Hans Zimmer is a Rock Star. He may be a Composer yes, but he is a Rock Star first. He started his career in bands, not the understudy of one of the greats like Bear McCreary studying under Elmer Bernstein. Zimmer learnt how to make music before he became a Composer. That is why he creates Rock Albums more often than be does Film Scores.

Hans Zimmer Revealed was nothing like a Film Music Concert. It was nothing like the countless concerts I have been to before; from the works of John Williams, James Newton Howard, Alexandre Desplat, Michael Giacchino etc. It was instead a Rock Concert. He stood on the stage, clutching his electric guitar, his piano, his accoustic Guitar, his bango, his sythesizer, and it was like watching ACDC headlining Glastonbury. He owned the stage, owned the crowd, and owned the music. Whether he was playing Spider-Man, Superman or Batman, it didn’t matter because he was loving it. He was even head banging like he was playing heavy metal.

Silence before the storm

Starting it all off with Driving Miss Daisy was genius, because it lured every one in to a traditional film music concert that I’m used to, those of the audience wearing suits and dresses, and clapping politely after every piece, but as soon as he cleared some of his early and brilliant work for Daisy and Rain Man, he really let loose. Crimson Tide would be the marker set for the rest of the night. A huge roaring choir was revealed, and so too was the modest traditional Orchestra players. People felt the night building from then on, as Zimmer and friends including Guitarist Johnny Marr, gave powerhouse performances of suites from his well known scores, such as Sherlock Holmes, The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, which all were new, surprisingly orchestrated versions of themselves.

But the real surprises were yet to come, as Lebo M’s shout out from behind the side curtain, issued in the beginning of the Lion King. He then strutted onstage and proceeded to belt out his incredible vocals to a suite from the film, which had every ones hair standing on end. It was chillingly beautiful. And so too was the next performance, Gladiator. A vocalist came on stage and made us feel like Lisa Gerrard didn’t have to be there. She gave a mature and deeper sound to the iconic ‘Now We Are Free.’

Trying to pick a favorite

A personal highlight was the Pirates of the Caribbean. A monumental suite from the main trilogy, with every major theme released with unbelievable power. It was something to behold indeed. The intermission came at a perfect time. People were still in shock at the things they had just seen and heard. But the big, the bold, the adventurous were still yet to come. Again Zimmer opened with a mellow, welcomed slow to the pace, in the famous Marimba piece from True Romance. It was a delight to hear it echoe through the building. Then as we all got comfy again, it was time to be thrown right back into the action. That of Man of Steel, which was another highlight as Zimmer sat alone at the piano, with his gorgeous main theme for Clark Kent, before the orchestra and powerful drummers all came in to give us Superman.

More surprises and tributes

The night continued, as more and more classics came through, until the surprise of the night for the crowd; Pharrell Williams came on stage and sung his famous song ‘Happy,’ before they tried an experiment right there together to see if they could perform the Electro Suite from the Amazing Spider-Man 2. It worked, and the whole place was shaken by the base and the vibration of every instrument. It was then quickly followed by the slow, building tension of the Thin Red Line as the light show that had showered the stage, then became a single red line across the building. Zimmer was clearly cooling down himself, the players, and the crowd for what was coming next; The Dark Knight trilogy. The Main Theme, the Joker, Bane, he picked all the big, bold music from the movies, and it was chilling as the choir chanted Deshi Basara, the signature chant theme for Bane. Then he brought it down a level, to give tribute to the people who died in the shootings of Aurora. And so he played the piece, which was a very touching gesture, along with him acknowledging James Newton Howard, who co-composed the music for the Batman films. I personally thought he was very humble and gracious to say a word on his friends huge and mostly forgotten contribution, as most assume Zimmer did it solo.

As the curtain fell and the crowd erupted, you knew what he was going to do next. The encore was definitely going to be Inception. Johnny Marr’s guitar riff and Zimmer’s innocent piano gave bookends to the big, show ending suite from the wonderful film.

There were of course films and pieces many would want to hear, but as a Concert you have to compromise, and the playlist was incredible. A rock concert to end all rock concerts, and a film music concert to begin a new breed of film music concerts.

Posted by Lee Allen

Film and Television Score enthusiast. Podcast Host at Bombad Radio. World traveller.

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FYI none of the videos work.