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.
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.
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.
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).
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.