Symphony Royale

2015 has been a very lucrative year for the people in the spy industry. A new spy franchise has been minted (Kingsman: The Secret Service); an old franchise has been slated for a comeback (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.); and a spy satire (Spy) has so far scraped together a supervillain-worthy 227-million dollars.

With the next James Bond installment, Spectre, on the horizon, what better way to get jazzed up (See what I did there?) about Bond 24 than to check out the San Francisco Symphony’s “The Spy Who Loved Me: Music from the Bond Films & Favorite Spy Movie Themes,” featuring Sheena Easton (who performed the hit theme from Bond 12, “For Your Eyes Only”).

This is the story of my night at the symphony, so sit back, tilt the phone sideways, and enjoy.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin DBS Vantage

 

While the concert began at 7:30pm, my evening began at 5:30pm. I originally planned to review this concert while wowing a date, but she cancelled at the last minute and I scrambled to not look like a sorry critic with an empty seat beside him. Luckily, at Wingtip, you don’t have to look far to find someone who’s into Bond, martinis, or music. So I recruited Bank Of Wine & Spirits alcohol maven, Kelsey Laverne, to take in the show with me.

We arrived at Davies Symphony Hall at 6:30pm. “PM” paints the wrong picture since it was still bright and shining outside. In front of the entrances were two vintage vehicles and guests hovering around taking pictures. The vehicles in question were a green Aston Martin DBS Vantage and a red Mercury Cougar XR-7, both featured in the George Lazenby-era Bond On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I know nothing about motor vehicles other than that they take you from one place to the next, but, hey, they did look pretty.

We entered the Symphony Hall and went immediately to the bar. Bond’s signature cocktail, the Vesper Martini, was the symphony’s special of the night. I ordered us a couple to be waiting for us at the beginning of intermission–and I ordered us a couple more to drink right then. Their Vesper had a bit more Lillet than I’m used to, but it was dangerously tasty. In fact, I ordered us a couple more before we finally headed into the concert hall.

Mercury Cougar

Mercury Cougar XR-7

 

The concert started off fast and hard with John Barry’s classic James Bond theme, the full orchestra creating a thicker and sharper sound than you usually hear at the beginning of the movies. Conductor Edwin Outwater then introduced himself and told us a little bit about what we shall be expecting for the evening. This wasn’t just a James Bond evening, it was more of an homage to the spy genre and the music that was influential to Mr. Outwater.

The eclectic setlist included the Get Smart theme, the Pink Panther theme, and “Funeral March of a Marionette” (Alfred Hitchcock Presents). Special guest Scott Coulter and the evening’s star Sheena Easton joined up on a series of duets: Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” (Bond 14); “Windmills of Your Mind” (The Thomas Crown Affair); and “Whistling Away the Dark” (a Henry Mancini piece from Darling Lili, which saw Julie Andrews try her hand as a femme fatale). They closed the set with some more surprising choices by Phil Collins, Lionel Richie, and the Police.

Vesper Martini at SF Symphony

Any super-spy knows to pre-order their Vesper Martinis for intermission.

 

During intermission we headed to the main bar where there were two more Vesper Martinis waiting for us at a table. We finished them and slipped back into the auditorium just as the doors closed. Mr. Outwater opened with a Bobby Darin song, though I can’t recall which one. Ms. Easton then strutted out onstage again, but not without making a wardrobe change from sparkling blue to silver sequins.

From this point on, the show would be “All Bond!,” exclaimed Outwater. There was an air of excitement as Ms. Easton proceeded to belt out the classics: “Goldfinger,” “Diamonds Are Forever,” and the latest Bond hit, “Skyfall.” She concluded this barrage with her “favorite,” her knock-out punch, “For Your Eyes Only.”

Ms. Easton rode the wave of applause off the stage but was coerced back for one last song with Mr. Coulter. They wrapped the evening in a neat bow tie with their rendition of “Nobody Does it Better” by Carly Simon (from the event’s namesake, The Spy Who Loved Me).

Digestif

After the musical stylings, Ms. Laverne and I ended the evening at Zuni Cafe, just a few blocks from Davies. We started with one of their specialty Negronis (mezcal instead of gin) while we waited for the renowned brick oven-roasted chicken and bread salad. When the food did finally arrive (there’s a customary hour wait-time for the famous chicken), we split a bottle of red and it was game over.

Overall, the evening was above-par (or, for any golfers out there, below par. Good, in any case.) My liver, stomach, and soul, were stuffed. Not bad for a night that started out with a cancellation.

***

For information on upcoming SF Symphony productions, visit www.sfsymphony.org
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Tim Niven

Tim is Wingtip's Assistant Product Manager, a Bay Area native who has been with the company since 2013. Tim's a connoisseur of film and television, and by that he means he Wikis plots for film and television. His style inspirations come from the little screen--Barney Stinson, Brad Williams, and Tom Haverford. He is also a huge comedy nerd, as well as a regular nerd. He is an avid wearer of suits.

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