Over the last few years the Royal Albert Hall have taken some of cinema’s most iconic movies and screened them with a live orchestra at the colossal venue.
The likes of Gladiator, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter’s themes have been boomed out from the main stage, much to film and music fans’ delight.
Now finally it’s James Bond’s turn, with the world premiere of Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale in Concert – which took place last weekend.
007 enthusiasts flocked to the Royal Albert Hall, many in black tie and evening gowns ready to be exposed to David Arnold’s score and John Barry’s unforgettable theme.
Before the film began, Arnold – who has composed for five Bond movies (Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace) – was welcomed on stage for an interview.
Speaking warmly of his time on 007, a highlight was his tribute to the late Chris Cornell – who worked on Casino Royale’s You Know My Name with him.
The composer and singer went and watched Daniel Craig’s grittier 007 incarnation on set for inspiration and independently came up with pieces that Arnold said had great chemistry.
The composer also reassured the audience that Cornell’s voice “which could knock a wall down” would remain when accompanied by the orchestra, as he couldn’t image anyone else doing it.
With the interview over, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra took their seats and Casino Royale’s MGM lion began to roar.
The film itself is considered a fan favourite, one that often tops – or appears near the top – of Best Bond movie polls, making the film a popular choice for fans.
The 2006 film also marked Craig’s debut as Bond in a reboot that saw the young – and boy does the actor look young – agent become 007. A far cry from the camper, gadget-filled frivolity of the wildly disliked Die Another Day that preceded it.
As promised by Arnold, much of the time you didn’t notice the orchestra was playing because you were so engrossed. But there were moments when you certainly did and they were ones that were brought big joyful grins to Bond fans’ faces.
The first highlight was of course the booming punchiness of Chris Cornell’s You Know My Name, kicking the film off triumphantly after Bond’s usual gun barrel shot.
Others included Bond’s arrival in the Bahamas and the reveal of the Skyfleet S570, both of which had the familiar and grand wow-wow-wows from the Brass section.
At times the music did overpower the dialogue, although this was hardly a bother because after a quick hand raise during the Q&A, it was clear that 99% of those attending had already seen Casino Royale and were there mainly to experience the film in concert.
The best, of course, was saved for last when the final scene saw Craig saying: “The name’s Bond. James Bond”, before the original John Barry theme was played over the end credits – complete with David Arnold on the electric guitar.
All in all, the performance was an impressive and immensely enjoyable feat, with the orchestra receiving a well-deserved standing ovation at the very end.
Hopefully this is just the beginning of Bond in Concert. Perhaps another fan favourite like Skyfall, Goldeneye or Goldfinger will be next on the list.