logo HWI overlay
homepagebiographiesHAyley's Concert Appearancesconcerts scheduleaudio multimediagalleriesnews
albumsmedia scansRadio HWIradio & tvreviewsVideo Player 2006wallpapers

Hayley in Concert
banner - Odyssey
Maxwell King Center, Melbourne, FL 17th March, 2006

Being a fan of hers since I first saw her on TV 5 years ago, I HAD to make the trip to Melbourne from Orlando to catch Hayley live. I have seen her performing live on DVD and have always been listening to her albums religiously, but Friday night was when she was best. The drive down to Melbourne was very well worth it.

Although I was hoping to see her perform with an orchestra, the acoustical set consisting of a grand piano, 1 electric guitar and 1 acoustic guitar hinted that we were in for a treat.

King Center 01As the audiences and fans made their way through the hall to fill up the seats, Hayley's accompaniments, pianist and music director Jeff Franzel as well as guitarist (I forgot his name) took to the stage. Hayley then made her first appearance for the night. She was in a green dress, which complimented her sultry beauty. I could not believe my very own eyes. The spotlight shone on her as she started singing Pokarekare Ana. As soon as she hit the first note, I knew that it would be a night to reminisce. Hayley almost effortlessly pulled off splendid performances, song after song. You would imagine that she would run out of breath, but it was the other way round - Hayley's voice left everyone breathless. In between songs, she would explain about the next song she was going to perform, and interact with the audience. Her Kiwi accent did capture everyone's attention, not forgetting her wits and knowledge in music she shared in between songs. She was definitely very personable on stage with her cute personality. Perhaps, one of the memorable moments was when she mentioned about how tall she felt that night, because she was in high heels, and how she used to be the shortest girl in class.

After performing 4 songs, Hayley left the stage to her pianist and guitarist to entertain the audience. I thought that it was a rare moment to have the chance to see Jeff Franzel playing the piano, as he executed the keys with emotions and accuracy. After 2 pieces, Hayley came back on stage with Schubert's version of Ave Maria. The audience was already mesmerised by Hayley's enchanting voice the minute she stepped on stage, and we were all on board her odyssey through the night, until the 20 minute interval a couple songs later.

King Center 02The pianist and guitarist took the stage again, entertaining the crowd with two more instrumental pieces - Ain't No Sunshine and Jeff Franzel's new piece of work, called Reminiscing, but I call it a magnificent piece of art coming to life. I was in the right isle, and did not have the opportunity to see how Jeff ran his fingers up and down the keyboard during the piano solo for that piece.

Then, Hayley appeared on stage again, this time, in a blue and green dress. It blended well with the blueish and greenish lighting the lighting engineer has set up. Hayley performed 3 traditional songs - The Mummer's Dance, The Mist of Islay and She Moves Through The Fair, which was sung a-cappella. When Hayley mentioned that she would be singing She Moves Through The Fair which is a traditional Irish song, her pianist and guitarist goofed about behind her, wanting to leave the stage for Hayley herself. I did not get how some people were actually talking when she was singing a cappella, but despite the distraction from behind, the a cappella was out of this world. Who would have imagined that only one voice from a petite girl could sound so big that it filled up the whole auditorium? Simply amazing. After the 3 traditional songs, Hayley went on and delivered I Say Grace and In Trutina from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. It was like a free fall from the top of the highest building when Hayley said that the next song would be her last song for the night. She started with a traditional New Zealand folk song, and ended with another one - Hine e Hine. Personally, I thought that it was her best performance for the night when she sang that song. I could hear her voice, not only through the speakers but also her natural voice right from the stage. That was how powerful she projected her voice, but when you look at her singing her lungs out during the peak of the song, she seemed so calm, so effortlessly projecting her voice. It was unbelievable. Sound of the seats retracting echoed in the concert hall as she ended her last note. She was given her well deserved standing ovation.

She then left the stage with her pianist and guitarist, only to return to deliver 2 encores. She did her first public performance of her new song for the UK edition of Odyssey, The Water is Wide. I knew that we were in for a treat. The very last encore was my favourite song from her Pure album, Who Painted The Moon Black. She received a total of 3 standing ovations that night, the two followed after each encore.

Then she left, to go backstage.

King Center 03Fans then quickly made their way out to the foyer where Hayley would be signing autographs. I wasone of them. It was a very long line, but everyone in the line was not going to leave for the same reason - to meet Hayley in person, get autographs and pictures taken. While I was waiting in line, I heard so many people praising Hayley for her magnificent performance, her timeless beauty as well as herenchanting voice that captivated everyone's heart and ears of course. I had to wait in line for more than 40 minutes, as I was one of the last ones in line.

I was also hoping to hear Hayley without the mic, and she did, during her meet and greet session. She sang for an elderly person, and did a duet with a little girl. The smaller crowd in line gave her and the little girl a round of applause. And then it was my turn to meet Hayley in person. I must say that she is a very very nice individual, well mannered and polite. It was really an honour to meet Hayley in person, because it was like a dream come true. Cliché, I know, but it's a fact. When I told her that I am moving to New Zealand end of this year, her jaw dropped and gave me a wide grin, saying that I will enjoy myself in NZ. I jokingly threw her a question, "Hayley, can I record your next album?" and later on told her that I'm a graduate in sound engineering from a school in Orlando, and am completing my degree in June. I took a couple of pictures with her, and headed out the exit door ahead of me. I look forward to seeing her again, in her homeland when I move there.

King Center Yong Le & Hayley04

I really enjoyed myself, each penny was worth paying for, and each mile in the car was worth riding.

Thank you, Hayley for performing in Melbourne, Florida.

We love you and good luck!


source : hwi
credits : review by yong lee
Top Of Page
~ Hayley Westenra's own little shop-on-the-web ~ HWI supports

HW ShopUNICEFbikes for GhanaUNICEF

An Independent Online Store UNICEF NZ