There is power in numbers. There are stories to tell with music. With these two truths, Hans Zimmer can build soundscapes and pieces of music so grand, they can unite armies, bring peace, or just watch the world burn.
As Hans Zimmer took the stage at a packed Viejas Arena in San Diego California this Saturday night, every attendee instantly knew this wasn’t to be an ordinary show. The nearly 60-year-old composer instantly created a sense of musicality that you don’t find elsewhere. His hands playing slowly upon the piano before sweeping into a grand piece of music incorporating about 50 musicians, a choir, and a full orchestra.
The depth of music Zimmer is able to create is stunning. There are just so many individual layers, intricately crafted, and fit perfectly alongside every other layer. At times, there would be four guitarists, three drummers, two cello players, and a musical genius tinkering at his old-style synthesizer.
The combination of all these instruments, all being played at once, is akin to a wall of sound. The elderly woman in front of me who thought she was seeing some orchestra concerto covered her ears. This was no intimate and tame viola recital, this was a rock gig featuring more instruments on one stage than most festivals have in a whole weekend.
All of these components come together seamlessly to create the sights and sounds recognizable from some of this century’s most famous films- films like The Dark Knight, Inception, the Lion King, Interstellar, and so many more. It’s truly amazing how just hearing these songs capture the essence of these films. When you hear “Why So Serious” from the Dark Knight, it is so vividly reminiscent of the first time we see and feel The Joker.
After playing a whopping two hour set, it seemed that Zimmer was done performing for the night, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. The man strutted onstage to perform some of his greatest pieces of music, “Time” and “Mombasa” from Inception. Riveting and complex and beautiful, these pieces are powerful enough to lift a car, and that is exactly the purpose of Hans Zimmer’s live concert. It is to capture that feeling of being a superhero or being a Gladiator, or feeling like you can survive anything. Music is so much more than just sound, it’s a feeling and something that grows inside of you, starting small, and growing into something bigger than you ever imagined.