One of the many joys in a reviewer's life centers on composers and their film scores, few more iconic than Hans Zimmer. Such a rich and storied list of movies and projects have featured scores written by Zimmer over the past 33 years. Imagine the possibility of seeing pieces from Crimson Tide, The Da Vinci Code, and Sherlock Holmes performed live with a full orchestra and rock concert lighting. That's what you get when you attend one of the Hans Zimmer Live shows.
The August 9th, 2017 performance of the tail end of the North American tour took place at the Hearst Greek Theatre in Berkeley California, and was an incredible experience for this fan of Zimmer and his work. Also, yes, the force of nature that is Tina Guo, composer and cellist known best most recently for her Wonder Woman theme music video.
The Gladiator medley with the force of a full choir is bone-chilling. "The Wheat", "The Battle", and "Now We Are Free" performed at the Greek with the ambient fog rolling in through the columns as well as the onstage hazer evoking the true soul of the score.
When Lebo M comes out and performs the opening of "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King, you quickly discover where all the '90s kids are sitting. The cheers, the screams, the general joy that exploded from the audience is beyond description.
There is also the quintessential Pirates Of The Caribbean suite, which freaking ROCKS, not to put too fine a word on it. Watching Tina Guo spin her electric cello and play through the layers of recognizable notes would make even the most steadfast of sailors cheer.
When Man Of Steel hits, be prepared for the arm hairs to stand up, no matter how you felt about the film. (I personally 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 was something I cannot readily put into words. And of course, the piece from Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice "Is She With You" is a complete show-stopper, with Guo once again taking center stage to shred and thrash her way through the Themysciran theme.
I must take time to talk about the selections from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. Three films, all with extremely dark undertones, each a bit more ruthless than the last. We all remember what happened in Aurora Colorado during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises, and Hans addressed this during a lull at the end of the remixed medley. He talked about the complete devastation of the event, the loss of Heath Ledger, and introduced a piece called "Aurora" he had written for the families affected by the tragedy.
Pipe organ-heavy Interstellar followed, with "Day One", "No Time For Caution", and "Stay" rounding out the astral time-bending suite.
The encore was Inception: " Half Remembered Dream", "Dream is Collapsing", "Mombasa", and "Time". The entire hillside of the Greek was lit up with phone lights, since the classic lighter has fallen by the wayside. Spotlights from the front of the proscenium tracked their way across the audience, as that startling low-end rumble built like the excitement in the air. The choice to end the performance with the haunting simplicity of the piano was brilliant, and left me both wanting more and 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. Keep an eye on the official Twitter and Facebook page of the tour for updates on releases of albums and films from the tour, which will be heading to Seoul in October.