Being entirely truthful, any words I use to describe the gig I experienced last Tuesday night are wasted, but I can’t exactly pull the whole blank review trick again, so I will endeavour to summarise it best I can.
It is rather fitting that the final piece of music in Zimmer’s set was one that revolves around questioning whether or not one is dreaming, given that this is exactly how you feel throughout the performance and long afterwards. I have been to a few classical music shows in the past and based upon those I had one expectation of this concert – a man in tails was going to walk out and stand in front of an orchestra making wild gestures whilst we heard some iconic film scores. I could not have been more wrong.
Sure enough, Zimmer did arrive on stage dressed to the nines, and sat down at the piano as any great maestro would to begin an evening of splendour, then out comes the band. Some of the most badass cool mother f**kers I’ve ever seen to wield a musical instrument, and they all kick off into a medley of songs from Driving Miss Daisy, Sherlock Holmes and Madagascar. The diversity amongst those films will give you an idea of just how broad a range was covered musically throughout the show. What is more striking is the dynamics on stage. Much like Jeff Wayne’s The War Of The Worlds stage show, rock band and orchestra sit side by side here and do so seamlessly. But the band aren’t dressed up to the nines nor are the orchestra dressing down to the grunge and grime. Zimmer himself also treads a genuine line between the brilliant composer he is, whilst also being a somewhat manic lover of music, who bounces around the stage and – by his own admission – never thinks before he speaks.
After that introductory trifecta we weren’t given a moment to breath as Zimmer kicked everyone off into the epic ‘Roll Tide’ from the Tony Scott classic Crimson Tide, with a little Angels & Demons for good measure. I’d like to run off on a slight tangent here if I may, as this was one of the weirder experiences of the night. Zimmer has a funny little attribute to his name in that he has composed music that I absolutely love, very often for films that I am not overly fond of. This led to a strange desire to rewatch films I had no intention to ever watch again…funny thing the power of music and maybe I’ll just wind up with a new opinion of Angels & Demons after this! Moving on, one of the biggest initial standout moments came during the Gladiator portion of the show. This film was monumental in my own past with the medium, one of the earliest modern classics I can recall seeing, the first film we ever owned on DVD in my household and one of the first times I can recall specifically developing an interest in the soundtrack outside of just hearing it whilst watching the film. The quartet we got from Ridley Scott’s smash hit then was just a treasure to listen to, and arguably the most subdued moment of the entire gig too which eased us in before the madness to come.
After a quick detour into ‘Thunderbird’ from Thelma & Louise (in a word, phenomenal) and The Da Vinci Code it was time for the next bulk section of the first half. I’m gonna be honest, I had managed to forget that Hans Zimmer had any involvement in The Lion King so when Lebo Morake appeared and burst into the opening refrain of Circle Of Life I…well…yeah I nearly lost it! For 99% of people my age, give or take a couple of years either side, The Lion King is one of the films of our childhood. The music is timeless, the emotions much the same. It was followed by a few bombastic tracks from Pirates Of The Caribbean which brought us right back to the flip flopping styles of Zimmer’s music. There are always common threads but the man spans the entire dynamic range with his compositions. With that the interval came along and it was certainly needed, just to allow us to process what the hell we had just witnessed!
After the break we were eased in with ‘You’re So Cool’ from the True Romance soundtrack then on to ‘Journey To The Line’ from The Thin Red Line. Once again, a film I was far from keen on when I last saw it, but now want to rewatch it as soon as possible because with a piece of music that good coming from it, the film surely has to be better than I recall, right? Then we hit, in Zimmer’s own words, “The superhero portion of the show” starting with ‘What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving The World?’ from Man Of Steel, on to the DC/Marvel Comics grouping of Wonder Woman/Batman vs Superman, The Amazing Spiderman 2 and The Dark Knight trilogy. These tracks were some of the most interesting to me as I would be mostly familiar with his superhero scores, and the beefing up of their arrangements for the live show were an absolute treat. ‘Is She With You?’ from the aforementioned Wonder Woman/Batman vs Superman soundtrack was a particular standout as the entire female contingent took front and centre on stage and absolutely blew the roof off the place.
Coming to a close we segued into tracks from Interstellar which was just mesmeric and the encore rounded out the night with tracks from Inception, arguably one of Zimmer’s finest works. As the final notes of ‘Time’ rang out in the 3Arena I found I could do very little but spring to my feet, applaud until my hands were numb and hope I could scrape my jaw up from the floor some time soon. Anyone who has read my previous gig reviews on this site might notice a pattern that I tend to write glowing reviews filled with nothing but praise for the most part. First of all, I do tend to buy tickets for gigs that I want to go to and featuring artists I’m a fan of but I can’t find a flaw with this particular gig. Believe me, I will always try, but this was absolute perfection. Clocking in at essentially 3 hours with the interval deducted, this was a man who absolutely loves his craft, flanked by dozens of a similar mindset, going above and beyond themselves to deliver some of the most top quality entertainment I’ve ever seen. When tickets for this went on sale I slightly balked at the €100 or so price tag, I’d now happily pay double to see it again and you simply cannot miss this if they return to these shores.