way to Southend. There is very little traffic on the road and the train is quiet too. It’s also bright and sunny for a change, although there are a few rain storms visible as we sped towards London.
I had tentatively arranged with Roger to catch the 12.30 train from Fenchurch Street station, typically we are waiting for each other in different places but still managed to catch the train. Roger alighting at Westcliffe and I at Southend Central a couple of minutes later.
I found my hotel easily, checked in and changed ready for the evening. I had intended to explore the area and maybe take some pictures on my way to the venue, but there are very heavy black clouds looming from the Westcliffe direction and I decided to try to get to the Cliffs Pavilion before the rain got to me!
Luckily I did, to find Roger and Richard already there, along with a handful of other devotees. Within a very short space of time the weather had turned and we experienced some very heavy rain showers and a most unpleasant wind. The minibus is expected around 4pm we are told.
As we waited for Hayley to arrive, our group began to swell with the arrival of (not necessarily in order!) Martin, Tom, Peter, Thomas, Karsten, Mark, Steve, Stuart and Paddy. During our wait Gordon rang to say that tickets for Hayley's Barbican concert had gone on sale and he was rewarded with a request to book 5 tickets.
We braved the wind and showery rain past 4pm, then past 4.30pm. Several cries were heard along the way as various minibuses proved to be false alarms as we gazed down the road hoping any minute to see a familiar vehicle. “Here they are” I announced, happy that this time it was not a false alarm and within minutes, a happy smiling Hayley was received by her equally happy reception committee with all thoughts of wind and rain banished.
Although they were running quite late, Hayley spent a few minutes chatting and signing whilst Roger introduced her to an already Hayleywowed Tom. I caught her attention to let her now how impressed our Taiwanese members were with her Mandarin pronunciation and that we loved “The Moon Represents My Heart” which seemed to really please her. I also pointed out that she was now 4th in the Tweeter Poll.
With Hayley and her band safely inside the Cliffs Pavilion, we made our way down to the prom in the search of food, eventually settling on one of those places with a covered seating area and settled down to eat.
Thanks for your reports and thanks too Karsten & Grant for your early photos.
I didn't set out until 12.30, as I was driving and the sat nav told me it would take just over 2 hours, I thought I had plenty of time. Alas - not to be as the traffic on the M25 was awful and the journey eventually took me over 3 hours. As it happened, I wasn't the only one who arrived late!
Anyway, I quickly called in at my hotel, checked in, pick up my umbrella and camera, and virtually ran all the way to the venue, as earlier when I had called Grant to tell him I may be later than expected, he told me that Hayley was expected at 4pm Luckily for me, Hayley was very late, so I didn't miss anything
It was great to meet at last Rodders from NZ and Tom, all the way from the states, who as Grant has mentioned, was totally spellbound after being introduced to Hayley I managed a quick 'Hi Hayley' just as she disappeared through the stage door - she was obviously keen to get on with the sound check, although she appeared more than happy to stop to say a few words.
By this time, the sun had come out and our party of HWI ers made its way down on to the sea front (or should I say estuary front - haha) in search of food. Richard appeared to know where we were going, the rest of us following on blindly - but there were indeed a number of places to eat and in the end we settled on a restaurant that looked OK. Gordon arrived just as we were ordering - good timing Gordon! The food was very good, even the view (across the muddy water) of the oil refinery didn't look to bad with the sun out i.postimg.cc/9fYxy370/smilie-big-grin.gif
Anyway, it was back to the venue, where we met up with James and the others ready to take our seats. My thanks go to Paddy, who very kindly offered me a spare ticket for a seat which was much closer to the stage than the one that I had booked very late. It was a great view - thanks Paddy.
The lights went dim, Raven, Tim & Andy had taken there places - and yes, Hayley's pure clear voice rang out from the wings. When she does that, I never fail to get goose bumps
Grant has already mentioned the set list and of course the new song. I spoke to Tim after the show, who told me that Hayley had been a little unsure about performing it. It was obvious that something different was going to happen as when Hayley sat down at the piano, we were of course expecting Sonny!! So when she suddenly asked herself "now which song shall I do?", I wasn't sure what to expect. I could see that she was having a moment of in decision and in the end she went with the new song. It was really lovely, with more complicated piano for Hayley to play and I think an indication of the sort of 'folky' type song we can expect on the new album.
Hayley was extremely relaxed on stage and dealt with a number of potentially off putting incidents with humour and some great ad-libbing. The first incident was a sudden rain storm - Hayley was talking to the audience when she suddenly said "is that water I can hear?" It was indeed, a torrent of water was running down the wall to one side of the theatre and the noise it was making was very loud. A case of 'the water is noisy' instead of 'The Water is Wide' i.postimg.cc/9fYxy370/smilie-big-grin.gif
Raven were once again a great hit, with the girls getting well deserved huge applause.
All too soon the show was over. Grant had spotted the possibility of 2 encore numbers but in the end, just the one number 'Hine' finished the performance. It was a great audience, which i am sure was very much appreciated by Hayley and the other performers.
The water is wider than you think! I’m not sure what time we arrived back at the venue, but it was already filling up and work was well underway to get a sales stand functioning. Martin took the opportunity to hand the precious folder of photographs to Dave with a request for Hayley to choose a winner and two runners up. Disappointing to hear that there will not be a signing but at least Dave’s “We’ll no doubt see you outside later” was reassuring. In the meantime, we had been joined by Rodders and James.
With the auditorium doors open, we took our seats. Although I am in G20, it is fairly central and I have a good view of the stage - particularly the bit where Hayley will be standing! Mark is sitting right in front of me and Paddy a bit along from him. Otherwise, HWI is spread across the theatre.
The lights dimmed, Raven, Andy and Tim arrived on stage and we waited for the concert to begin - and it did so, with Hayley's pure, clear voice filling the auditorium once again. It seemed to me that Hayley’s pause between each a-capella line of Prayer was a little longer tonight, maybe it’s just me but I felt more effect from it.
During the final part of this first song, we could hear a thunderous roar as a very heavy rain shower passed overhead. I didn’t think too much of it at the time but Hayley had obviously noticed people moving about in the balcony. “Is that water?” she said with a surprised giggle. Sure enough water was pouring in above the balcony at stage left and some members of the audience were doing a little rain dance.
This little aside resulted in Hayley having a fit of the giggles and, for what seemed like several minutes, every time she tried to carry on, the giggles returned. “I’m easily distracted” admitted Hayley with yet another giggle. Great stuff. If the audience hadn’t warmed to her before, they certainly had now!
Of course, Hayley's composure soon returned and the concert continued. Dave acknowledge afterwards that Hayley had been on a high and was very pleased with the way the concert had gone. It was a very appreciative audience too, which I’m sure would have boosted Hayley's high. There was another amusing moment that occurred as Hayley introduced her musicians during which Andy managed to make his amp produce a rather rude noise. “Hah! That’s Andy” giggled Hayley which made Andy look sheepish for all of half a second.
Roger has already given the full set list which, apart from a couple of changes remained as per previous River of Dreams concerts for both Hayley and Raven. What changes there were, came after the interval with Raven opening up with a new piece for them; Natalie’s arrangement of Bolero which was superb.
The highlight of all the River of Dreams concerts for me has been Hayley's first song in the second half. I don’t know what it is about “I know You By Heart” which I had never heard until I saw the video of Sophie singing it. I loved the song then but when I heard Hayley sing it, well, I was blown away and still am every time I hear it – I just don’t want it to end. It still gives me goose bumps, sorry, I mean fuzzies.
I think too that most of the audience knew Hayley's music quite well by the amount of applause that accompanied the beginning of Pokarekare Ana, but it was when Hayley moved towards the piano that things really changed. She made quite a fuss about getting the microphone right. It usually won’t stay where she wants it but tonight she fetched Dave out to assist which, I thought at first was because his mum was in the audience. But when she said she couldn’t make up her mind which song to sing, I was puzzled to say the least.
Was she psyching herself up to do this new one? Was she teasing? I guess we’ll never know but, the fact that there is a new song called “Talk To Me” is history now and those lucky enough to be at Southend last night were the very first to hear it live. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it is a lovely song and quite folksy, and, as Mark has already said, a much more complicated piece for Hayley to play. But play it she did and in a very accomplished way to.
And so another great night of Hayley entertainment ended with “Wuthering Heights” and “Hine” and we began to make our way out of the auditorium. Tom has a glazed expression on his face and is clearly suffering from a severe case of Hayleywowedness.
Guess which one is Hayley With the HWI contingent gathered together and whilst Raven were doing some signing by the sales stand, we made our way out into a pleasant evening. “This is going to be fun” I thought to myself as we came up behind the already sizeable queue at the stage door waiting for Hayley.
In fact, it proved to be one of the most difficult stage door encounters I have experienced from a photographic point of view. Perhaps because the stage door opened outwards and because it was virtually blocked by fans, Hayley and Dave came out from a different direction and were promptly surrounded 360 degrees by fans eagre for Hayley to sign something.
Of course everything was good natured but it was almost impossible to get good pictures. On top of that, with so many people, it was inevitable that things were going to be hurried or they could have been there for hours. I did manage a few reasonable pics. and will post some of those after I get back from Swansea on Monday.
As it was, I just managed a quick “See you in Swansea!” which Hayley acknowledge with a thumbs up and “Ah yes, Swansea” Guess I’d just reminded her that her River of Dreams tour was still not quite at an end.
Within minutes they were driving away, leaving us to say our goodbyes and go our separate ways. This left just seven of us walking back towards Southend along Westcliffe Parade. I chuckled to myself pointing out to Roger that he and I were the only two Brits out of the seven. The others were Rodders (NZ) Tom (USA) Thomas and Karsten (Germany) and Paddy (Ireland).
Just how international can you get!
Best wishes Grant
Footnote: There were five of us at breakfast in my hotel this morning, both the other couples were also at the concert last night!