PHOENIX — Evanescence brought a whole new level to their performance by teaming up with several orchestras around the US and Canada to promote their new album with the “Synthesis Live” Tour. The band’s fourth album Synthesis is set to be released in the fall of 2017, specifically November 10th. Downtown Phoenix was buzzing Tuesday, October 17th as fans eagerly anticipated the start of the show. Anyone who is familiar with this band knows that their music all has the same major trait to it: it’s intense. Whether it’s a soulful ballad or a heart pounding rock anthem, vocalist Amy Lee knows how to excite a crowd and keep them on their feet. This tour, however, was set to be a whole new experience from any other in the past.
Inside the concert area, center stage could be seen decked out with typical instruments; microphone, drum set, and a piano. The full orchestra surrounded them, warming up on a dark stage lit only by a hint of a purple hue. As the rest of the lights dimmed to signal the beginning of the show, the orchestra took it’s moment first to shine as it guided the audience through a symphony of sound. Wooden bows mixed with the sounds of brass and percussion shook the concert hall for several songs before turning the stage over to Lee. Met with rousing applause, Lee stepped up to the piano and played “Overture” off of their unreleased album.
Transitioning into “Never Go Back” from their 2011 self-titled album, everyone remained in their seats as her velvet-like vocals spilled into the crowd, and entranced them with explosive melodies and vocals that still possessed the true Evanescence sound. And even though the audience being stationary is not the norm at her shows, Lee made it known that even without the head banging and stage dancing, this show was going to rock. “Thank you for being here tonight”, she said out into the darkness. “I just want you to know… Just because there’s an orchestra here, just because we’re sitting, doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to MAKE NOISE!!” This was met with thunderous cheers from the audience, ready to see what was in store for them next.
As the sixteen song (plus three-song encore) setlist progressed, the audience was taken through every level of nostalgia imaginable. Performing songs from each of their four albums, Lee’s ever present talent was really put into the spotlight. Almost like that of a rock opera, she gave off a Sarah Brightman vibe, from her outfit to her unfaltering voice as she belted the lyrics to her most popular tunes. Not having to do the intense movements a typical Evanescence show calls for worked in her favor as well, allowing her to focus more intently on her vocals. She took to the piano for several songs, singing her soul-searching ballads under a single spotlight as she expertly ran her fingers across the ivory keys. As if that weren’t enough to completely draw the crowd in, her beautifully haunting music was accompanied by a spectacular light show that emphasized the tempo and important parts of each song.
Following “Imaginary”, and before performing “Secret Door”, Lee took a moment to express appreciation for her fellow band members for stepping outside of their comfort zones to accomplish something new. “It’s a lot of fun for me. I think we’re all having fun up here. I want to give it up for my amazing band right now who had to go all the way outside the box! Beautiful, personal, amazing musicians who trusted me. Thank you.” She also later thanked the fans for trusting them.
As the set was nearing an end, there was one song that stood out in particular. With a sense of duality, Lee segued from the piano solo “In-Between” to the contrasting “Imperfection”; the second single from Synthesis. A pianist seamlessly replaced her at the piano bench, while she returned to center stage and unleashed the fierce song that combines the band’s current sound and channels the band’s original rock essence. It was able to fill the room with a powerful energy reminiscent of the time Evanescence came by storm with Fallen in 2003 (certified 7x Platinum); up through their time spent on the Family Values Tour in 2007 with the likes of Korn, Atreyu, Flyleaf, Trivium, and more. The light tech went all-out for this one as well, blanketing the room in a sea of color and shapes that perfectly aligned with the melody.
Before the first song of the encore, she asked the audience to indulge her before she played a solo song, “Speak to Me”, which she said they’ve only played live once, “so be nice.” Following this humble expression was a seemingly flawless performance of the song. The intensity and emotion was enough to send chills, especially as she hit the high note in the last instance of the lyrics, “Hear me call your name.”
Wanting to interact more before she closed out the set, Lee took some time to get more personal, vulnerable, and authentic with the crowd. She talked about having nagging self-doubt, and that regardless of it, you have to persevere and overcome it. She related with every person in that room by telling them that she too has these feelings of doubt and uncertainty.
“This is silly that I’m starting to talk now, after all of this time… You guys ever have that thing, where you don’t exactly know your place, and you’re just constantly inside, like, second-guessing yourself… ” One audience member shouted out, “Every day”. She continued, “…Here comes the punchline… wondering if you’re good enough? …You gotta fight that voice in your head. I fight that voice in my head every day. We all have to fight that voice in our head, we are good enough, you do belong here. One day at a time, ‘kay? Thanks for sticking with me.”
Her sweet words of encouragement and love were met with resounding response, fans screaming her name, and a few tears. These uplifting sentiments were a tie-in the the song that followed; “Good Enough.”
After the closing song, “Swimming Home”, Lee expressed, “Tonight has been so special to us, thank you, we love you.” By now the audience could no longer contain themselves, and Lee was met with a standing ovation from the entire theater. As she exited the stage, she bowed with the orchestra instructor and blew a kiss to her fans.
Lee and her band not only managed to put on another incredible, unforgettable show, but they also were able to give their fans a bit of encouragement to take home with them. There is no doubt that Evanescence will only have more surprises for their fans when they tour next, and that Phoenix should be ready when they do.
Photographer: Katherine Amy Vega
Evanescence – Comerica Theater 10-17-17
Photography © Katherine Amy Vega, Kataklizmic Design
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