As a preface, I love music. Audiophile does not begin to describe how I emotionally and spiritually connect with melodies, lyrics, and rhythms. One of my long standing favorite composers has always been Zimmer, leading me to occasionally use the hashtag #ZimmerRules. (There is also another story along with that, but it’s not for me to tell.)
I guess the title isn’t STRICTLY true, but I went to London PRIMARILY to see the Oscar-Grammy-Everything winning composer Hans Zimmer give a live performance. I also have to say the sound in this theater was absolutely STELLAR, and I understand why this venue was chosen for the show. There were signs all around the facility stating that the two nights of performances were being filmed, so hopefully that means a DVD-BluRay will be released at some point. The event was two nights, held at the Hammersmith Eventium Apollo Theater, and titled “An Evening With Hans Zimmer & Friends”. These friends included such wonderful performers as Lebo M (the main voice from “The Circle of Life” Lion King opening song), and Pharrell who surprised everyone by popping on stage to sing “Happy”, and the “Electro Suite” piece from The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Unfortunately, I missed the first 15 minutes or so of the show, as there are ROUGHLY 5 DIFFERENT APOLLO THEATERS IN LONDON. Seriously, I cannot believe how lucky my group is that we even made it to the proper theater, let alone that the show started about 10 minutes late. The pieces played that we missed were selections from Sherlock Holmes, Driving Miss Daisy, Madagascar, Crimson Tide, and Gladiator. We DID however get to hear/see the tail end of the first half with Angels and Demons/Da Vinci Code suite, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean.
Intermission happened, and I realized part of what was so strange about this performance. There was no conductor for the massive orchestra. Which I have to say, was really weird to realize. So often the composers of the pieces will lead the performances at the end of the baton, and this wasn’t the case. Late last year, I was lucky enough to see John Williams conduct the San Francisco Symphony in an evening of his music. ‘Conducted’, as in stood on the platform and set the tempo with a flick of his wrists. Same for Peter Gabriel and the New Blood Orchestra, Ben Foster led the musicians. The only time I can think of that the composer didn’t conduct throughout the performance is Bear McCreary and his Battlestar Orchestra (he starts out setting the tempo with a wave of his hand, but then plays during the piece.)
The beginning of the second half had a medley of True Romance, Green Card, and Rain Man. The percussion section had 10 performers (one sitting drummer at a full kit) and only two of them WEREN’T women. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a selection like that before, and it was pretty fantastic to watch with the rock concert lighting.
Now, when Man Of Steel was performed, oh man, my arm hairs stood up about a foot long. I absolutely LOVED Zack Snyder’s film, Henry Cavill’s Kryptonian, and Zimmer’s spectacular audio vision for the movie. “Flight” is one of my favorite cues, and hearing it live with a full choir was something I cannot readily put into words. MoS was followed by Thin Red Line.
I have to take time to also talk about the selections from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Three films, all with extremely dark undertones, each a bit more ruthless than the last (and holy crap hearing the “Rise, rise” chant with the choir was crazy awesome). We all remember what happened in Aurora Colorado during a showing of Dark Knight Rises, and Hans addressed this during a lull at the end of the piece. He talked about the complete devastation of the event, the loss of Heath Ledger as well, and introduced a piece called “Aurora” he had written for the families affected by the tragedy.
He stood, accepted applause, started introing the various members of the band, and the lights fell. I personally was hoping for possibly (but very unlikely) the “La Vita Nuova” from Hannibal because really, when you put Dante to opera, you can’t get much better than that.
The encore was Inception, namely “Dream is Collapsing”, “Mombasa”, and “Time”. The choice to end the performance with the haunting simplicity of the piano was brilliant, and left me wanting more, but fully satisfied. I am beyond thrilled that I got to have this amazing experience, and I cannot wait for the performance to be released in a more….official capacity.