The scores of renowned film composer Hans Zimmer are, quite simply put, epic. They’re grandiose and ambitious, each piece ablaze with enigmatic trumpets and haunting plucks of the violin, with the ever so subtle but important tinge of electronic synths and rock beats.
The German-born composer’s works have underpinned some of Hollywood’s biggest films of recent history. Whether it’s that oh-so-recognizable tune to Johnny Depp’s increasingly ludicrous romps in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films, or the cavernous and menacing scores to Chris Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ films and ‘Inception’, or even ‘The Lion King’s’ iconic tune, Zimmer has scored it all.
These scores are grand and formidable but not exactly typical listening. Seldom would you slip in your ear-buds and hit the treadmill to the reverberant church organ horns in the score to ‘Interstellar’ – or maybe you would? What I am getting at is that piling into the Qudos Bank Arena last weekend, swamped by a surprisingly formidable crowd, I wasn’t quite sure what was ahead of me. How would these scores translate to a live concert experience?
In short, very well. Of course, leaving it there, at ‘very well’ would hardly do Hans Zimmer Revealed justice. It’s was a truly unique show that will hopefully set a precedent for others to follow. Blending music forms from rock, to classical, to electronic and back again, with film, and truly grand live music lighting and sound effects, it was a truly unique experience.
Grandeur was surely the operative word when Hans Zimmer set about orchestrating his show. An exhaustive orchestra flanked him at all times. Accompanying violins, cellos, and instruments I won’t even attempt to describe, were electric guitars, not one, but two drum sets, an electronic synthesizer, and a Sydney based choir. They all worked in perfectly synchronous harmony, each instrument, no matter how contrasting it may be, working in perfect tune with the next.
These classical musicians were a far cry from the quieted Sydney Art School graduates one might expect to see playing the Opera House to audiences of middle-aged BMW drivers. Rather, this proudly diverse group of classical musicians were dressed in stark black and leather, strumming away at their violins as if they were Angus Young belting out ‘Thunderstruck’. Never has the violin been so cool.
Speaking to the specifics of the event itself, it was more than worth the cost of admission. From the opening moments to the show’s closing encore, the show lasted about 3 hours, with a short 15 minute intermission. The time truly just flew by. Seated for what would be an exceedingly long movie, it hardly felt as if it were half that length. The set list was exhaustive and made full use of the arena’s scope and light works. The bass was almost too loud at times (I say almost as it is surely debatable if ‘too much’ bass is even real) with each drum beat reverberating the water bottle I spent the better part of an hours pay check on. Music aside, the show could’ve been quite easily billed as a high production light show.
All in all, the show was well worth every penny, and hopefully will set a precedent for more to follow, with some of the other titans of filmic scoring, such as Cliff Martinez or John Williams, a perfect fit for this type of ‘experience’.
Featured image by Rachimbourg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons