Hans Zimmer Live 2023 – Madrid – Concert Summary [Reme Diaz]

After the show to be held today, June 22 in Brussels, tomorrow Friday, come the last 3 concerts of the Hans Zimmer Live 2023 tour, which began on April 23 in Germany and will end on June 23, 24 and 25 in Paris (read more).


To warm up the ambience, in SoundTrackFest we are going to bring you two special articles: today comes the summary of ‘Hans Zimmer Live – Madrid 2023’ by Reme Díaz and tomorrow ‘Hans Zimmer Live – Bilbao 2023’ by Asier G. Senarriaga.


Let’s go with the first one!



In December 2019, when rumors began to be heard about a new virus in China (too far from here to worry), I had the opportunity to attend The World of Hans Zimmer: A Symphonic Celebration Tour at the WiZink Center in Madrid, conducted by Gavin Greenaway.  Many thought they might see Hans Zimmer on stage, but this wouldn’t be the tour for it. Others would come, there´s always time for a new concert! And then the pandemic came and it changed everything, it stopped everything.


It’s been a coincidence that the first great concert that I have enjoyed again has been, in the same place but almost 4 years later, the Hans Zimmer Live Tour, closing the circle (“of life”, as it´s said in The Lion King).


This time we had Zimmer on stage and accompanied by his faithful musicians (Tina Guo, Pedro Eustache, Juan García-Herreros aka “Snow Owl”, Rusanda Panfili, Guthrie Govan, Loire Cotler, Lisa Gerrard, Lebo M etc.) in addition to the great Odessa Orchestra & Friends, and with a totally different show that leaves no one indifferent.

Hans Zimmer Live 2023 - Madrid - (c) Pedro Prados


Those who thought they would be in a symphonic and orchestral concert forgot about it at the beginning of the show, especially with the theme Mombasa from Inception or the Wonder Woman Suite were preformed, where it seemed that we were living a rock concert. We were therefore in front of a much more intense, energetic and rocker experience, with some theatrical nuances -and even aerial acrobatics during the final suite of Interstellar-, especially regarding to the Dune soundtrack (which opened the concert with House of Atreides and again with Paul’s Dream in the second part of the concert, coming from the stalls).

Hans Zimmer Live 2023 - Madrid - (c) Gaby & Reme


Leaving aside the article about the setlist and other subjects that my colleagues have magnificently exposed in their articles, my overall impression of the concert was very positive but not as much as I expected, especially having the presence of Hans Zimmer himself on stage. What’s more, perhaps in some aspects I was more impressed by the 2019 concert of The World of Hans Zimmer (hereinafter TWOHZ). But, let’s go step by step.


It should be said that, in both concerts, there was a great incentive that other shows don’t have: the artists and musicians are (almost) as well known and admired as the composer. I mean, you want to see Hans Zimmer, of course, but also Rusanda, Pedro, Juan, Lisa, Loire, Tina… And Zimmer is aware of that. He’s surrounded by the best, as he said in one of his speeches, so that throughout the concert he pays tribute and gratitude to those soloists and musicians who, in his own words, make him greater. Everyone had their moment of glory on stage, his recognition. In particular, together with Tina Guo, he asked the attendees: “Who here doesn’t love Tina Guo?”, followed by a great ovation from the audience, enlightened so that the “protagonist” could see and receive 100% of the affection of the attendees. With her performance of Wonder Woman or Pirates of the Caribbean, no one could doubt it. We missed her in the second part of the concert -where she only appeared at the beginning, in the Top Gun: Maverick Suite and at the end in the second encore, the theme Time (Inception)-, although the extraordinary Mariko Muranaka showed she was equal to the task.

Hans Zimmer Live 2023 - Madrid - (c) Pedro Prados


The fact that Hans Zimmer is on stage as a musician, addressing the audience at every break between songs, interacting with the band and even with a certain vindictive tone, was a highlight. Especially for those of us who were far from the stage, who couldn’t believe that that little dot on the stage was Hans speaking to us!


The lightning show was delirious, perhaps too much sometimes, although the production and set-up of the stage must be credited. Nevertheless, for those of us sitting on the highest stands, we couldn´t see appropriately the upper screen.

Hans Zimmer Live 2023 - Madrid - (c) Gaby & Reme


On top of that, although I am less and less in favor of putting film footage at concerts so as not to mislead, the choices of combining scenes with scenery created for the show seems to me a more accurate idea. The vectors and lights were so blinding that sometimes you couldn’t enjoy what was happening on stage, unless you were in the first rows. I would have liked to see more scenery like The Last Samurai or a part of Dune, Gladiator, or The Lion King, and fewer strobe effects. Despite that, I do highlight the firmament sky effect achieved throughout the venue for one of the Interstellar Suites, which raised the emotional tone of the music and involved us in a magical atmosphere.


Besides, the suites were so long, maybe too long (well, just to be fair we must point that they were several suites for a movie joined as one but the impression was that it was an only theme in some parts). On the bright side, this also allowed us to enjoy more unknown parts of the composition of the soundtrack, apart from the main theme or the usual “End Credits” that very well solve the repertoire of any concert, more or less arranged for the occasion. Pirates of the Caribbean, for example, was about 15 minutes long and The Dark Knight Suite lasted almost 16 minutes, but Dunkirk, camouflaged at the end of the surprisingly peculiar Dark Phoenix (a movie that, Zimmer recognized, and I think with all the reason in the world, “is one of those films that nobody sees but that we love the music a lot”), doesn’t reach 3 minutes and thus goes unnoticed by those who don’t know well the varied work of the composer.

Hans Zimmer Live 2023 - Madrid - (c) Pedro Prados


On top of that, musically speaking it sounded a bit strident, perhaps due to the position in which I was located, too saturated with sounds and voices. In my opinion, the last suite of The Lion King became an incomprehensible mess of sounds. That’s not a lack of quality, of course, since both musicians and singers are excellent. It was a pleasure to see Lisa Gerrard again on stage and to discover an unimaginable voice register in Molly Rogers. And needless to say, the astonishing voice of Loire Cotler in every single performance she made, but especially in the Dune soundtrack, with an incredibly complex vocal part, which she accomplished perfectly. A truly power of nature. Therefore, the wow effect and the great goal is achieved by far, but not so much on the emotional side.

Hans Zimmer Live 2023 - Madrid - (c) Gaby & Reme


That lead me to the next conclusion, which I came out of the concert in Madrid: Hans Zimmer Live is designed to vibrate, not so much to give emotions. Despite its melodic and more orchestral moments, the general tone is so powerful that you leave charged with full adrenaline, but without a feeling your heart overwhelmed – as I left the 2019 concert, in which there were moments where the tears came up more easily-. Having said that, which is neither a defect nor a virtue, I loved suites like, once again, The Last Samurai, which was one of the most emotional moments for me, or Interstellar, which was truly missed in TWOHZ.


Hans Zimmer Live is a very different experience that you can enjoy from beginning to end, although in a different way as TWOHZ, with a frantic rhythm that leaves no room for boredom or deep emotion. Playing with the words of the title of another of the films to which Zimmer composed the score, No Time to Die, and which we heard as the first encore of the concert, “No time to cry”.

Hans Zimmer Live 2023 - Madrid - (c) Pedro Prados


Article Reme Díaz

Pictures Pedro Prados & Gaby


📸 Hans Zimmer Live 2023 – Madrid (c) Reme Díaz & Gaby

📸 Hans Zimmer Live 2023 – Madrid (c) Pedro Prados