From the moment we walked down the steps in to the lively basin of Manchester Arena, it was clear that we were in for something special. The atmosphere was electric even 20 minutes before the start time as ominous music hummed around the hall, accompanied by the smoke and blue lights setting the scene for the masterpiece that would ensue.
The start of the show certainly doesn’t disappoint. The rumble of drums thundering around the arena, signalling the start of Zimmer’s first score, the theme from ‘The Dark Knight’ This amazing piece immediately enraptured the audience, making excellent use of the full orchestra, giving us a feel for what was to come over the next three hours.
In the second score the audience is introduced to Pedro Eustache for the first time. Pedro gives a fantastic performance throughout, far beyond his stunning talent on woodwind, but his genuine love for his work and his endless energy.
In between scores, the audience were treated to messages and stories from Hanz himself via VT, displayed on the large stage screen. Hans talks his fans through each score and the story behind it, with help from film directors and other composers.
Amir John Haddad – El Amir on the Spanish guitar was a particular favourite of mine. His mesmerising skills add a new dimension to the performance, along with his constant smile throughout and eager, yet composed nature. Amir was certainly enjoying the performance as much as the audience.
Zimmer’s soundtrack from ‘Gladiator’ would have been incomplete without the one and only Lisa Gerrard on vocals. Gerrard had no problem filling the venue with her beautiful voice throughout the night, including her solo during ‘Now We Are Free’ which made for a truly hair raising performance.
Towards the end of the performance Hans, via the stage screen spoke to the audience, saying there was one last thing he ‘wanted to play for us’. At this moment the area fell silent, you could have heard a pin drop. A silence interrupted only by the first chords of Inception: ‘Time’. The audience erupted with cheers and applause. This was a breath take performance, and my highlight of the night by far. The score was accompanied by the continuing video of Hans Zimmer playing the piano parts himself for the audience. This incredible score filled every corner of the arena, the violins bellowing around while Hanz played on, a truly remarkable performance, it was almost as if Hans was there himself.
This score ended to applause, cheers and a standing ovation from the audience as the orchestra rose to take a bow and Gavin Greenway left the stage. It was clear however, the night was not over, the energy and noise from the audience bought Greenway back on stage ready to lead his orchestra into the grand finale.
The final two scores, from Pirates of the Caribbean gave a brilliantly loud and impressive finish to the night. The entire orchestra put everything they had into this finale, from the deep booms of the percussion to Rusanda Panfili on the solo violin, delivering that famous tune which had the audience dancing in their seats while lights and smoke filled the arena.
As soon as the final score thundered to an end the entire venue leapt to their feet, applause and cheer echoing around the arena. There as still plenty of energy left in the orchestra, Amir John Haddad – El Amir still playing his Spanish guitar while performers came out dancing to take their bows.
Overall this was a fantastic night and a brilliant performance by all. You really cannot fault the work gone into this tour, from the orchestra and conducting by Gavin Greenway, to the lighting and stage choreography. Highly recommend this show to anybody and everybody, no matter what your genre of music is, there is something for everybody.