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The Pure (UK) Tour Review
Gallery 27 (Review) - The PURE Tour 2004 - covering 20th March to 1st April




The four members of the string quartet were enhanced by the addition of a double bass for a splendid rendition of Faure's Pavane to open the second half. The beauty of this elegant piece set the scene for another stunning performance from Hayley.

Who Painted the Moon Black?

This is another favourite of mine from the album. There is something about it that makes the heart melt and, as always, Hayley's voice pacifies the most tormented soul. Utterly beautiful. Unfortunately, there seemed to be an acoustics problem in Cardiff that was particularly noticeable during this song. The percussion bounced off the back wall and, from where I was sitting (in the third row), came back to me approximately three-quarters of a beat too late. If Hayley could hear this, it must have been most off-putting so, hopefully she could only hear the true version through her monitor speakers. If she was aware of it, it didn't affect her performance in any way.

Never Say Goodbye
For me, this is the least memorable of anything that Hayley has recorded or performed in concert. That should not detract from the fact that she presented it beautifully. It is just one of those songs that drifts over me unnoticed but for no reason that I can identify. What I do remember clearly is sitting there (at each venue) thinking that "goodbye" was something that I would never want to say to Hayley.

Ar Lan Y Mor

This Welsh folk song was another little gem. With its magnificently dramatic change of key it demonstrated Katherine's tremendous vocal range. I am no expert in such matters but I found parts of this song surprisingly high for a mezzo-soprano.

Questo E Per Te
….or in English, "This Is For You" was Katherine's penultimate solo song and, like all of her performance it was well received by her audience. I had been a little surprised that Hayley's guest should be another female soloist but, with hindsight, Katherine was an excellent choice and I was grateful for the opportunity to see her in concert and to meet her.

This is a well-known and popular piece from Carmen, the meaning of which Katherine explained. She had clearly won the hearts of the audience and left the stage to great applause.

Mary Did You Know?

This was Hayley's only solo which was not from Pure. It does, however, appear on her earlier recording entitled "My Gift To You". Hayley always puts such feeling into her performances as though she is really living the emotions captured within the lyrics.

Hayley now handed the stage over to Sophie whose turn it was to make a short announcement:

"For the next song, I would like to introduce my younger brother, Isaac."

I suspect there were people present who were unaware that Hayley and Sophie had a brother for there was an even louder gasp at every venue as he walked onto the stage.


It was truly delightful to see Sophie and Isaac whose combined ages come to less than half my own. They sang the first verse in unison which made it difficult to identify one voice from the other. Even in the second verse, which was sung in blissful harmony, it was still difficult to distinguish who was singing which part. In Cardiff, I asked Hayley which of them sang the melody and who sang the harmony. She initially admitted that she didn't know either (so that lets me off then!) but eventually said that they alternate. Versatility at its best. During subsequent concerts, I studied them closely and, certainly, in the last verse, it was Isaac taking the lead while Sophie sang a wonderfully melodious counter melody.

Sadly, this was the song that was cut from the London concert to due to the appearance of Libera. What a shame for it was beautiful, the performances were wonderful and the effect was sublime. Thank you Sophie and Isaac - you are real stars and your audience loved you.

Across the Universe of Time

Of course, this track is not on the UK release of Pure but it does appear on the New Zealand, Australian and German versions and its inclusion in the concert was a good opportunity for some to hear it for the first time for it is a great song. If you were unaware that it had been released in Germany, you are not alone - Hayley didn't know either! Until I showed it to her!

On the CD, Hayley sings in harmony with herself, a feature that somehow makes this song really come alive. How would she recreate the beauty of it in concert on her own? She didn't. Sophie sang the harmony and the effect was just heavenly.

Sarah Class, who wrote this song, was in the audience at the London Palladium. Incidentally, so was Sir George Martin.

Hine e Hine

And so we come to the end of the scheduled part of the programme, the magnificent and charming Hine e Hine. How fitting that the first and last song should be of Maori origin. Hayley sang the first verse solo and was gradually joined by Katherine, Brandon, Sophie and Isaac, and in London and Eastbourne, by Libera, and in London, by the Maori warriors. What a spectacular display. The sound was terrific and it was visually very impressive. The advertisements for the concerts had only mentioned Hayley and Katherine but in London, including the backing musicians, there were now thirty-four people on stage. Stunning.

Amid tumultuous applause, everyone left the stage but it wasn't long before Hayley returned.

Amazing Grace
Hayley sang the first encore to keyboard accompaniment only. It sounded fantastic. Such clarity. Such feeling. Such amazing grace.

Ave Maria
This piece by Schubert was performed by Hayley, Katherine and Brandon and was to be the last classical piece of the evening. Their three voices blended beautifully.

At this point in the Cardiff concert, Hayley received a special award for 700,000 sales of Pure in the UK. Steve Hanson, former Wales rugby coach who was about to return to New Zealand, presented it to her.

Wuthering Heights
Well, what else could Hayley end with? It is unfortunate that the release of the single has been delayed otherwise this sensational performance might have had even greater impact. Nevertheless, despite her already stupendous performance, Hayley somehow managed to step up yet another gear. Her voice soared and her presentation was absolutely electrifying. What a magnificent end to a truly stunning concert.

During the final curtain calls, everyone returned to the stage to take their final bow, always to tumultuous applause. At one point, I wondered if Isaac had spotted me in the audience. When he was directly in line with me as he walked off, I gave him a discrete little wave and, bless his heart, he waved back. What a great little guy. It is little things like that mean so much.

Hayley returned to the stage several times until she took her final bow and was gone. At the first four venues, I felt as though this departure would be little more than a prolonged interval but, when she left the Bournemouth stage, I knew it was all over and I wished so much that we were back in Northampton to begin it all again. It was all so lovely, Hayley. Thank you so much.

As soon as the concert in Northampton was over, I walked round to the Stage Door where a number of people were gathering. I entered and asked if there was any possibility of seeing Hayley. I gave my name and explained that I was with one of Hayley's websites, standing so that the logo on my HWI sweatshirt was clearly displayed! I was allowed to sit in the lobby while the gathering crowds shivered on the pavement. Sorry folks!

A few minutes later, Steve (Hayley's manager) walked past. I called his name. He recognised me immediately from the time when we met in the Royal Albert Hall last December and promised that I could see Hayley soon. Another few minutes passed when he returned and invited me to follow him. We walked down a long corridor and I was vaguely aware of two men standing a little way ahead but didn't take much notice of them. As we approached, one of them said that Steve was needed elsewhere and led him off. Unsure of where we had been heading, I knew not what to do. Steve called back and said that the other person, who I had still barely noticed, would look after me. Only then did I really look at him and, if ever there was a time in my life when that proverbial feather could have knocked me down, this was it. It was Gerald, Hayley's dad!

I introduced myself and he led me to the very place where Steve had surely meant to take me in the first place - to Hayley's dressing room.

I don't know how long I spent there - perhaps half an hour - mainly talking to Hayley. During this time, members of her delightful family were drifting in and out of the room, as was Steve. Ever since I first met Hayley and Jill last year, I had been harbouring another burning ambition….

Soon after Hayley had autographed my programme, Sophie and Isaac did the same. I then noticed Jill standing right beside me. She had seen Sophie and Isaac signing my programme but didn't know if Hayley had. "Have you got them all?" she asked in her usual genuinely caring way.

"No, not yet", I replied, almost unable to speak. I offered her the programme and asked if she would do me the honour. She looked a little surprised but she could not have known that I had been planning this for months - and I could not have known that the opportunity would arise so soon. I turned to Gerald who completed the set and that programme, signed by the entire family, is now one of my most treasured possessions in the world, along with all of Hayley's recordings and photographs, of course.

A little later, we were all outside in the street. I had managed to take a nice photograph of Hayley and one of Sophie. I then noticed that they and Jill were standing together nearby so I asked them for a group shot. I was about to take it when Isaac appeared from nowhere so now I had four of them. Click! Fantastic. But apparently that wasn't good enough for someone…. Dear Sophie called out, "Dad, Dad, you're wanted. Come here quick". Gerald had been across the road beside the van but, as soon as he saw what was going on, he came across and joined the rest of his family enabling me to fulfil another ambition - to take a photograph of the entire family. Sensational.

In Cardiff, I met up with Keith and Simon, Gareth from Holland, Gary from America and several other friends who are associated with HWI and Holly Holyoake and her parents, Trixie and Craig. For those of you who do not know her, Holly is a young Welsh soprano with a sensational voice and delightful personality. While we were all waiting outside the stage door I suggested to Simon that he use his powers of persuasion to ask Holly to sing something for us (Simon knew Holly better than I did). That's how we came to hear her amazing rendition of O Mio Babbino Caro. The result is that I have now bought her CD. Holly, if you read this, it is absolutely terrific. Thank you so much for signing it for me. I think you are wonderful and I wish you all the luck in the world.

We then spent some time with Hayley and her family and introduced Holly to Hayley - a delightful moment.

I try to listen to the Classic FM countdown on Saturday mornings. The day before the Cardiff concert, I had been delighted to hear that Pure had returned to the No 1 position. Hayley was unaware of this and so I had the privilege of telling her. Yet another very special moment for me.

I met Hayley and one or more of her family after four of the concerts. Every time, they were all so willing to spend some time with everyone who waited to see them. So many autographs were given and photographs taken. And so many people went home (or back to their hotels) on those nights blissfully happy. I know - I was one of them.

On the last occasion I was still floating on air but, at the same time, I felt an overwhelming sadness, knowing that this was the last occasion that I would see Hayley for some time. My expectations for the tour had been very high but Hayley and all her family had exceeded them time and time again. Hayley is wonderful. But then, you know that, don't you?

Hayley, Jill, Gerald, Sophie, Isaac and Steve, what can I say but a huge thank you. Thank you from everyone at all of the concerts for bringing so much happiness into our lives. Memories we shall treasure forever.

Yesterday morning, as I left my hotel to come home I felt so sad that it was all over and in the knowledge that within twenty-four hours, Hayley would be on her way to America. As I walked out of the hotel, a gentle rain began to fall. Somehow that seemed appropriate.

Roger Mansbridge


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Odyssey Tour Brochure
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Montreal (Il Divo) & Ottawa (Hayley)
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Cadogan Hall - Steve H
20060608 #1 #2 #3
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Some of these images are brought to you thanks to www.hayleywestenra.com
Copyright Decca/Universal Music Group UK Ltd., Jill Westenra, and others where noted.

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