Tuesday, October 3

007 Voices of Bond – theSpace @ Symposium Hall

007 Voices of Bond is any James Bond fan’s dream. Brought to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by Night Owl Shows, this hour-long concert takes the audience on a journey through the title tracks of Bond. Other than the opening number, Diamonds are Forever, the songs are performed in chronological order of release date, charting the evolving style of the music through the decades. Between each song either Maia Elsey, the truly phenomenal lead singer, or a pre-recorded video of ‘Mike’ (a hilarious yet informative M stand in), provide the audience with the context of each track. How they came to be made, what the meaning behind the song is, and its place within the wider world of music. These brief interludes were fascinating, and enhanced the experience from beyond just spectacle, to a genuine education in the music that makes the Bond franchise so special. Elsey’s apparent passion for the franchise shines here, as she delivers the information with enthusiasm, charisma, and a touch of humour.

The band were musically flawless, immediately transporting me to the world of each film the second they began to play. I was genuinely moved by the opening notes of Skyfall, as the pianist beautifully captured the soft, yet almost foreboding, tone of the song’s beginning. However, there were occasionally moments when certain band members, I won’t say which, didn’t look like they especially wanted to be there. While I appreciate it must get tiring playing the same songs day in and day out, the excitement and passion is part of what makes the Bond songs so spectacular, so you would hope the musicians would try and match that energy throughout. That being said, when given the opportunity to really shine during the instrumental section of Live and Let Die, they more than rose to the occasion. Their energy was utterly electric, and it looked like they were loving every second. I only wish this level of enthusiasm had been there for the whole performance.

My only other very minor gripe, was that there wasn’t a single title track from the Pierce Brosnan era of films. As a die-hard Brosnan fan, that was a little disappointing, especially given that the usually fairly unpopular Another Way To Die made the cut. Although this did allow for the lead guitarist to join Elsey in a duet. And it must be said, this duet completely changed my mind about the song. Their voices complimented each other perfectly, and I vastly prefer this version to the original.

The star of the show is undoubtedly the amazingly talented Maia Elsey. From the very first note, she captures the audience’s attention and holds it until the moment she leaves the stage. It takes someone truly special to match the power vocals of Shirley Bassey or Adele one second, only to transition to the playful rock of Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die the next. Yet Elsey moves between the many genres with ease, honouring each song beautifully yet nonetheless making it unique to her voice. You could hear the emotion behind every word of each song, and even see it in her eyes if you were sitting close enough! I was left completely spell-bound by the apparent effortlessness with which she belted even the highest notes. I don’t mind telling you I was so moved by her vocals I began welling up multiple times. As someone who has been a massive fan of the franchise for as long as I can remember, I genuinely cannot think of a better way, or a better person, to honour the incredible music it has produced. Barbara Broccoli, if you happen to be reading this, I think I’ve found the Bond franchise’s next singer.

Reviewer: Ben Pearson

Reviewed: 25th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.