Hans Zimmer: Live from New York

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This week, everybody’s favorite film composer – next to John Williams and Danny Elfman – visited New York City.

Hans Zimmer has enriched many films with his intense, beautiful music. The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, The Lion King, and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are only a fraction of what this genius has done. He’s composed music for at least 150 films since the 1980s, but I first noticed his talent in the early 1990s, during my adolescent years. I noticed his score for Backdraft (1991), which was also used in the trailer for Jurassic Park (1993). From that point, I knew to keep my ears out for whatever he delivered next.

In 1995, the German film score composer captured more than my ears. He seized my heart with his powerful music from Crimson Tide. That epic theme, the track titled Roll Tide, still gives me the thrills and chills today. Earlier this week, I got to experience that track live at Radio City Music Hall, along with many other favorites.

On April 9th, while briefly thumbing through Twitter, I came across Hans Zimmer’s tweet about touring in North America for the very first time. Literally seconds later, I purchased myself a ticket. The choices for New York were either July 25th (Tuesday) or 26th (Wednesday).

I chose the 25th, as it was the final day of my summer “staycation,” and, damn, what a way to end a vacation! The concert was absolutely epic. The lighting effects were phenomenal. The musicians were just WOW!

Like a rockstar, Hans Zimmer led his musicians without a conductor. They did it rock band style, but with strings, brass, and a choir – in addition to the percussion, synthesizers, guitars, and electric cello. Zimmer bounced around stage with a banjo for his Sherlock Holmes theme; his guitar for Gladiator; the synthesizer for Crimson Tide; the piano for Inception

Speaking personally, as a guy who grew-up as a film score enthusiast, as well as someone who composes music for independent films, this was the best concert I’ve ever experienced! And, I also attended Danny Elfman’s Music from the films of Tim Burton concert a couple of years prior (that, too, was amazing). But, this one… Hans Zimmer Live… This was an exciting 3-hours.

The theater went dark at 8pm sharp. The spotlights shined on the enormous stage. What followed was what I like to call Hans Zimmer’s Greatest Hits:

  1. Driving (from Driving Miss Daisy); Discombobulate (from Sherlock Holmes); Zoosters Breakout (from Madagascar)
  2. Roll Tide (from Crimson Tide)
  3. 160 bpm (from Angels & Demons)
  4. The Gladiator Suite (The Wheat; The Battle; Elysium; Now We Are Free)
  5. Chevaliers de Sangreal (from The Da Vinci Code)
  6. The Lion King Suite, featuring Lebo M himself (Circle of Life; This Land; King of Pride Rock)
  7. The Pirates of the Caribbean Suite (Jack Sparrow; One Day; Up Is Down; He’s a Pirate)
    • INTERMISSION
  8. You’re So Cool (from True Romance)
  9. Main Theme (from Rain Man)
  10. What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving the World? (from Man of Steel)
  11. Is She With You? (Wonder Woman Theme, from Dawn of Justice)
  12. Journey to the Line (from The Thin Red Line)
  13. The Electro Suite (from The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
  14. The Dark Knight Trilogy Suite (Why So Serious?; Like a Dog Chasing Cars; Why Do We Fall?; Introduce a Little Anarchy…)
    • After Introduce a Little Anarchy, Hans abandoned his synthesizer and approached the microphone at center stage. We expected him to deliver another short speech, as he did throughout the show, in between medleys. But, instead, he began to chant, “Deshi, Deshi! Basara, Basara!” He did this repeatedly, until the choir joined him, and then the orchestra… It was Bane’s Theme (from The Dark Knight Rises), which concluded the suite.
    • Hans spoke of Heath Ledger’s tragedy, and also the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.
  15. Aurora (Hans Zimmer’s musical embrace in 2012. This piece was to help raise money for the victims of the massacre in the Aurora, CO movie theater, during The Dark Knight Rises premiere)
  16. The Interstellar Suite (Day One; Where We’re Going; No Time for Caution; Stay)
    • He said goodnight after this, and then the theater illuminated. Some people began to leave, but most of us “stayed” – like the last track instructed. Finally, the perfect ending to a perfect concert followed. The lights dimmed once again for…
  17. The Inception Suite (Dream is Collapsing; Mombasa; Time)

The concert ended at 11pm and I hurried back to Penn Station, to catch my midnight train home.

Hans Zimmer, along with his amazing musicians, rocked New York!

Bravo!

Mike Polizzi

Alien Day

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In the summer of 1986, my late stepfather dragged my mother and I to see a film called Aliens. I should point out that I was 8-going-on-9 years-old, and the only aliens I knew of were E.T., Spock, and Yoda. This was the first time I was introduced to the Xenomorph.

The entire film kept me on the edge of my seat – literally, in case I needed to duck and cover, to avoid any potential nightmares. But, there was no need for that. Newt – the child survivor from the colony – provided comfort. Therefore, my eyes remained glued to the screen, as I rode this magnificent rollercoaster.

When my biological father picked me up that following Saturday, for my regular weekend visit, I told him all about it. Sure enough, my father informed me that Aliens was a sequel to Alien. I remember being fascinated by the clever use of pluralization in a sequel title.

My father worked night shifts, so my mornings were his evenings. When we arrived to his apartment, he inserted a particular VHS cassette into the VCR. He yawned, “Enjoy,” and then disappeared into his bedroom. I wouldn’t see him again until sometime in the afternoon. I would usually spend this time watching Saturday Morning Cartoons. But, this time, I remained in the living room with the crew of the USCSS Nostromo.

I should point out again that I was 8-going-on-9 years-old.

Holy shit, what a terrifying film that was! Of course, the chest-bursting scene disturbed the hell out of me, but I absolutely loved Alien. I also admired how the ending blends in perfectly with the opening of its sequel. A few years later, when we had two VCRs, I spliced them together, to make one long movie. Ah, the VCR days…

1986 marked the year I learned how bad-ass filmmakers Ridley Scott and James Cameron truly are.

“They mostly come at night. Mostly.”

Happy Alien Day!

MP