Film composers utilise the opportunities they get to perform live to the best of their abilities amidst their production commitments and for the fans who love listening repeatedly to their music via LP, CD or stream, it is a great chance to experience the purity of live sound, coupled with the many golden memories of watching the films at any age.
Hans Zimmer is a composer this writer has admired for many years, ever since I heard his exotic score for Ridley Scott’s culture-clash cop thriller Black Rain (1989) starring Michael Douglas. In 2016, he embarked on what turned out to be an incredibly successful European Tour that took in key cities and brought much of his best-loved contemporary works to the masses.
This two-hour-plus concert, filmed on the May 7th, 2016 at the O2 Arena in Prague and co-produced by legendary Live Aid organiser Harvey Goldsmith, allows those who weren’t lucky enough to see the live performances to experience a truly involving night of Zimmer’s showcase themes and tunes.
Kicking off with the playful theme from Driving Miss Daisy (1989), the pace never lets up, with compositions from the likes of Crimson Tide, The Da Vinci Code, Interstellar, The Lion King, Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Rain Man and The Thin Red Line, Terrence Malick’s comeback film after years in the wilderness since his 1978 drama Days Of Heaven.
Zimmer is clearly somebody well at home on the live stage as much as he is in the recording studio and sound-stage and his band, orchestra and choir, totalling seventy-two members in total are allowed to express themselves. The tempo brightens mid-concert when vocalists emerge who perform the orchestral version of ‘Circle of Life’ from The Lion King (refreshingly, Zimmer’s contribution is not overshadowed here by bursts of Elton John’s vocal hits) and there is so much acknowledgement about the role an individual musician plays in the canvas of a whole band or orchestra.
Pop and rock music fans will certainly gain some enjoyment from this concert, as guitarist Johnny Marr guest performs on ‘The Electro Suite’ from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and there is a genuine respect and love amongst everyone on the stage here, who clearly love their instruments and move with the enthusiasm of dancers as Zimmer guides them through the evening. There is added poignancy, as Zimmer pays tribute to the likes of the late Tony Scott and Heath Ledger during introductions to Crimson Tide and The Dark Knight Trilogy, as well as performing a piece called ‘Aurora’ in honour of the victims who died during the tragedy at the Dark Knight Rises opening night screening
I am sure some fans will be disappointed that one of their favourite themes is not included in the playlist here, as there are so many great compositions here. Still, don’t let that spoil your enjoyment of a true composing master at work here.
HANS ZIMMER – LIVE IN PRAGUE / CERT: E / STARRING: HANS ZIMMER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW