Reviewed on Sunday May 26
Neither Vangelis nor a single frame of Ridley Scott’s dystopian masterpiece were present, or needed. From the moment the UK’s remarkable Heritage Orchestra began the swell of Blade Runner’s ‘Main Titles’, you could practically feel the fire billowing from the industrial leviathans of Los Angeles, 2019.
No soundtrack score commands the obsession of Vangelis’s retro-futuristic Blade Runner, with countless fan-made bootlegs easing completists’ resentment at the gappy official release. No one could complain at the treatment it received at the instruments of the 30-piece Heritage Orchestra, reverent but not slave to Vangelis’s compositions.
Opening to the haunting clicks of an Esper Machine, the whirring hum of technology awoke the percussion section; drums and symbols built before submitting to a mesmeric surge of strings. The dimming lights of a moving cityscape signalled a shift into noir territory and the dreamy chimes and sleazy sax of ‘Wait for Me’, as a sunset burnt its way through the backdrop blinds.
The flawless instrumental arrangements demanded vocalists of equal calibre to do justice to three of Blade Runner’s key cues. Stepping up to the mic to soar through the ethereal ‘Rachel’s Song’, Micaela Haslam answered every question asked of her, as did Shannon Brown, perfectly crooning his way through ‘One More Kiss, Dear.’ Yet dramatic as Omar Ebrahim’s booming baritone was on ‘Tales of the Future’, it was no match for the raw, ear-straining atmospherics of the original’s Demis Roussos.
For a film so steeped in breathtaking visuals, it was in fact Blade Runner’s words the night most longed for. Renegade replicant Roy Batty’s dying meditation on memories and what it means to be human is so married to ‘Tears in Rain’ that the naked cue lacked its perfect partner.
Yet this omission, while noticeable, failed to interrupt a transportive evening of music, which took its audience from the City of Angels to the shoulder of Orion, off-world and back again. Precious moments like these will be lost in time, so want cherishing while you have them; any replicant with an ounce of humanity would tell you that.
BY TRISTAN BURKE