Over the last 30 years Hans Zimmer has established himself as one of our most beloved modern movie composers. Frequently changing both his dynamic and his instrumental artillery, Zimmer has created some of the most memorable and iconic scores to date. A self-imposed time out from writing has freed him up for an international tour that showcases a huge range of his insurmountable talent.
Any fan of the man himself may have seen his set at Coachella where he wowed audiences with The Dark Knight for 13 minutes! Here’s a clip for your ears to enjoy.
This gives you a real sense of what’s on offer at one of his performances. I was lucky enough to attend his concert recently in Sydney, Australia and it was nothing short of jaw dropping.
With the show only being two and a half hours long, it would be impossible to cram in every recognisable piece of work Hans has written so there are a few medleys to help speed things along.
In the opening minutes, a seemless mix of Driving Miss Daisy, Sherlock Holmes and Madagascar all get their moment in the spotlight and it’s wonderful. Half way through the Madagascar theme, a curtain lifts to reveal a 30+ strong orchestra and choir to compliment his touring band of 20. The sound is something else entirely.
Lisa Gerrard, the original female vocalist/collaborator on the Gladiator soundtrack, also makes a welcome appearance to bring authenticity to the movie’s musical highlights of which there are many. In the 17 years since recording the original it’s clear she’s still got it. Just when we think we’ve been spoilt enough, an instantly familiar voice belts out the opening cry from The Lion King’s opener. Original Lion King vocalist Lebo Morake has been on tour with Hans for some time and he seems to get no less enjoyment smashing out a chilling highlight reel from the 1993 animated movie. Even with a slightly modernised band these songs still make hairs stand on end.
World famous Cellist Tina Guo gets her moment to truly shine via a solo that leads directly into a ‘greatest hits’ selection from Pirates Of The Caribbean. It’s here that the band deserves the highest praise. These songs already sound epic enough on their own but put them in a stadium and add a butt load of sound equipment and you’re in danger of being blown off your chair.
After a brief interval we enter serious territory for us geeks. Comic book movie territory. First up is Man Of Steel‘s ‘Flight’, a barrel drum filled assault on the ears that sounds phenomenal live. It’s followed seamlessly by Wonder Woman’s theme heard in Batman V Superman and the upcoming Justice League. This is one drum heavy track that shook the change out of my pocket that goes on just a touch too long. Just when I think this can’t possibly get any louder, Electro’ s theme from The Amazing Spiderman 2 is up next and almost destroys the audiences eardrums as every possible dial backstage is turned up to 11.
That’s where the volume stays for the remainder of the show. In a flood of blue light Hans Zimmer walks to his microphone and in his meanest voice uses three words that rouse crowd. “The. Dark. Night”. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises all get a more modern drum beat behind them thanks to powerhouse drummer Satnam Singh Ramgotra. It’s a risky idea on paper but it works superbly well in this setting as it helps drive these themes with a newfound energy. Joker’s theme has never sounded better. Hans takes a moment to converse with us regarding Heath Ledger’s passing and the Aurora shooting at a Dark Knight Rises screening. Reflecting on how best to memorialize them, he turned to music as an obvious outlet and here he plays us ‘Aurora’. For this both Lebo and Lisa Gerrard rejoin the stage to lend heartfelt vocals. It’s a beautiful solemn tribute that silences the crowd as we all share in mourning.
Interstellar and Inception are the last two horses out of the gate and, if you’ve seen these movies, you know they pack a serious punch. The bass is deafening, the organs shake the room and it truly sounds out of this world. Hans Zimmer knows how important the stories are to the music that accompanies them. He can take your breath away and silence a room with one sweeping movement.
If you’re even slightly interested in the work he’s done over the years and are curious about seeing songs performed in this environment then let me help you make a decision. This is a must see stadium spectacular. You’ll never see another composer with this much musical ammo do something like this again any time soon. It’s a treat for all the senses.