Limited songs of praise at Aled's concert

Oct 22 2003
Robin Turner, The Western Mail

SEVERAL audience members at an Aled Jones concert were hardly "walking in the air" with happiness.

They were dismayed new singing sensation Hayley Westenra from New Zealand did not appear with him as they had expected. And some were disappointed Aled Jones sang to a CD backing track, not live musicians.

A spokeswoman at Cardiff's St David's Hall, where the concert was held, has confirmed there were complaints about Ms Westenra's non-appearance in Monday's show.

But she explained, "The agents promoting this concert made it clear on the programme that Hayley was alternating with Welsh singer Catherine Jenkins.

"There was an asterisk next to Hayley's name and if you followed the asterisk in the programme it clearly stated 'alternating with Catherine Jenkins'.

"Out of an audience of 1,000 we had four of five complaints on the Hayley Westenra issue, so obviously only a very small percentage of the audience did not clock the alternating message.

"When it comes to Aled, he was singing, not miming to a backing track, and it is the kind of thing which is done in shows up and down the country."

Disgruntled audience member Emyr Phillips of Burry Port, who runs Pembrey Travel, paid £18.50 for a ticket, as did his wife Louie.

He said yesterday, "I wrote down in my diary, 'Aled Jones concert - a shambles'.

"Hayley Westenra, who my wife and myself really wanted to see after being enchanted by her singing on television, was not there.

"There was no apology and no explanation in the concert even though she was featured heavily in a double-page spread in the programme.

"It was only by looking at the very bottom of the programme that you finally twigged she would be alternating with Catherine Jenkins.

"The Welsh singer was very good but we travelled 60 miles to Cardiff and 60 miles back home with the intention of seeing Hayley Westenra, not Catherine Jenkins.

"We were disappointed Aled did not have a live backing and, to be honest, it was difficult to see if he was singing or not.

"I will be sending a letter of complaint to St David's Hall and I know there were other people complaining because there was a line behind me waiting to talk to the deputy manageress on the night after the concert ended.

"One of those complaining had come from New Zealand."

The St David's Hall spokeswoman said, "Any complaints we get in writing about Monday's concert will be passed on to the management company which promoted the concert.

"We are satisfied that we did not advertise the concert in a way which was misleading.

"To have star guests alternating on tours is accepted industry practice now, and I know for instance that Jools Holland does it on his British tours."

Read the promoter's response HERE

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