Well… What a show! So, this past Wednesday I was picked up by a couple of friends and taken in awe to one of the finest showrooms in Lisbon, Portugal, the Altice Arena, to watch this amazing concert of Hans Zimmer music. It was in-cre-di-ble! As you might know already, I’m a sucker for movie soundtracks and scores. I wrote something about it here. And Hans Zimmer is one of my favorite composers, of course – he’s a superstar of movie music, the Spielberg of soundtracks.
So on April 3, after a rush dinner, I entered this hall at the shore of the Tagus River where about 10,000 people (or more) were waiting for the music of the master to pour into their souls. Portugal is a small provincial country stuck at the end of Europe – I had no idea there were so many nerds like me, fanatical about Zimmer, eager to drool over his music played by a talented orchestra and a few superb soloists. But there they were. Thousands of them. And here I am, a few days later, ready to describe 7 moments of that night that made me shiver.
- The Opening: DARK KNIGHT + KING ARTHUR: I made a bet with a friend before the show that the DARK KNIGHT score would be the first music to be played and GLADIATOR the last. I actually won the first part of the bet. The thumping DARK KNIGHT drums put us at the edge of our seats right at the onset as I scrambled to my phone to WhatsApp what was going on to any heathen out there that didn’t know where I was. To some, DARK KNIGHT is the best of Nolan’s movies – not to me. But the score is something else indeed. And after a few minutes, we started hearing an exotic flute: what was this? GLADIATOR? THE LAST SAMURAI? No, it was KING ARTHUR – that mediocre Fuqua movie with Clive Owen but with a great score. Great combo!
- Some introductions followed and then a video with Zimmer sitting comfortably in his home in America and talking to us. He was talking to Ron Howard as well. Howard is a good director – one I respect – he made many good movies and a few great ones as APOLLO XIII or A BRILLIANT MIND. Zimmer composed the music for a few of them and soon the score for RUSH was coming up. I didn’t particularly liked RUSH but grown fond of the music. It has one of those combinations of emotion, sadness and thundering power that Zimmer is so good at.
- Probably the best moment of the night came a few moments later: the DAVINCI CODE suite. What a mystic, profound moment! Joining the Symphony Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre, the Belarus Radio and Television Choir made a stunning performance. But it was the violin solo by Rusanda Panfili that grabbed us all by the heart. And then, of course, it finished with the Chevaliers de Sangreal theme, the one at the end of the movie – one of the best Zimmer themes ever.
- There were several other themes played and several other videos. I was disappointed not to hear some of my personal favorites, as THE LAST SAMURAI or THE CROWN or the main theme to MADAGASCAR, but it’s always special to hear THE LION KING played with such passion.
- The GLADIATOR was not the last piece, though, but it was, of course, one of the centerpieces of the night, with the great Lisa Gerrard singing on the stage. She wasn’t particularly happy with her performance, we could tell – and granted, it wasn’t her best performance for sure – but it’s Lisa Gerrard! I didn’t give a damn! I was happy to see her there! I’m a Dead Can Dance fan and a GLADIATOR score fan. It was a great moment!
- And then, when we thought the best had come and gone, we heard an amazing performance of Time, the INCEPTION theme. As you may know, INCEPTION is my favorite Nolan movie and this theme is also one of my favorites, it just prints a spinning toy in my mind. This theme was brilliantly played and it hid a special surprise – I will not spoil it for you. When it was over the whole room was screaming and shouting and clapping and going nuts!
- And finally, the encore. And for that, they gave us another surprisingly impressive rendition: the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN suite. POTC is not a series that I enjoy that much nor have I watched all of the movies. It’s just too comedic and absurd to me. And the score is also not one of my favorites. But the performance I saw the other night was amazing. What an orchestra! What a group of incredible musicians! Very well done indeed!
And that was it. I couldn’t resist speaking about this experience. Maybe I’m just an old pathetic nerd who hasn’t been at a concert for too long. But what the hell… THE WORLD OF HANS ZIMMER is on tour around Europe for a few months and I definitely recommend it to all you knights out there. Go watch it. Then tell me what you think. Cheers.