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An Evening with John Barry

The 2006 John Barry Royal Albert Hall concert featuring The Ten Tenors

By Geoff Leonard
 30 September 2006

 On entering the Royal Albert Hall arena well before the starting time of 7.30, there were two surprises. Firstly, no programmes had been printed (we weren't told why). Secondly, every other seat had a CD-sampler (4-track) placed on it of Here's To the Heroes, the Ten Tenors' new collaboration with John Barry. The hall seemed slow to fill and I guessed it was no more than two-thirds full when start-time arrived.

As I'd heard only a couple of days before that JB was feeling unwell, it was something of a relief to see him walking onto the stage at 7.35 p.m.. He was greeted by loud and enthusiastic applause, plus a few screams! He began at once, without a word, and it was as though nothing had changed from those triumphant concerts of the late nineties as he took the orchestra through a powerful performance of Goldfinger, always his concert opener.

But everything changes. With just a wave, he departed the rostrum and Paul Bateman walked on to replace him. And we soon noticed more than just a change of personnel. Bateman was conducting the usual suspects, Born Free, Chaplin, Body Heat and Mary Queen of Scots, but even on these slow numbers, an increase in the usual tempo was very apparent. I don't know if this was deliberate or due to slight unfamiliarity with Barry's repertoire, but it worked beautifully, giving the performances a freshness. Frances was one of the highlights of this first half, which also included Walkabout & Wednesday's Child (both possibly premiere concert performances).

Bateman ended with The girl with the sun in her hair, which destroyed my idea of a possible encore for John Barry. During the interval I could hear a few people grumbling about the lack of a programme – "what was the fifth piece they played?" – but it was also clear they were enjoying themselves and praising both orchestra and conductor. There was speculation as where the Ten Tenors would position themselves as room on the stage seemed to be at something of a premium.

John Barry reappeared at around 8.50 and we thought maybe we would see him performing again. But no, he briefly introduced the Ten Tenors and "our conductor tonight, Paul Bateman". He then departed, not quite quickly enough to avoid an earful of extremely powerful vocal from the TT's opening number. If I had to sum up the TTs, powerful would do it. Though this can be an advantage on certain numbers, and in particular on Here's to The Heroes, for me it doesn't work so well on all Barry's ballads. I still can't get on with We Have All the Time in the World, and the lyrics to "Places" (Out of Africa) are not Don Black's finest. However, they certainly gave it their all and I was impressed at how well they maintained their recorded sound in a "live" environment. They sang all the Barry numbers on their new CD, so many had the opportunity of hearing the three new songs for the first time. It's hard to estimate how they went down with the audience, since everything was applauded with the same vigour! They stood / sat right at the front of the stage, so Bateman had his back to them and conducted with the aid of headphones.

In between, Paul Bateman conducted a wonderful performance of The James Bond Suite. The augmented English Chamber Orchestra was in terrific form and once again there was a noticeable increase in the tempo. This was the best received piece of the evening, receiving prolonged and enthusiastic applause. John Barry returned to the stage for the usual ovation, and was happy to share the occasion with the TTs and Paul Bateman. He himself conducted the final performance, the TTs singing "We Have All The Time in the World".

And that was it. The second half was only about 50-minutes long, from memory, and although this was partly due to Bateman's impressive brisk style of conducting, we could have done with a couple more orchestral numbers to finish off. Zulu would have been a wonderful finale or even an encore for John. Never mind, it was wonderful just to see him again, looking a little thin and frail, as usual, but without any apparent nerves and with a smile on his face!

Here's to next year?

Geoff Leonard

Read 62627 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 February 2015 15:12
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Have a look at our old "Play It Again" label website here.

Play It Again Records CD catalogue offered the discerning listener a wide choice of digitally re-mastered recordings from film and television, and rare collections of work from the likes of Don Black and Ron Grainer.

Contact the JB site

If you wish to send an email, for example with content for the website, please contact Geoff Leonard:

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Geoff (owner) and Ruud (webmaster) have been running the John Barry website since June 18, 2001.

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A lot more James Bond concerts collected on the link below, I have put them all in this news item. So check it out from there!

http://www.moviesinconcert.nl/index.php?page=concertlist


Q The Music Show - James Bond Tribute Band
Live James Bond Concerts

Sun 6th May 18
New Victoria Hall, Woking
with Caroline Munro (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Details: www.QTheMusicShow.com/newvictoria


The Music of BondThe Music of Bond
Royal Albert Hall
Wednesday 19 September 2018
Starts: 7:30pm

Website

Presented by Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace). Over fifty years of timeless James Bond themes from all your favourite 007 films.

Hits from Goldfinger, Licence to Kill, Casino Royale, Skyfall, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, Spectre, From Russia with Love to name just a few, all sung by outstanding vocalists Alison Jiear and Matthew Ford.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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James Bond fans are in for a treat in January 2019, as renowned Band, the popular Q The Music Show, are putting on a special concert - performing all the music from Moonraker on

26th January 2019

at the

Wycombe Swan Concert Hall,
High Wycombe,
Berkshire
United Kingdom.

You can back the project and buy tickets here

They are drafting in professional musicians from London to create a 100-piece Orchestra and Choir to recreate all of John Barry’s iconic cues from the 1979 film. As there is only around 50 minutes of music in the film, they will perform the best of the James Bond songs in the second half in true Q The Music style, but with full orchestra.

Because of the nature of this concert, and the huge costs involved, they are crowd funding it, so tickets have to be purchased by 6th May this year for the concert to go ahead on Saturday 26th January 2019.

Q The Music Show are popular with James Bond fans all around the World thanks to their dedicated and authentic versions of the music and were chosen to perform at Sir Roger Moore’s Memorial Event at Pinewood Studios in October last year. The concert will be compered by Bond girls Madeline Smith and Caroline Munro, who have been working with Q The Music this year on their theatre tour of the UK.

The concert will not be available to buy on recording after the show, and the Moonraker score has never been performed live, so this is a unique opportunity for fans to see it. If the project is a success, Q The Music plan to go on a do a different Barry/Bond score each year.

You can back the project and buy tickets here

*Please note, this is a music only performance – no images or footage from the film will be shown, and Q The Music are not associated with EON, Danjaq LLC, or the James Bond Films in any way.

Warren Ringham
Q The Music Show - James Bond Tribute Band
The London Showband - Party & Covers Band