Until movie-music maven Hans Zimmer started touring recently, he and the screen had been inseparably intertwined for decades, from his cameo in the Buggles’ 1979 “Video Killed the Radio Star” music video to his stacks of soundtracks. On Saturday night at a packed Boch Center Wang Theatre, however, the Oscar-winning Zimmer demonstrated that good music has power whether it’s coursing through a film score or blazing out from center stage, and forgettable music will be forgotten.
Zimmer’s soundtrack credits include such films as “Inception,” “Thelma and Louise,” “The Lion King,” “Gladiator,” and the recently released, harrowing war epic “Dunkirk,” which unfortunately got no airtime at the Wang. A self-taught musician, Zimmer writes music that is largely made out of simple, repetitive building blocks, fragments and themes he could pluck on the guitar or plunk out on the piano if he so chose — and they are highly effective for what they need to do. Frisson and catharsis are his mediums. He is not a virtuoso, nor does he claim to be, and though his name was the one in lights, he constantly put the spotlight on the musicians of the band, orchestra, and chorus sharing the stage.
“It’s an honor to bring these scalawags out here,” he said after the first medley, which started with him playing a whimsical theme from “Driving Miss Daisy” on a solo piano and ended with a full stage giving a cut from “Madagascar” the epic treatment. “No, they’re not scalawags, they’re friends!”
These friends include woodwind wizard Pedro Eustache, whose charisma and grace never wavered no matter which instrument he picked up. Grammy nominee Tina Guo wielded her electric cello like Steve Vai wields his ax, and seems born to play standing in front of a wind machine. Drumhead company Remo couldn’t have asked for better product placement than a video projection of Satnam Ramgotra’s…