By Roger Mansbridge
Review Date: 20th March 2004_

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Saturday, 20th March 2004


It had been a nightmare journey from my home in Sussex. As one of the few remaining non-drivers in the world, I travelled to Northampton by train…. or rather, I didn't!

The train stopped at Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, about 35 miles short of my destination. We had hit a log on the track. This had knocked out the brakes so the fact that we stopped at all should have been appreciated but, in my desperation not to miss the start of the concert, it wasn't! I had felt nothing but others said they had noticed "a bit of a jolt". We were informed that another train would tow us to the next station but there was no sign of it and no indication as to how long this little escapade might take. I waited patiently, if somewhat anxiously, concerned that time was passing and I still had some way to go.

When I could delay no longer and, with ever-increasing levels of desperation, I telephoned many taxi companies before finding one that could make the journey immediately. Luckily, another passenger agreed to share the taxi - and the fare, but it still cost twenty-five pounds - each!

Fearsome crosswinds then caused a lorry to overturn, blocking all three lanes of the M1 and causing a four-mile tailback and a further delay of an hour and a quarter. There was nothing I could do except panic so that's what I did, seriously doubting that I would make it in time. I eventually reached my hotel more than three hours later than planned, tired and hungry and detecting the approach of a headache. All I wanted was a shower, a cup of tea and to go to bed - not necessarily in that order! One out of three was all I could manage before setting off for the theatre.

I took my seat. Such were the effects of the journey that I wasn't really in the mood to be there at all but very soon I had good reason to change my mind. Hayley. When she walked onto the stage and began to sing, I just melted. From then on I felt good, then great, jubilant and finally, absolutely elated. Her effect is magical. The soothing qualities of her lovely voice, the enchanting melodies, and her radiant beauty are enough to pacify the most tormented soul.

The concert was gorgeous. Hayley was mesmerising and truly wonderful. Her performance, particularly in the final song was quite magnificent. And, as always, just to be in her presence was an absolute joy.

Four other artists appeared but, for now, I will only say that their contributions were thoroughly enjoyable and enhanced a truly wonderful occasion.

All too soon Hayley left the stage for the last time. I had seen her on three previous occasions but never in her own concert. This was what so many of us had been waiting for and it sure was worth the wait. Absolutely delightful.

A full review of the concert and of my subsequent meeting with Hayley will appear following the conclusion of the tour. Meanwhile, I have four more concerts to go to. See you in Cardiff, folks!

Roger Mansbridge


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