Just some of the words that i would use to describe it, i already have tickets for her next visit to London on Tour next year, the seats don't appearas good but that doesn't matter, you can always stand up.
If memory serves Halyey or Jose were called back for more by the audience 9 times.
Well i'm off to catch some Zzzz's but what a night.
Well it all kicked off at about 19:30 but the hall was full by about twenty past. Hayley wasn't the main feature in terms of quantity of performances, that said Jose Carreras was substitute and not too shabby for a first timer at live shows like myself.
I’ll set the scene, my seat No 3 on row 12 was on the arena floor and I was only 6-9 metres from the front of the stage so there was nothing to obscure my view an all was set for a good evening.
After about a dozen announcements about the ban on cameras, video cameras and picture phones which I really didn’t think they had to say quite so many times the lights dimmed, there was silence around the hall and the Orchestra began with “Farandole” which is from the opera Bizet which lasted about 4-6 minutes. Once the applause had ceased there was nothing for about 20 seconds and then the headliner Jose Carreras walked out toward one of the two microphones prepared and the audience erupted with applause. His first song was “Adestefideles” which I was impressed with. Jose then sang 3 more songs taking us to about just after 8 o’clock.
Finally, what at least I was waiting for and the guy in the seat next to me seemed pretty happy about it too, Hayley walked out to rapturous applause wearing a Pink dress with a flowery pattern to it. Hayley sang “Ave Maria” with Jose which showed two contrasting and pleasing styles and withal due respect to Russel Watson, it made his duet with Hayley that is featured on “Pure” look awful on his part but the two [Jose and Russel] are on different levels which was recognised by those present. Hayley would now sing solo a song that we will be all too familiar with from her album “Amazing Grace”, the live choir and orchestra really do set it apart from the CD, the clarity was something to behold, this performance got the longest applause of the evening so far for which you could not argue with.
Hayley now departed the stage as her performances in part 1 were complete. Jose would now sing twice more before finishing the first half with the “Lords Prayer”.
There was now a 20 minute interval and it was not long after half past eight, some rushed for the Bar but my mission was to find network coverage to check on the football, I had to go to the foyer for a signal to find to my disappointment that not only wee the Arsenal 1 up but Locomotive were down to 10 men. That done I decided to walk back to the arena and my seat for something more pleasing, on the way I heard a middle aged couple saying something to the following affect; “That girl is remarkable, how old can she be 18”. To which I thought in my head, correct but she is 16 not 18.
Once back in my seat there was not long to wait; the first section of part 2 was the Hayley Westenra show; she walked out toward the microphone for the second part wearing a silver dress that fell around her to the floor. She began with a song that I confess I hadn’t heard before “O Holy Night”
Hayley now addressed the audience directly for the first time in the evening and said something similar to this; “I’m now going to sing a song from my native country New Zealand, it is about two people who head out to the ocean and fall in love”, now unless you read the programme you won’t have known what it was called or unless you have the album, got any ideas? Back to Hayley “It is called Pokarekare ana”. Now I’m sure you’ve all heard it many times but to hear it in the flesh is something else believe me
We now turn to a more Christmasy feel with a song from the Christmas bonus disk of the “Pure” album re-release down in Australia and New Zealand, the next song was “Mary Did You Know”; now like some of the others I had heard this before on CD but in the hall with the orchestra it has an obvious and fuller sound to it if that makes any sense to any of you but it is not necessarily a better version but the styles.
Jose now walked back out in his tails for the last official performance for Hayley and it was a duet, it was called “Little Drummer Boy” now it would be stupid for me to continue to keep comparing the different applauses, this isn’t some cheesy TV show, that said it was probably from where I was sitting the loudest of the evening. I had got my moneys worth and everyone else seemed happy and impressed too.
Jose would now sing 5more times and these songs were the longest of the evening and were pretty impressive to the uninitiated like myself; those around me seemed as though this or these performances were what they had been waiting for. Jose would finish the scripted proceedings with “Vurria”, now according to the programme that was it but of course it wasn’t as a rumble of feet swept the arena and before you could say wait a minute Jose and the conductor were back. This would happen about 8-10 times more with at times the conductor and the orchestra packing up shop and leaving but we [the audience] wouldn’t have it, Jose began with a Christmas send off of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” and Hayley would return at least twice and a performance of note was a duet with Jose Carreras of “Silent Night”; there was another great performance by Hayley but I can’t remember the damned name, tut tut I know. The final and it was the final song went down a storm, that is, after several audience requests.
There applause began once more and this time wouldn’t stop as it echoed around central London, Jose came back out after exiting stage left and was greeted with cheers and continued clapping which must’ve been going on for about 3-4 minutes; well at this point I thought there would be no further chance to thank Hayley for her performance on the night and as the light dimmed people started to stand up and leave including me, well before I could get one arm in my coat the lights were powering up again and everyone started to sit down, well I thought I might as well get my coat on as Hayley came back out, well I was standing up so a standing ovation was what she got which ws fully deserved and the guy next to me did likewise and others. Another minute later or so the lights in the main hall powered up and it was all over, time to battle the throngs and get my train. Throughout I always wondered if the person in the seat beside mine has some kind of official link or connection with Hayley, he was writing things down and more rapturous with his applause for her than Jose, a bit like me but he seemed more than a fan, ah alas I will never know.
You know, some stupid or impatient people leave at the scripted end and they miss quite a bit, their loss.
I would echo a word from my original post STUNNING
This is not so much a review but also a first hand account and a kind of real time log but it is what I have to offer, hope you enjoy, I did.