hans zimmer

Hans Zimmer at the 02 Arena

Hans Zimmer at the 02 Arena

Legendary composer Hans Zimmer delves into his songbook for a powerful show at a sold-out 02 Arena. Adam Davidson reviews.

Hans Zimmer had originally booked his orchestra to perform with him at London’s 02 Arena 858 days ago from Odessa, Ukraine. Covid struck and then as Hans put it perfectly ‘the next piece of sh*t happened.’

Ten members of the orchestra managed to flee Ukraine, whilst half remain in the war-torn country, unable to escape. The sold-out arena rose to their feet for an ovation as Hans Zimmer performed ‘Wonder Woman’ as a tribute to the women of Ukraine.

Although the show had poignant reflections on the reality of our current situation, Hans insisted the evening should be to enjoy music together and to ‘be playful.’ The German went on to play music from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘James Bond’, ‘The Dark Knight’ and new music from ‘Dune’, which the composer won his first-ever BAFTA for Original Score.

Also featured was a performance of the Interstellar soundtrack, which could only be described as immersive, a true joy for the senses.

The pulsating soundtrack was amplified through the haunting vocals of Refi and the aerial dancer gracefully gliding through the air. Lights flickered off a large disco ball in the middle of the arena, creating the effect of space and thousands of stars, bringing to mind images of Matthew McConaughey hurtling through the black hole in the 2014 sci-fi hit.

Every song seemed to be a new highlight and experience but a particular fan favourite was when Lebo M, the voice of The Lion King, came on stage to sing The Circle of Life with his daughter Refi. The vibrant colours and the African landscape in the backdrop was a playful moment that everybody enjoyed.

As is customary for a Hans Zimmer concert, he finished by playing ‘Time’ from Inception but with an added emotional edge. He showed a video on the big screen which his daughter, Zoë Zimmer, introduced him to, of a Ukrainian playing the piece whilst sirens were sounding in the streets.

When he played the slow and moving rendition of Time there was an almost haunting silence in the crowd, there were 20,000 people in attendance but you could have heard a pin drop.

He finished with an important message: “How lucky we are to listen to music without sirens and without bombs.”

For an orchestral show, Hans and his team really brought the unexpected to the stage. It toed the line of being ‘playful’, emotional and mesmerising all at once and signifies why the German composer is one of the greats.