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22 Nov. 2005 < you are here
The Stables

Milton Keynes, South Midlands
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Well, it used to be stables but you wouldn't know it now. The venue is owned by John Dankworth and Cleo Laine and has recently been fully refurbished. It is now one of the nicest concert venues I have ever been to.

It is small and intimate and quite luxurious. Paul and I had seats in the centre of the third row. Unlike the previous concerts in this tour, Ian played a grand piano, as opposed to an electric one. Far better. Fiona was as brilliant as ever. The sound system and the acoustics were perfect and Hayley, well, what can I say? She sounded better than ever. Oddly, she seemed slightly concerned about her performance when we spoke to her afterwards. Steve had already explained that the natural echo effect of a church helps the singer but tonight she had to quickly adjust to the soft furnishings of a concert venue which absorb some of the sound. If she had any difficulty in making that adjustment, it was not evident to me.

Hayley's programme was exactly the same as I saw in Tewkesbury and Banbury last week although Fiona's set varied slightly. For me, this was one of the best performances that Hayley has ever given - and I've been to 29 of them.

When the concert was over, Paul and I were joined by Peter who we have met at numerous events and who I hope will soon become a member of this forum. So all three of us made our way to the forum where Hayley would be holding a signing session. Whilst we waited out turn, we chatted at some length to Ian, Fiona and Steve. Eventually, Hayley signed a few items for us and I got a couple of photos which I hope to show you tomorrow.

Some of you will remember we held a collection for Hayley's 18th birthday back in April. She told us tonight that she often wears the bracelet but only on special occasions. I should think so too! She asked me to thank everyone again and, yes Barrie, your name WAS mentioned! (It was Barrie who presented her with the gift at Olympia.)

Shortly before we left the venue, Jill approached us. I had been trying to see her all evening but so, it seems, had everyone else! It is always a pleasure to meet any of Hayley's family and Jill was so friendly towards us, as always. That seems to be a Westenra trait that is so much appreciated by everyone.

Thank you Hayley, Jill, Fiona, Ian and Steve for yet another superb evening. And my grateful thanks to Paul for the lift!

Roger Mansbridge

22nd November 2005

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