The Concert In Depth Opening with ‘A Thousand Winds’ was a stroke of pure genius by Hayley in my book – it is a beautiful and very moving song and would almost certainly have captivated every living soul within earshot within seconds.
I think it is just as well that I didn't know what was coming. That song has a very special meaning for me. I didn't actually recognize the orchestral opening but I was awash with emotions from the moment Hayley started to sing.
Time now to find out how tonight’s signing session will run. The Pavilion auditorium doors are directly opposite the external doors so the queue will have to be formed away from this area. Cleverly, the queue is forming down a side corridor and will not be allowed to the signing table until the auditorium has cleared. In actual fact, it turned out that people were kept there until it was their turn with Hayley which worked very well for us photographers. One thing that worked very well at Bournemouth was that one of the ladies managing the signing was obviously well used to such sessions and was not waiting to be asked to take pictures but took it upon herself to take charge of cameras and camera phones for those wanting pictures and this seemed to speed up the process. It still took around an hour so I’m guessing that Hayley would have spent some six and a half hours at her signing table during the tour – wonder how many people she saw?
I don't know what it was like at other venues but I was impressed with the way the signing was handled. Gianluca began working his way down the queue before Hayley emerged; signing programmes, posing for photos and generally chatting. He seemed very friendly and really pleased to have been there. Then I liked the way the staff controlled access to Hayley's table, giving each person space for their moment with her and avoiding the scrum that so often seems to characterize signing sessions.
And so to the theatre. I had been exchanging texts with Jon, and it seemed he was on his way, but I had never met him, and had no idea what he looked like. I hung around in the foyer for as long as i could with no sign of him, before turning off my phone and heading for my seat. My seat was central, in the front row of the circle, which I had hoped might be a good place for photography. Unfortunately there was a brass rail in front of me at camera height, but somehow I managed to circumvent the problem whilst still being able to conceal my camera. And so to the show. The band assembled on stage, the lights went down and the conductor David Laugharne came out to applause. Thet everything fell silent, waiting for our princess. A song came to mind.
"The world is quiet and waiting, And all around the air is still, Then sings the Angel"
But no, it wasn't that song. She started with 1000 Winds, from her first Japanese Songs album. A great way to start a show. I think it was Gordon who observed that she started the show with a funeral song, and ended the first half with a wedding song. And then, after a brief chat with the audience, straight into Paradiso, with the first two songs on the album, Whispers in a Dream and Profumo di Limone. I love the sound of Hayley's voice whatever backing she has, even if she has none, but I have to say that the orchestra were superb. The sound delightfully balanced, no doubtn down to Arnaud, and the whole thing sounded wonderful. Also, although when she sings her older songs like 1000 Winds, I expect her to sound better than she did on the album, since she has had time to develop since they were recorded, but I felt that applied to the Paradiso songs too. Her voice seemed somehow more powerful and expressive, and I have no doubt that those songs have never been sung better than they were on this tour. In fact we were spoiled. It is hard to pick out highlights; every song was a highlight. And every song was sung better than ever before. Often slightly differently to the way we are used to hearing them on the CD. After "Profumo", a change of tempo, The Mummers' Dance, which has always been one of my favourites. The trouble with that one is Hayley moveed about, which makes it impossible to follow with a video camera when you can't look at the screen. I have never managed a decent video of that one. Le Note Del Silenzio was next, and this was a first for me, the first time I have heard that song performed live (well, actually it was the second, since I was at Northampton, but you know what I mean - when I say first time I'm talking about the tour, not the actual show, as it saves me writing this description again for Northampton). A duet with Gianluca Paginelli, who I thought was excellent. I can see him having a great future. Again probably the best performance ever of that song (which incidentally Hayley co-wrote), since I always felt that Hayley was overpowered a bit by Bocelli on the Odyssey version. Gianluca didn't overpower Hayley at all, plus there was the togetherness that you can only get from a live performance. The Odyssey version was, I understand recorded separately in London and Italy by the two singers, then spliced together in the studio. That can never be as good as a live performance, despite the high regard I have for Bocelli as a singer. Hayley then left the stage to allow Gianluca to do his slot, No Other Love and the tango Jalousie, of Raven fame, from his forthcoming album "Tango". I enjoyed his singing very much. Hayley came back, and I should add that she looked stunning in her red silk dress and very high heels. This time to sing Who Painted the Moon Black, Songbird, La Califfa and perhaps my favourite of the first half, My Heart Belongs to You. Like some others, I'm sure that Hayley, when she sings, relates the songs to her own life experience, which helps her to express the emotions behind the songs. I think she also, as she gradually changes her setlists, chooses to add songs that reflect where she is now. This song is a prime example. We probably don't know about the experiences that she relates to some of ther other songs, but this one is a joyful song of commitment to a loved one, and you felt that she meant every word of that lyric. Such joy, such power, such commitment, fabulous. This is the other song from the first half that I had never heard live before this tour. And then the interval. Gosh, that came round quickly. Too quickly, as always at Hayley's shows. I had attempted several videos, but pointing the camera without viewfinder or screen to guide me, and hoping for the best is not ideal. In the event, nothing from the first half was usable as a video, although I do have the (rather poor quality ) sound recordings of course. I might make them available at least, although I suspect I'll have to clean them up a bit first.
During the interval I switched on my mobile phone, to see if I had a message from Jon, and sure enough I had. He was outside in the foyer. And I was sitting inside, with his ticket. So I texted him the seat number, and went out to look for him, although I had no idea what he looked like. More texts were exchanged, to let him know where I was standing, but when the announcemant came for the start of the second half, I still hadn't found him, and returned to my seat to be told by the lady beside me that he had been there a moment ago. So I sat and waited, and a couple of minutes later Jon turned up.
The second half started with Gianluca singing two numbers, Shine and Hernando's Hideaway, both excellent. I really like this guy, and having met him at Northampton, took a liking to him, even if he does struggle to pronounce Hayleys name. I don't blame him for that, plenty of English speaking people get that wrong too! Gianluca was then replaced by Hayley, who sang Summer Fly, another song where she moved about, Pokarekare Ana, which was stunning as always, unfortunately my camera misfired on that one. And then another blockbuster, perhaps my favourite performance in a show full of favourite performances. Amalia Por Amor. Hearing Hayley sing that at Northampton at a range of six feet was the experience of a lifetime. This time I has further away, but was still blown away. So much power and passion. Much as I love Hayley's gentlenees and delicacy in some songs, when she belts it out like Amalia shivers go down my spine. A quite simply incredible performance, that I'm sure few if any other classical crossover singers could get near. What could she follow that with? Something completely different, I Knew I loved You, accompanied only by Tim on the piano. A song where Hayley's voice was pushed more to the fore than with the orchestral arrangements. Although I would say that for the Praradiso performances, she had chosen the songs from the album where the voice was most prominent, and the sound mix was more balanced towards Hayley, with the backing given less prominence than on the CD. Next was Metti Una Sera a Cena. The song where getting the breathing right is everything. I know that she had found that difficult on some of the early live performances of this song that I have seen recordings of, but tonight she got it spot on. Another great performance. After that Hayley was joined by Gianluca for the duet Vivo Per Lei. Another one I had never seen Hayley sing live before this tour, and I loved it. Another "happy" love song about lifelong commitment. It was wonderful. But not all of Hayley's songs are happy, although most are. The next song certainly is not, I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. I've always loved this song despite its pain, and I love to hear Hayley sing it, though quite where she got the life experience to sing it so powerfully and convincingly we don't know, perhaps it is best not to ask! Both sides now is another song about life experience, and considering how young Hayley was when she first started singing it, it's amazing she did it and does it so well. But this is a song, perhaps more than any other, that seems to have grown and matured with Hayley as she has developed as an artist. Hayley introduced the song saying that she is a fan of singer-songwriters. Me too. And I get the impression she would like to develop her career in that direction herself. I would love to see her do that!
These days I always feel a pang of sadness when I hear the intro to Wuthering Heights. She has taken to closing her shows with it a lot, although we know she has been doing that for years from time to time. It is sad becuase it measn the show is nearly over, and I wanted it to go on forever! Nonetheless, she has made that song her own. I wonder what Kate Bush thinks about that! And she always performs it brilliantly, again a million times better than the recording on Pure. Towards the ens of the songs, she waves us good bye, thanks us and walks off the stage. The end?? Well, no not quite. There are the three encores to come. Much applause, and shouts of "more" from the audience. You can never get enough Hayley. So she returns, and Tim makes room hor her at the piano. Now I had thought she had learned the lesson about playing the piano in a long dress years ago, but it seems not. We've even known her to deliberately choose a shorter dress that would not get caught up when she knew she was going to be playing. And surely she wasn't SURPRISED that we wanted more was she? So after the usual struggle and shoe removing ritual, she launched into Sonny. A song that I gather goes back a long way with Hayley. And one she performs brilliantly. I do know i have a video of this one that is good enough for YouTube with a bit of tweaking, but it is from Northampton, so I'll post that on the Northampton thread sometime. This was followed by Amazing Grace, wonderful as always, before Hayley pretends the show is finished, knowing full well that we will want her back to perform her third encore, Never Saw Blue, another happy love song that she has revived in the last few months. After that it really was the end. Another fabulous show that went by far to quickly.
Hello everyone! Thanks so much for all of your photos, videos, and reviews! They are all just amazing. I'm glad y'all had a great time. And, I was wondering if someone would be kind enough to put up scans of that lovely looking programme. Pleeeaaaase???
It was for sale during the Paradiso Tour and is available on Amazon
I've just had a look on Amazon and from what I've heard from the previews of the tracks on his album he has a pretty good voice...I think I'm even more jealous of those who got to go to these concerts than I was before- he certainly sounds like a wonderful duet partner- and to hear Le Note del Silenzio live must have been incredible! I think I might have to buy this album... Thanks again for all the wonderful photos and reviews- Hayley certainly looks happy and beautiful as always in all of them
best wishes Sing
“The only time success occurs before work is in the dictionary." "Embrace the thing that makes you, you. Embrace the thing that makes you unique, work as hard as possible and be nice to people." Josh Groban Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to it
For me at least, a Hayley show is never over when she leaves the stage. She has to get out of the building, and is often quite happy to sign things and meet her fans. But tonight, like all the shows on this tour, there was an official signing. As Grant has said, the theatre staff had got their act together, and things worked well. There was even space for we HWI types to stand and offer our help as we do. Jon had never met Hayley, and was keen to do so, so I suggested he join the queue. Hayley came out about 10.10, and in her usual way proceeded to work her way through the queue of people waiting to meet her, get their programmes, CDs and tickets signed, and have their photos taken with her. I just love being at these events. It is nice to see so many people loving their few moments with Hayley. I just love the happiness that abounds at these signings, even if I have nothing to be signed myself. If we are lucky, we HWI folk get a couple of minutes with Hayley at the end. Jon, as he approached the front of the queue, was keen to give me his camera. When he got to Hayley, he had some things signed, and was about to walk away until i reminded him about the photo. That's what Hayley can do I know, especially the first time you meet her. She makes you forget everything, just as her music makes you forget your troubles and relax and enjoy it. She has a wonderful gift. I had two attempts at the photo, since the first time i feared I had cut their heads off (I hadn't), and in any case the second one was much better, Jon exhibiting that grin that I have seen on so many people (including myself) when they are in close proximity to Hayley. At one point during the signing, one of the people telephoned a family member, and Hayley had a chat with her. It was lovely of Hayley, that she was happy to do that. All too soon it was all over, and we went our separate ways. The fountain outside the theatre I thought looked lovely with the light shining through it.
That photo doesn't do it justice.
There is always, along with the feeling of floating on air, a sadness after a Hayley concert. A sadness that it is all over, and especially if you have run out of tickets and don't know when you will see her again. You know that there is nobody like Hayley, and when you are hearing her sing live, there is nowhere in the world you would rather be. Or at least, that's how it works for me. So we said our goodbyes and I walked to the van. The satnav came in useful again, I didn't feel inclined to try to work out a route back to camp, just typed in the postcode and it took me there. The site was in darkness of course, and a new van had appeared next to me that wasn't there this morning. I connected the electricity, drew the curtains and went to bed. It was hard to sleep at first, as it often is after a Hayley show, with the memories buzzing around your head. You don't want to ever forget a single moment, and you go through it, trying to make sure you don't. But eventually sleep came and a good sleep it was too. I woke up at 10.45am, rather later than I had planned. Then it was breakfast, up sticks and home. So overall, a fantastic tour, a fantastic show, I can't wait for the next time. But I'm afraid I will have to. Let's hope it is not as long as last time, it was eight months since I had last seen Hayley perform.