NEWS
Hans Zimmer puts on grand showcase at Smart Financial Centre
By: Wei-Huan Chen, Houston Chronicle

If Aphex Twin and Wagner had a lovechild, it'd be a lot like the second act of “Hans Zimmer Live” — turbulent, primordial, mathematical. While the first half of the concert featuring one of the world’s best known film score composers is fun but noisy and directionless, the two-hour finale that occurs after intermission is both a tribute to classical, electronic and rock history and a study in delayed gratification. “This is going to get weird,” Zimmer told a quiet, attentive crowd at the Smart Financial Centre Friday night during act two. “You’ll make it through.”

Making it through might be Zimmer’s words for yet-another night of his grand multimedia presentation featuring a full band, an orchestra and a choir. But sit near the stage where the lights shower down on you and you can feel the bass in your chest, and suddenly it's a gross understatement for what feels like entering into a wormhole from “Interstellar.”

This is how he did it: Zimmer’s band defers to a contrabass solo in an extended prologue that gave the audience no recognizable tune, nor any fist-in-the-air climax. It was a build-up too protracted, too eerily mordant to truly belong in a show created solely for movie fans.

But that’s not what “Hans Zimmer Live” is about. Sure, Zimmer is an essential component to Hollywood’s current obsession with sequels and superhero movies, so it makes sense to assume that his touring act would have elements of what defines every Comic-Con, Harry Potter screening with live orchestra or Marvel movie — fan service. No, his show didn’t sport masked avengers or men of steel. But there was a lot of metal.

Metal was bassist Yolanda Charles digging into her instrument with thumping, repetitive lines while cellist Tina Guo distorts her instrument so that it resembles a throaty electric guitar. Metal was a stormy aural landscape that was all bass and no tenor, then icy open chords layered over drummer Satnam Ramgotra’s erratic solo. The twitch of a drum set, crackling like fire under the languid acoustics of piano and string? That’s the Aphex Twin influence. Then comes the Wagner in the form a Valkyrie-esque choir, a reminder that this electronic din is made by and for humans. The vocals sound like a revelation, but what else did you expect? Say what you will about the composer’s notorious bwah-bwah's in “Inception." Zimmer showed that he still loves the triumphant, medieval sound of the choir....

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