Matthew Field reports from the David Arnold concert held at London's Royal Festival Hall
Report & Photos by Matthew Field
Grammy Award winning composer David Arnold, took to the stage at London’s Royal Festival on Sunday 6th July, for his concert debut. Looking confident and dapper, Arnold amusingly introduced himself to the stage setting the tone for the evening, in which he repeatedly joked with the audience in his self-deprecating way. But more importantly, his concert showcased the breadth of his talent as a musician and composer.
Seated behind a keyboard and a MacBook laptop and with a host of guitars and amplifiers within easy reach, Arnold steered the orchestra through a perfectly chosen programme conducted by Bond regular Nicholas Dodd.
The first half consisted of cues from his soundtracks 'Godzilla', 'The Stepford Wives', 'Amazing Grace' and 'Four Brothers'. Other music included a suite from his work written especially for the London 2012 Olympics and an exclusive preview from his first stage musical, Made In Dagenham, which opens in London in October.
David McAlmont, with whom Arnold first worked on his Shaken and Stirred Bond tribute album, performed Play Dead, which Arnold wrote for the Icelandic singer Björk back in the early 90s. He rounded off the first half with a 20-minute suite from his beautiful score for Roland Emmerich’s Stargate.
Bond fans were in for a treat when Arnold opened the second half with the superb White Knight from 'Tomorrow Never Dies'. David McAlmont was on hand once more to lend his vocals to Surrender - the haunting end credit song originally performed by K.D Lang. Arnold too showcased his singing ability, performing both The World Is Not Enough and the unused Only Myself To Blame written for the aforementioned movie. Suites were performed from both 'Casino Royale' and 'Quantum of Solace', but the crowed pleaser was an instrumental of You Know My Name, which Arnold performed on electric guitar.
Arnold paid tribute to his own hero John Barry and spoke with affection of his working relationship with Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson.
As the concert neared its finale, Arnold was joined on stage by Mark Gatiss, co creator and producer of the TV series Sherlock and actress Amanda Abbington. Before the orchestra performed music from the show, Gatiss joked, (in keeping with Arnold’s humour), “I’m waiting for them to play Skyfall!” Michael Price, co writer of the Sherlock score, took up the baton for this one segment.
Before bowing out to a standing ovation Arnold once again picked up the guitar and with full orchestra, belted out The James Bond Theme. It’s taken David Arnold twenty years to appear in concert, lets hope it doesn’t take another twenty to get him back!
Thanks to Brian Smith and Mark Ashby.