OMG OMG OMG........a dream come true....My heart belongs to you live?! Oh my God....seriously OMG I'm lost for words! Who painted the moon black too omg......Never seen such a magnificent programme list before! Please tell me there're gonna be pro-shot videos for this whole event... And the pics are awesome....however not too fond of the second dress (oh boy, now I'd have to see that in a huge line up of performances XD) Having seen this one, the reiss dress actually looks quite stunning and hayley looks really gorgeous too! Can't wait for more on this...
The Day Begins Had intended to set off around 11.30 yesterday morning but am showered, shaved and ready a little after 10 and ….. well, no point hanging around. By 10.20 the car is loaded and I’m on my way. It’s a 93 mile cross country journey to Kings Lynn for me – no motorways, but a fairly direct route which Google tells me will take 2 hours 27 minutes.
Google wasn’t far out as I pulled into a fairly empty Common Staithes Quay car park directly behind the Corn Exchange theatre. The sun is shining; it’s hot and I’m pleased to see Karsten and Graham are already propping up the wall by the stage door. Gordon is not far away and joins us presently. We have a couple of hours to wait until a dark coloured minibus with darkened windows is spotted negotiating Tuesday Market Place and breaths are held in anticipation of it re-appearing. It does! Arnaud riding shot gun next to new driver/tour manager who Hayley subsequently introduced as “Ash”, with Hayley, Tim and Daniel in the back.
We can hear Hayley’s voice from within the depths of the tour bus for several minutes before she appears with a “Gosh! There are a lot of you here today” (I think our numbers totalled around 8 by that time) I pointed out to Hayley that it had been 7 months since her last UK headline concert and that we had missed her very much. Hayley seemed very happy to see us and to know that she had been missed and spent several minutes chatting and signing various items that had been brought along for that very purpose.
I was pleased to be able to tell Hayley how much I loved the new album and, although she confirmed that we would be hearing something from Paradiso, she was tight lipped about the rest of the set list then, thinking out loud said, “But I think the set list is in the programme” I also asked about future concerts for this year but it seems there won’t be any more than the three we know about. She did, however, confirm that she will be at Ypres in November.
With Hayley safely inside, we had a wander round the local area enjoying the warm sunshine. Martin plus George, Denise and family arrived soon after, missing Hayley by only 15 minutes or so. Time now to cross the road to the Globe Hotel for a drink and a carvery dinner which we were all now very ready for!
That looks like a dream set list- I love the mummers dance and my heart belongs to you- I got the Japanese version of Odyssey specially so that I could have those ones!! Also some of the songs from her Japanese albums on there too which is great and the moon represents my heart, I really hope she records this as every version I have seen on you tube is incredible and thanks for the report Grant, I really hope I get to see Hayley soon in Concert again its been ages and I love to hear her live!
Sorry to keep you waiting for the main part of my report, but this was such a special evening I felt I had to try to do it justice. Here goes then ....
The Concert (Part 1) I had initially considered not looking at tonight’s set list in my programme (as Tim had suggested earlier) and to deposit it in my car for safe keeping – but I’m very glad I didn’t! Having read the set list – and then read it again just to be sure that I had read it correctly the first time – I had! The anticipation of what was to come over the next couple of hours or so would make for a very special evening.
So yes, the set list. After a lot of thought “International”, “Inspirational” and “Mega” are the words that come to mind to best describe it – I had thought at the time that Hayley’s set list for last year’s Buxton concert would take some beating, but then it’s Hayley we’re talking about and anything’s possible isn’t it? How does she do it? This one will take an awful lot to beat it though - and this level of enthusiasm was simmering through fans before Hayley had sung a note!
There are clearly some technical problems to begin with as the auditorium doors are not opened until almost 7.30 and the concert itself didn’t begin until a few minutes past 8 o’clock. This prompted some slow hand clapping from a small percentage of the audience which I and the people round me considered quite unnecessary and most rude. The theatre itself, despite a traditional exterior façade is quite modern with no separate balcony and auditorium seating tiered from front to back. Seating capacity is 720 minus those occupied by Arnaud’s sound desk and this particular concert virtually sold out the day tickets went on sale. I have B13 just off centre from Hayley’s mike stand which is just as I like it.
Hayley’s band tonight comprises Tim on piano James Hayto on guitar; James Turner on drums; Tom Kenrick on double bass/bass guitar; Kerenza Peacock on violin and Bryony James on Cello.
At last Hayley comes out on stage wearing her white Reiss dress. This is the first time I’ve seen Hayley wearing this one and have to say that earlier photographs just did not do it justice – it’s gorgeous – the bodice detail is so delicate and so the concert began - with Hayley singing “A Thousand Winds” a favourite of mine from the Japanese albums and yes, one some of us have heard live before but a very nice surprise nonetheless. Hayley continued her first set with three of her own particular favourites “The Mummers Dance”, “Songbird” and “Pokarekare Ana” – apologising in between for the late start. It was good to see Hayley looking bright and happy when she arrived earlier and to experience live, those changes in her voice that she has referred to in interviews. There is no doubt at all that Hayley is on top form and that’s she’s up there on stage, just a few feet away from me having the time of her life and giving a world class performance to boot - I’m feeling very contented!
Hayley now invites Daniel Boys to the stage. Now, I’m not a great fan of the male voice but I do like powerful ballads and Daniels’s “Anthem” from Chess (one of my favourite shows) was stunning. Daniel also sang “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables which was also superb (Incidentally, this was not in the programme so was omitted from Martin’s set list).
Hayley now returns to stage to sing something I never expected to hear her sing live – “The Moon Represents My Heart” – just amazing – unbelievable. A pity, though, that most of the audience wouldn’t have appreciated what they were hearing as I think I’m correct in saying that this is the first time Hayley has sung this outside Asia. For my part, I gave a fairly loud whoop! as it ended which I think Hayley recognised as mine as she acknowledged it with a grin. I wonder if we shall hear it again? I do hope so. The second set continued with “I Know You By Heart” – always happy to hear that and then another ‘oldie’ is the shape of “My Heart Belongs To You” – I remember Hayley singing this at ‘Toast New Zealand’ back in the summer of 2006 but can’t recall whether or not she has sung it since. The final song of this set and of the first half is a song that Hayley describes as being ‘truly international’ but a quite different “Amazing Grace” with the final verse being treated to a different but most pleasing arrangement.
The Concert (Part 2) After Daniel’s second set, Hayley returned to stage wearing a new and very cute dress. OK, so you’ve already seen it in one of Karsten’s pics so I have no need to describe it but I do like it and hope that we will see it again soon. This set, Hayley opened with “Summer Fly”. It was around this point that Hayley introduced the band – much later than usual but I think she was just “on a roll” but then I guess as long as the band is introduced sometime, it doesn’t really matter when. There was a funny moment here too with Tim poised to begin playing as Hayley stepped away from the mike intending to go for a drink. It seemed for a second that neither was sure what the other would do but, Hayley continued to go for her glass of water; Tim grinned; Hayley giggled; turning to the audience she said “Oh dear! Should I sing or have a drink” adding with her trademark giggle “I’m no good at multi-tasking!”.
Already treated to some of the most beautiful Hayley music ever, the best was still to come (how is that possible?) Hayley began to talk about the new album saying that it was out in … but not seeming sure of the date, I quietly said “the 29th” which she repeated, adding that some have already got it from New Zealand or Australia (there’s a Japanese one too Hayley ) So, “Whispers In A Dream” live – well, I thought I was dreaming – I’ve heard it so many times already but there’s something about hearing ‘that’ song live for the first time and with ‘Whispers’ there’s something very special too – maybe it’s because Hayley wrote the beautiful lyrics. What a night this is turning out to be! – And La Califfa too – awesome!
Can this concert get any better? I ask myself. Well for me it can and is about to. Hayley began to speak about a song that she has known for many years; that she had sung many times when she was much younger but had put it to one side as she began to grow and discover new material. “But, I was asked if I would sing it in a recent concert” continued Hayley, referring to her recent appearance in Malta “So I thought I would sing it for you tonight”. “I Dreamed A Dream” has been one of my favourites from the very beginning. I loved her performance of it as a 13 year old, the video of which is included on Hayley’s “Live In New Zealand” DVD. For seven years I have wondered if I would ever get the chance to hear Hayley sing this song live and, wonder of wonders, I am now about to.
WOW! That was awesome. Hayley nailed it so perfectly – I could feel the emotion in her voice and see it in her face – following every word as she sang. Gosh! So many special songs tonight – how do I choose?? Oh! It has to be I Dreamed A Dream, it’s been with me for so long – just wonderful, so wonderful to hear that live at last!
Well you may be thinking that that was the end of the concert but nope, still more to come. Daniel joins Hayley on stage to duet on “All I Ask Of You” from Phantom – I’m rapidly running out of superlatives! But these mega West End show duets that Hayley does from time to time make me wonder just how long it will be before we see Hayley in a West End show. Just stunning – the audience appreciated it too, but then they’ve been pretty responsive throughout the show and very well deserved it has been.
With Hayley alone on stage once more, the concert drew to a close with “Both Sides Now”, “Who Painted The Moon Black” and “Wuthering Heights” which seems to be Hayley favourite song to close a show with at the moment, leaving the stage with a wave to tumultuous applause. I think it was me that started the shout for more but others soon joined in, ensuring Hayley’s return to stage for an encore. This, her seventeenth song of the evening, was “Never Saw Blue” after which she was presented with a bouquet of roses and left the stage for the final time and we headed outside for ‘afters’. On the subject of roses, I should, at this point, thank Drew for the Hayley Westenra Rose buttonholes presented to some of us before the concert which I had to carefully position in my shirt breast pocket.
Was this my best ever concert? I honestly don’t know – there have been so many and it’s not always a fantastic set list that makes a concert memorable. Sometimes it’s the little things – a special personal moment for instance, is something that Hayley has a knack for creating. Tonight was very special though – certainly one of the best and I for one will remember it for a very long time.
Thank you Hayley for another very special; very memorable evening.
We all know Hayley is a brilliant singer, but..... You are a brilliant reporter !!! To be honest, i was waiting for this wonderful report, by reading it, i gives me the feeling...i was there !!! Thank you so much!!!