Festival Theatre, Sun Jun 8
When you get the chance to see an accomplished and award winning Hollywood star, few would voluntarily miss that opportunity. So it was with great excitement that the massive crowd awaited the appearance of Robert Davi. He is actor, screenwriter, producer, director and now highly acclaimed jazz artist. Best known for his tough guy persona in such iconic roles as Colombian drug lord Frank Sanchez in the Bond film License To Kill, Davi exudes charisma on the big screen. Having worked with some of the world’s great actors and directors – including Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, and Marlon Brando to name a few – may explain his confidence and super-suave demeanor on stage here at our own Festival Theatre.
The audience was first treated to a projected showcase of Davi’s impressive film career, working with the above mentioned heavyweights and highlighting too many films to count – including Bond, of course, as well as The Goonies, Die Hard, The Iceman and respected series Profiler and Stargate Atlantis. The film ended where it all began for Davi – his first film role as a young teen in the TV movie Contract On Cherry Street opposite none other than Frank Sinatra himself. This role marked the beginning of a lifelong friendship between the two – a connection that is clearly evident in the way Davi approaches Sinatra’s songs.
Taking music from that Great American Songbook – described by Davi as “The Shakespeare of American Music”, the theatre was immediately filled with the rich, dulcet tones of his truly remarkable voice. Standard Sinatra fare such as Come Fly With Me drew an appreciative response as Davi quickly grasped the audience in his hands and kept them there. Enjoying light banter with the crowd between songs, you could easily imagine this man hanging out in a smoky Las Vegas club with those ‘Rat Pack’ greats. Even his chuckle was a deeply musical experience!
Other songs such as It Was A Very Good Year and The Best Is Yet To Come (Quincy Jones arrangement) were pure magic – much kudos to his amazing band led by Award-winning musical director and arranger Randy Waldman. Between songs Davi briefly spoke of his friendship with Sinatra, his friend’s philanthropy and anti-racist stance throughout his colourful life. A touching rendition of Old Man River was a highlight of the evening, however nothing could compare to the standing ovation that saw Davi return to the stage for THAT song, New York, New York. As he swaggered his way to the very end, the crowd let loose their appreciation – Davi came, sang, charmed and conquered Adelaide last night.
by Rosie van Heerde