A Glorious Evening with Hans Zimmer

I’m back from watching the legendary, Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer in concert tonight in Stockholm and my head is full of the themes from movies like Pirates of the CaribbeanThe Dark Knight and Inception. And the sight of long-time Zimmer collaborator Nick Glennie-Smith dancing around to the theme of Pirates of the Caribbean with a fake parrot attached to his shoulder. It was such a magnificent, silly treat.

I’ve always been used to people thinking film music is nerdy and not really something to be enjoyed like rock or pop. Still, that’s always where my heart has belonged. Tonight was a clear sign for me that times have changed. Film music composers can now go on tour and attract thousands – Hans Zimmer has been joined by Ennio Morricone and James Newton Howard (who will also be in Stockholm this fall). Watching all these different people at the concert tonight made me feel like I’m not at all attending a special event for nerds.

And why should I feel like that? It’s anything but. Zimmer has put together an amazing show. Joining him on stage were a band, an orchestra and a choir, 60 people in all. The concert started incredibly strong with a medley featuring music from Driving Miss Daisy, Sherlock Holmes and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. The two clips at the top of this blog entry are from a concert in Orange, France last year. Pure joy.

Another joyous highlight was this Lion King medley featuring Lebo M., the original vocalist from the score. The clip is from Lille, France, also last year. The concert had a beautifully international feeling, with musicians from Germany, the U.S., Britain, Venezuela, South Africa, China, India, etc.

… and obviously everybody wanted to hear music from Gladiator. A performance that successfully blends the masculine and feminine sides of the score. The clip is from the Orange concert. One of the great things about this show was how Zimmer playfully moved between various instruments, guitars, pianos, etc. At times, he just seemed to be watching, admiringly, all his musicians work wonders.

One of the show’s most intense and darkest moments came with the medley from Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. This clip is from Zimmer’s show at Coachella last April and shows why this music doesn’t really seem out of place at a rock festival.

There were many other wonderful moments, along with a few disappointments. I loved the fact that Zimmer included music from Rain Man, but felt that the piece relied a little too much on a lengthy electric guitar solo. Also, the theme from Man of Steel drowns a bit in all the percussion; the nuances are better heard on the album.

Still, who can complain when the show ends like this – a terrific medley from Inception. Another clip from Coachella, but watching it now brings me right back to the concert in Stockholm that I just attended. 

And if you haven’t had enough – here’s my Spotify list of Hans Zimmer’s greatest hits:

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