Review: Easton headlines Pops’ Bond celebration
REVIEW BY JOHN BERGER / email@example.com
“For Your Eyes Only,” sung by the woman who made it famous, capped an evening of movie theme music as Grammy Award-winner Sheena Easton joined Matt Catingub and Hawaii Pops for “The Songs of Bond … James Bond” on Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Hawaii Convention Center.
Multi-Hoku Award-winner Nathan Aweau, Po’okela Award-winner Cathy Foy-Mahi, Christine Souza and maestro Catingub added their voices to the program. Two members of the Pops were showcased as well.
Additional seats had been added to accommodate the demand for tickets for for the Pops’ retrospective on 50 years of Bond film and their hits. The show was one of the highlights of the weekend.
“Morning Train (9 to 5)” and “Strut” — two of Easton’s biggest chart hits — were the lead-ins for her show-closing rendition of her 1981 Bond film hit. She delivered the range of emotions inherent in each of them. Yes, “Morning Train ” still sounds like the description of a wonderful love affair. Yes, “Strut” is still relevant in expressing the feelings of women who feel they’re being objectified as generic sex objects or made to feel like “a girl for hire.” And, yes, Easton owns the definitive rendition of “For Your Eyes Only,” one of the most memorable Bond film title songs.
Foy-Mahi did an excellent job on a pair of Shirley Bassey tunes from the Bond film archives — “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Goldfinger.” Foy-Mahi’s training and experience in musical theater was evident in the brassy power of her singing and the subtle emotional nuances of her performance. The award-winning performer added pizazz to her performance when she slipped out of the red wrap she’d worn while singing “Diamonds Are Forever” and continued on in the sequined mini-dress she was wearing underneath it — gold sequins, of course! — for “Goldfinger.”
Hawaii renaissance man Aweau thoroughly personalized two Bond film songs originally popularized by women — “All Time High,” sung Rita Coolidge in “Octopussy,” and “Nobody Does It Better,” sung by Carly Simon for “The Spy Who Loved Me.” He closed with a very credible take Tom Jones’ Bond-theme hit, “Thunderball.”
Souza, who told the crowd that she was thrilled to be making her debut as a symphony performer, closed the first half of the show with songs representing three of the more recent films in the canon: “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “GoldenEye” and “Skyfall” to close the first half of the show. Souza returned midway through the second half of the show for a welcome hana hou number as Catingub’s partner on “Live And Let Die.”
Catingub, as always a multi-tasker (conductor, pianist, vocalist), was the solo vocalist on “From Russia With Love.” He opened the second half of the show with an instantly recognizable spy-film tune and then asked which James Bond film it was from.
And the answer was … “None of them!”
The song was “Soul Bossa Nova,” 50 years old but associated these days with Bond movie parody character Austin Powers.
Catingub’s orchestrations for the evening showcased the cohesion of his musicians — the full-bodied sound of his brass and sex section particular. Several individuals also stood out.
Pops member Brien Matson’s trombone was the star of an instrumental arrangement of “You Only Live Twice,” Steve Jones (electric bass) and Darryl Pellegrini (drums) provided a solid foundation as the rhythm section, and Zanuck Lindsey rocked the iconic guitar riff that has been the musical signature of the Bond films ever since “Dr. No” hit screens in 1962.
As with last month’s Pops concert with Jo Dee Messina, large video screens on each size of the stage gave everyone in the ballroom a close-up view of the performers, and dance floors were available for concert-goers who wanted to dance to the music (Several couples were on the dance floors while Easton sang “Strut”).
It was a great night of musical memories updated by Catingub, concert headliner Easton and the Pops.
John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.