OK folks, I've written a review. Not sorted or even looked at the photos yet though.
Review Their Finest Hour - Nottingham 2 August 2010 - Cahrity concert for the RAF Benevolent Fund
I worked in the morning but had half a day off. Sue had worked the previous night, so needed to get up. We planned to try to ne at Nottingham around 3pm.
So having driven home from Rugby, quickly changes and we set off up the M1 for what was about a 40 minute journey. We took Grant's advice, and left the car at the Phoenix Park Park and Ride, and took the tram into central Nottingham. And no, bus passes from outside Nottingham don't work!
When we arrived it was raining a bit. We were in shirstsleeves, Sue having persuaded me to remove my waterproofs from my rucksack. It was exactly 3pm.
We got off the tram right outside the Royal Centre. No sign to be seen of any HWI people, although some had said they would be there from around noon. The main entry of the theatre is impressive, with stone pillars, but that wasn't the way into the hall, which is round the side. So we carried on, thinking the HWI folk might be outside the entrance to the hall. No such luck, nobody there, and was just thinking about looking for the stage door when we saw Mark striding towards us. So Sue me and Mark continued round until we had almost circumnavigated the building, when we found the stage door and the HWI group sheltering in a recess beside the stage door. If they had been out in the open we would have seen them immediately we got off the tram! Joyce then told us that Hayley had already arrived, 15 minutes beforehand.
I was pleased to meet Mike (Hammer) again, meet David from Edinborough for the first time, as well as renew acqaintance with all the others. Later Stephany, Belinda and Grant appeared, with his party. It was the first time I had met Belinda, and a long time since I had seen Stephany, over 2 years.
Then, as Grant has said, it was off to Wetherspoons for the traditional repast, which was good value as always, although we had to move to a different room upstairs to get any coffee.
Then we wandered back to the theatre, and were able to get into the foyer and soon into our seats for the performance.
Sue and I were four rows back, Grant and his group at the front, then George and Desnise appeard 2 rows hehind us, having earlier gone to the wrong Wetherspoons. The hall was mostly full, although I noticed that the upper tier of seats, (the upper circle?) was not in use and completely empty..
This evenings band was the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, one that had not performed before at any of these concerts, which explains why Hayley had arrived earler than usual, to have more time for rehearsal.
The members of the band soon wandered onto the stage, looking smart in their uniforms. I looked at the layout on stage. The conductor's podium was in the middle, right in front of me, there was a lectern to the left and a microphone and table with a water bottle to the right. Right, that's where Hayley will be.
There was an empty seat in the row in front of me, just to my right and directly in line with Hayley's microphone. A nice gap for photography I thought. The rules appeard to be that photography was allowed, or nothing was seen to suggest that it wasn't, although video cameras and sound recorders were banned. Now of course I use a still camera, so that should be all right, even if it is also capable of high definition video.
The band sat down, then promptly stood up again as we all did for the National Anthem. Following this, the band launched into a superb rendition of Mars, the Bringer of War from Holst's The Planets. Very dramatic, and set the scene for what followed. During this piece, the Narrator, Squadron Leader Tom Jones, started the narration, and I have to admit that I dind't catch all of the words, as he was speaking over the band which was still playing "Mars". But this was the only time that he did that, and there was no problem hearing the rest of his narrations.
I cannot remember everything that the band played, perhaps I should have made notes, but after a couple more peices Hayley was introduced, and walked onto the stage to sing "Bluebirds over the White cliffs of Dover. Then she walked off the stage and the band music continued. But she reappeared later. Insterspersed with narrations and Band pieces, and at one time the sound of a Merlin engine, Hayley also sang "A Nigtingale Sang in Berkeley Square" and "Danny Boy" before the close of the first half.
Both Hayley and the band were in fine form. A couple of those songs I had never heard her sing before, but she did so superbly, and before I knew it the first half was over, a thoroughly enjoyable 45 minutes or so of music.
The second, rather longer half, brought more of the same. From time to time I attempted to take the odd photo, but I know there are those in front of me with much better cameras, so I might not have much worth posting. Time will tell, I haven't looked yet.
Now wearing her new red dress, Hayley continued, with "As Time Goes By" and "Pokarekare Ana, the narrator mentioning Hayley's great uncle, Squadron Leader Gerry Westenra, who flew in the Second World War, (not the Battle of Britain) and shot down 8 enemy aircraft.
The band pieces included several well known film themes such as the Dambusters March and 633 Squadron, as well as medleys of Glen Miller tunes and popular "London" tunes. And of course, the essential RAF March. All played brilliiantly, and several solo instrumenatlists showed us that these guys are superb musicians.
Eventually Hayley returned to give a fantastically moving rendition of "Abide with Me" . She sang it exactly as she does on Treasure, starting off a capella, the highlight of the show for me. I heard somebody neaby quietly say WOW! at the end. I have to admit I was a bit naughty at this stage, and gave in to the temptation to press the record button on my camera. Have you ever tried to hld a camera steady when there are chills shooting up and down your spine. And in addition, when evertime anyone nearby moves, the whole row of seats moves under you. Haven't seen the result yet, and don't know if I dare post it anywhere anyway.
This was basically the end of the concert, except for "We'll Meet Again" as an encore. We all knew it was coming.
At the end Hayley and the band received a well deserved standing ovation. I think it applied to the narrator too.
All in all, a wonderful and truly enjoyable show. A wonderful exhibition of superb musicianship. But then, I know from experience that Hayley never disappoints.
So then it was out to the stage door to say hello to Hayley. As always I hung back to let those who were meeting Hayley for the first time spend their few seconds with her, get their programmes and other objects signed etc., a task that Hayley always appears to relish. In the end, "hello" was all I did get to say to her, although I wanted to ask her about her recording for the new album, don't know if anyone else did.
And then it was off back to London for Hayley, and for us to go our separate ways, although Grant's party and Graham also used the tram back to Pheonix part. Then back down the M1 to the sound of Odyssey. It seemed a quick journey, we were home by "May it Be".
This has been my first Hayley concert this year, and well worth the wait.
This was my first Hayley concert, it was a pleasure to meet you all . Not knowing my way around Nottingham i was gettind a taxi everywhere ,i didn't realise my hotel was only two streets away , but would never have found it by myself on foot . To hear Hayley sing live for the first time was a wonderfull experience , i hope to see her again in the future .