Coffee, Pirates of the Caribbean and an entire day off work to emotionally prepare for the legendary Hollywood composer’s first European tour. When we arrive, the arena is packed with fans from across the globe all chatting about their favourite Hans Zimmer scores. The woman sitting behind us is telling a story: she met him at the Batman vs. Superman premier and he is apparently very nice.
There is a light, rhythmic thumping as people take their seats, and then he walks on. It is clear the atmosphere is electric and the audience excitable. Zimmer sits down and begins with Driving Miss Daisy. He is joined on stage, one musician at a time, until the piece is in full swing and then the first curtain rises, revealing his band. There is applause. The piece, flowing into Sherlock Holmes and Madagascar is jaunty, it is fun, it is pumping up the audience. Then the third curtain rises to a roaring applause and utter delight – his orchestra and the Crouch End Choir. He has, in the most perfect way, pulled us all in for the Zimmer ride.
There are no movie scenes, and very few pieces are introduced – it is not needed. Instead, the show is littered with anecdotes and nods to his friends and Hollywood greats: one Scott brother waking him up with phone calls (Ridley), the other to whom he pays tribute (Tony). He talks about his inspiration and stealing Alehsey Igudesman to play his music. He draws attention away from him, and shines the spotlight on his friends who make up the stage. They are all inimitable.
Together, they create something epic: rising scores and euphony of sound transporting you across the African savanna to the mystic Isla de Muerta. What makes the performance is the high-fiving, hair-whipping and cello-spinning. Everyone on that stage is having fun; they are passionate and they are talented, and this translates into the audience experience.
Zimmer’s white shirt is lost after the interval. Joined by Johnny Marr of The Smiths, the band have a jamming session with Rain Man before pulling us back into the darkness and tension of The Thin Red Line. It was deafening. It was moving.
The music evoked hurt and hope, sadness and awe. Aurora – for the Aurora cinema shootings – was sad and stunning. It was Zimmer’s way of putting his arms around the audience in what is a troubling time for the world.
He finishes with Inception – he lifts us up and brings us down. It is the high of the Zimmer ride, and then the slow come-down as he ends, solo, playing Time.
These were the parts of the performance where the audience ceased to exists – everyone on that stage disappeared into the realms of superheroes and space. It was light paired with sound – a light show that heightened the experience and highlighted the combined talent of those on stage. It was a performance which painted Zimmer as a rock star and genius. It was sublime.