Hans Zimmer, Coachella star? Yes.

Anchored on Saturday by Lady Gaga, who stepped in for expectant superstar Beyoncé, this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival featured headliner Radiohead on Friday and, to close the weekend, Kendrick Lamar as Sunday's headliner. Lorde, DJ Khaled, Hans Zimmer also performed. Wait ... Hans Zimmer? Here are all the weekend one updates from the desert.


Hans Zimmer, Coachella star? Yes.

 (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

A packed, totally enthralled crowd flooding the Outdoor Stage. Thundering drums, ethereal vocals, a surprise Pharrell Williams cameo.

A triumphant turn from an EDM superstar? Nope. Just film composer Hans Zimmer absolutely devastating a Coachella crowd that had no idea what it was in for.

When the Coachella lineup was announced this year, Zimmer's presence was the one chin-scratcher.  His scores have, for three decades, set the tone for some of the biggest blockbuster films of our time. "The Dark Knight," "Inception," "The Lion King," for starters. The resume speaks for itself.

But how would it play at Coachella? Would a millennial crowd more used to DJ Khaled's Snapchat missives take to an orchestra playing instrumentals from movies they may not have seen?

Oh, lord, did they ever. 

Maybe Zimmer had a hunch that Coachella rewards bigness of all stripes. That's why he toted out a dozens-strong orchestra to bring his compositions to total, exacting fruition.

Nothing like it has ever happened at Coachella before, from the virtuosity of the players to the ambient, instrumental nature of the material. After a weekend in which a surprise Migos cameo was as expected as sunburns and flower crowns, Zimmer had the good fortune to be doing something both totally recognizable and completely new at Coachella.

It was a stroke of mad genius to put him out here at primetime, and the literal squeals of delight coming from teenage ravers when they recognized his film themes rivaled any reaction to anything else all weekend. 

Even Williams' cameo on "Freedom," which would have been a highlight of any other set, felt more like alms-paying than spotlight-stealing. The two have worked together at length, but here, even a pop star like Williams couldn't compete with the 59-year-old German composer willing this ridiculous leviathan of a set into existence.





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