As part of Hans Zimmer’s first North American tour, he and his diverse orchestra performed on Wednesday the highlights of his career as a legendary composer.
He recently arrived in San Francisco from a performance at Coachella music festival, introducing millennials to the art of film scoring, and proving that people can dance to anything with a rhythm.
Zimmer is enjoying the success he has seen in the third act of his career — starting from Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” to every Christopher Nolan film in the 21st century — but acknowledges his humble roots. In between each number, Zimmer emphasized that he had been with some of his orchestra mates for decades, emphasizing the point of collaboration, which is imperative to his process.
Zimmer began with an homage to fallen filmmaker and frequent collaborator, Tony Scott, performing the theme to “Crimson Tide,” followed by his Oscar-nominated score for the Best Picture-winning “Gladiator.” After a brief “Pirates of the Caribbean” intro, the show-stealer, world-renowned cellist Tina Guo performed a solo, leading into what Zimmer calls, “The Superhero Portion.”
The composer followed by taking the audience members on a thrill ride, beginning with Zach Snyder’s “Man of Steel” theme, complemented shortly thereafter by the upcoming “Wonder Woman” and “The Justice League” film scores, and finally, “The Dark Knight Trilogy.” His last number was the ethereal, organ-infused “Interstellar” theme.
Zimmer did not take long for one final encore after the crowd refused to leave. He and his orchestra poured over a performance of one of his most famous scores, Nolan’s “Inception,” and the entire Bill Graham Civic Center shook as the booming bass built to a powerful crescendo, until one final decrescendo of the nearly three-hour concert.
Zimmer paid tribute to his fallen friends in the industry, including Scott as well as Heath Ledger. He played an original song in the memory of the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting victims. Zimmer emphasized one point throughout the sold-out show: music is a universal language, and his language of choice, and it has the power to transcend prejudice.
Before heading back down to Indio to perform another Coachella set, Zimmer professed his love for San Francisco, thanking The City for its kindness and open approach to supporting political refugees, pointing to his orchestra’s bassist who currently carries that status.