A look at Skyfall in Concert

The orchestra is applauded by a Toronto audience after Skyfall in Concert has concluded. The Spy Command photo

TORONTO — This weekend, there were two performances in Toronto of Skyfall in Concert, where an orchestra performed the score of the 23rd James movie live, synched up to a showing of the film.

The show was performed Feb. 21 and 22 at Meridian Hall in downtown Toronto.

The Thomas Newman score sounded subtly different in places with the live performance compared with the film’s original soundtrack.

There were also some changes to highlight the score. Some sound effects were dialed back a bit.

An example: In the movie, there were loud crashing sound effects when Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) loses the side mirrors of the vehicle she’s driving in the pre-titles sequence. With Skyfall in Concert, you still heard the effects but they weren’t as overpowering. Also, the film had subtitles for the dialogue.

The orchestra was stationed below the screen where the movie was shown. As a result, audience members could observe the musicians playing as the film played.

As Skyfall drew to an end, the orchestra played a rousing rendition of The James Bond Theme after the “James Bond Will Return” title card. This took place without the end title crawl. That began after the orchestra finished its performance of the Bond theme.

A number of James Bond fan groups, including James Bond Canada, The James Bond Complex, The Bond Experience, Being James Bond and many others were present for the Feb. 22 performance. The Bond fans had pre- and post-show gatherings.

A look back at the blog’s other media appearances

2019 was an interesting year for the blog because of appearances on podcasts and one YouTube video. So what follows are some highlights. Thanks to all involved for having me on.

James Bond & Friends logo

James Bond & Friends podcast: This is a podcast produced by the MI6 James Bond website and MI6 Confidential magazine. It debuted in March and I was on some episodes.

Part of the format is the title of an episode is based on the often freewheeling conversation among participants. During recording, I’m often not sure what the title of an episode will be until it’s out.

I ended up contributing a few titles including these:

Episode 0012: Cai-Cai-Cairo (May 20): The episode’s main topic was how unused parts of Bond screenplays show up in later films. The title is from the pre-titles sequence of Diamonds Are Forever where the dialogue and lip movements didn’t quite match.

Episode 0013: The Peeing Dog (May 28): Somewhere in the conversation (which primarily was about how perception of Bond films can change over the years), I referenced the dog that’s urinating in the middle of a frame during Thunderball’s Junkanoo sequence.

Episode 0016: Powered by Explodium (July 3): The episode primarily explored “defending the indefensible.” But the title referred to the apparent power source for the hotel in the middle of nowhere featured in Quantum of Solace.

Other highlights for me (where I had nothing to do with the title) included Episode 0029 Survey Says, based on the game show Family Feud. I blew the climatic question that lost my team the game.

Also, Episode 0024 Freddy’s Got a Cold was pretty fun. That episode had suggestions for alternate takes on James Bond songs. The idea was to put together something similar to David Arnold’s 1990s album Shaken and Stirred.

My suggestions were offbeat: Tony Bennett singing Goldfinger (similar to the arrangement Anthony Newley once performed) and Hugh Jackman performing Thunderball.

Spybrary podcast logo

Spybrary: Spybrary is for fans of spy books and movies. Host Shane Whaley interviewed me in a July 31 episode. We discussed Bond films and novels, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I Spy, Mission: Impossible and Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm novels.

I discovered what it’s like to host a podcast in a Nov. 23 episode of Spybrary that provided an overview about The Man From From U.N.C.L.E. The other participants were academic Cynthia Walker and Robert Short, a film industry professional and long-time U.N.C.L.E. fan. He has the distinction of appearing in both an U.N.C.L.E. episode and a James Bond movie (Diamonds Are Forever in an out-of-focus way).

Hosting a podcast is harder than it sounds. You have to recruit guests and then keep an eye on the clock during recording. Shane Whaley was on hand to handle production, which was a big help.

Being James Bond: The podcast hosted and produced by Joseph Darlington interviewed me for an Oct. 11 episode. We covered a lot of ground about Bond, the blog and the former Her Majesty’s Secret Servant website.

The Bond Experience: David Zaritsky, host of the YouTube channel, asked me to discuss how James Bond marketing has evolved. The video was posted Oct. 27 and is embedded below.

The James Bond watch culture

Daniel Craig’s 007 wearing an Omega watch. .

Over Thanksgiving, Phil Nobile Jr., editor in chief of Fangoria magazine, had an interesting thread of tweets (which begins with this tweet) about the James Bond watch culture.

Usually, the watches worn by Bond are on screen only briefly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t enthusiasm for the subject.

“The @007 wristwatch collector scene is an often obsessive corner of fandom,” Nobile wrote in the first tweet. “A subculture that trades in detail, screencaps and ref. numbers.”

Indeed. While Nobile provided many examples, there’s a lot more detail to be had.

Do a Google search for “websites about James Bond watches,” and various websites and articles will pop up.

One example is an article from Esquire earlier this year titled “The Definitive Ranking of James Bond’s watches.”

Another is from Watch Time magazine titled “James Bond Watches: The Complete Movie Timeline.”

In 2017, the Timepiece Chronicle weighed in with “In Depth: All the Watches of James Bond: Dr. No to Spectre.”

Meanwhile, take a spin around YouTube and you’ll find a number of videos on the subjects. Here are just a couple. This one is from “Armand The Watch Guy.”

Here’s another one from The Bond Experience.