The night I met Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer.

A visionary, a legend, a musical genius. These are words that he probably wouldn’t use to describe himself. But they are the common ones that people would automatically use to describe him.

He has been my idol ever since the Lion King.

I was always into music. Just to prove how important music is to me… read the the very first post of this tumblr! Music is part of me. My dream job was to be a movie composer. To tell the story of the director with the sound and clash of musical instruments. I had such faith in myself. Such passion. Sadly, it was never meant to be.

I…never thought I would ever be able to meet him. Shake his hand. Tell him how his music saved me. Give him a hug. And yesterday night, that all happened.

Hans Zimmer Revealed is the name of the current world tour he and a bunch of famous musicians, his friends (Lisa Gerrard, Tina Guo, Lebo M, and Guthrie Govan to name a few), are doing. They made it to Brisbane yesterday.

6 months ago I learned they were coming. Without even thinking about it, I bought a VIP meet & greet ticket. Best money I ever spent. I have been anticipating the concert every since.

I was sitting in Row AA, seat 31. Right in front of the mic. Right in front of the piano. Right in front of Hans Zimmer. The entire night. I dare not take pictures or video. Every ounce of this was going to be experienced with my own eyes and ears, and not through the screen of a camera. He looked my way numerous times, and every time I had the biggest smile on my face. I soaked in every word he uttered, and noticed every look he gave his fellow musicians. It seemed like they were always sharing some inside joke. You could tell that not only is Hans an indescribable musician, but he is also a humble, brilliant and loving human being.

He performed selections from The Crimson Tide, Lion King, Sherlock Holmes, Interstellar, Inception, Man of Steel, Wonder Woman, Dark Knight Rises, Pirates of the Caribbean just to name a few.

A couple of special moments from that night:

– Hans described Lebo M, the original vocalist for Lion King, as his brother. When Hans found him, Lebo was a political refugee working at a car wash. At the end of the night, the musicians all mimed a high five to the crowd, I was in front of Lebo and he saw me high five back towards him. He pointed at me and smiled. I cheered. He is such an amazing singer and legend. His daughter joined the crew and sang as well! The amount of frisson I felt during this song can not be quantified. I actually felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up! The head of Disney didn’t believe Lion King would be a hit. He apparently said if the movie makes $50 million he would be happy. Ha!

– Hans talked about the batman movies. He said for us, the movies were just a trilogy. But to the musicians, it was 12 years of their lives.  And a lot happened in those 12 years. He talked highly of Heath Ledger and what an astounding actor he was. He talked of the shooting in Aurora during the Dark Knight Rises midnight release. And how much it affected him. He speaks through music. And so he composed Aurora. A beautifully, haunting dedication to those who died.

– Hans is a night owl. And a procrastinator. He also has stage fright! (You sound like me Hans!)

– When he was composing for the Davinci code, he went to the Louvre. He saw the Mona Lisa and thought it was small. Apparently the security guard gave him a look and Hans knew that the security guard knew exactly what he was thinking because everyone else thinks the same. Anyway, he loved the juxtaposition of the classical Louvre and the modern glass pyramid. He had to put it into music somehow…So he gave the melody of the theme to the classical violin, which fights against the build up of the modern synthesizer. You can hear the violin drowning. It was a beautiful concept.

– At first Hans didn’t want to do Gladiator because he pictured men in skirts. Ridley Scott described more of the movie to him and he finally got on board. When coming up with the theme song, Hans said what was missing from the movie was a female lead. So he gave the theme a female voice.

– Lisa Gerrard unfortunately was sick the night of the concert. But her substitute stepped in and she was amazing 🙂

– Tina Guo is a freaking rock star. That girl’s cello skills are out of this world.

– Hans went on to say that the world is in such turmoil at the moment, especially when you look at Syria, the middle east, France… but across the stage, there were people from across the world coming together. And it is a glimmer of hope, at least for a few hours. <3

– People he mentioned throughout the night: Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott, James Newton Howard, Pharrell Williams, Satnam Sing Ramagotra (one of the drummers), Lebo M (vocalist), Guthrie Govan, Tina Guo, Heath Ledger, Molly Rogers (violinist)… just to name a few.

After the concert was over… the encore was Inception. Of course! The VIP members sat in our seats. Someone threw out guitar picks. I got a purple one with Hans Zimmer in gold writing. Then we all lined up to meet the legend himself. When I got to him, I shook his hand and told him that his music is my refuge. That his music saved my life. He replied, “Music saves us all. That’s what I’m trying to say with my music. And what I said tonight.” I thanked him. Then he took my arm and said “Oh! Oh! You know what? I need to tell you! There was a song that I thought was going to shit and I looked into the crowd to see if anyone noticed and I saw your smile and I knew you were enjoying it and I was like, ‘Okay! I can go on.’” I gave him a hug. And he hugged me tightly back. I thanked him again.  I got a signed version of the program and a night I will never forget.

I do wish I had the chance to speak to him a bit more. To tell him that ever since the Lion King, I dreamed of becoming a movie composer. It was his music that inspired and moved me. I wish I could tell him that I would listen to his music when I was 13 years old on my CD walkman on full volume and I would stand on my bed. I would close my eyes and see my orchestra in front of me. I would smile at my fellow musicians and I would pretend to conduct. I would spend time to make sure I knew the different time signatures, the changing rhythms, the dynamics of the music and most importantly I would make my feelings come across as I conducted. My orchestra was utterly magnificent. I wish I could tell him that he was one of the reasons I started composing music on the piano. His music, I know, will continue to inspire me and others. I look forward to hearing every note of his works. Thank you Hans! For everything. <3