WINTER TOUR 2004
I left my
hotel in Southend this morning and took the train to London.
I then travelled by underground to Euston Station where I had
about half an hour to spare before boarding the train to Manchester.
I wandered aimlessly around the station to pass the time, I
spotted someone in the distance who I thought I recognised.
I couldn’t be sure if it was her until I noticed the violin
case she was carrying. Yes, it was Fiona! As I approached, she
looked up and seemed just as amazed to see me as I was to see
her! I told her that we had missed her the previous night and
to my astonishment she said, “Yes, so I heard”! Apparently,
the enquiry I had made to Ben had been passed on to her! Anyway,
we spoke at length about her own CDs (further copies of which
I wanted to get for Kirsty), the delights of New Zealand, and
how she (and all the orchestra) loves playing for Hayley because,
to quote Fiona’s words, “she is special”. Oh yes, Fiona, she
is very special.
this point, Ian (drums) joined us. Although we had not met before,
he clearly recognised me. “Oh hello”, he said, shaking my hand.
During the ensuing conversation, they told me they had been
looking at HWI and that it looked “really good”. Thank you!
then left them in peace and we all made our respective ways
we conclude this incredible tour which has virtually taken over
my life for the past two weeks, I will briefly re-cap on some
of its highlights (in no particular order)….
enthusiasm from the orchestra and the obvious way in which every
one of them have thoroughly enjoyed the tour, as we all have.
dazzling solo spots. Her skill and her animated style are beyond
compare. Her performances were quite electrifying.
sensational voice and his highly amusing interplay with members
of the orchestra and with the audience. He has undoubtedly gained
many fans during this tour.
obvious dedication to his work while at the same time, clearly
enjoying every moment of it.
song that Hayley sang, every word she spoke, all those delightful
little waves that she still gives as she leaves the stage, every
smile and every giggle.
time that so many people gave me which made me feel so welcome
and which made this whole crazy adventure such a delight. My
grateful thanks go especially to Hayley, Mario, Fiona, Ben,
Gerald, Steve and Giselle. All your hard work and your friendship
throughout this tour is appreciated more than words can say.
there I was in the Bridgewater Hall where the final concert
of this wonderful tour was about to reach the grand finale.
Hayley had left the stage having sung “Ave Maria” to rapturous
applause. She soon returned and said, “One more then!” [Giggle].
We then heard the tantalisingly gentle opening notes of that
oh so familiar introduction. Someone behind me gasped as if
to say, “This is it”. It was. As soon as Hayley had sung the
first few notes of “Pokarekare Ana”, the audience applauded
in appreciation – not just tonight but every night.
sang the vocalise version which is one of the most beautiful
sounds you will ever hear. It was a stunning performance adored
by everyone. I was aware that several people around me were
left the stage but the applause would not stop until we had
seen her one more time. She returned and began to sing the most
gorgeous version of “Hine e Hine” ever sung. During the first
verse, her voice was hauntingly beautiful. Then she gazed high
into the back of the auditorium, gently swaying to the rhythm
of the music in typical Hayley fashion but she did not prepare
to sing at the start of the second verse. Instead, we heard
the rich vocal tones of a tenor voice hidden in the wings. Seconds
later, Mario walked onto the stage in full voice and carried
the whole of the second verse. It sounded wonderful and the
audience greeted him with tumultuous applause.
the instrumental break, Hayley and Mario stood facing one another.
Here came the exciting key change. From then on, Mario carried
the lead vocal while Hayley sang a devastatingly beautiful low
harmony. The effect was sensational and, on the first night
in Birmingham, it had sent shivers down my spine. Its impact
was just as moving every night. The final verse built into a
mighty climax by which time the sound was quite triumphant and
totally magnificent. Hayley and Mario deservedly received a
standing ovation as they had on most nights.
left the stage to thunderous applause but returned to take their
final bows. Unlike during the previous six concerts, Ben and
Fiona joined them in Manchester. They linked hands for one last
bow. The show was over.
left the auditorium feeling elated. It had been a magnificent
end to a truly brilliant tour. I met up with Keith and we made
our way to the Stage Door. Whilst we waited for Hayley, we were
fortunate enough to have a final few words with Mario, Fiona
and Ben. We all expressed the hope that we might meet up again
some day and we parted the best of friends.
finally, we saw Hayley. While we were thanking her for everything,
she was thanking us for our support! This is an on going “argument”
which I am sure will never be resolved!
thanked me for the flowers which I had arranged to be delivered
to her at the final venue. With memories of the comment that
Kirsty had wanted to call out during the Birmingham concert
that I had eventually called out in Llandudno, the message on
the card read simply, “You’ll do fine”!
so the tour ended but my amazing adventure continued. Hayley
was appearing at a special concert in aid of UNICEF to be held
at the Canadian High Commission in London the very next night!
So that’s where I was heading. It’s a hard life but someone’s
got to do it!
24th November 2004
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