31 March 2018 (gig)
31 March 2018
Evanescence rock The Royal Festival Hall in classical fashion.
It’s a curious thing to see a usually raucous rock crowd fall into hushed tones. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happened ahead of Evanescence’s headline set.
The cause of this rare reverence is the local orchestra pulling double shifts as not only the American band’s backing but their support act too.
A Symphony orchestra at a rock gig is a strange sight indeed, but on this occasion not an inappropriate one.
The evening set focuses almost entirely on the work upon which the tour is founded. Titled Synthesis, the album successfully reimagines Evanescence’s previous efforts with a fresh orchestral and electronic take. To translate the LP from studio to stage the group have opted to go the whole nine yards throughout their shows with live backing at the ready.
The crowd’s anticipation of, and love for Evanescence is obvious from the very first second. The punters erupt into two rounds of raucous applause and whooping before lead singer Amy Lee has even uttered her first pitch perfect note.
The fans gushing admiration may be premature, but it is far from undeserved.
Throughout every song in the set there is a rich power in her voice that not only seems to stay fault free for a two-hour set but, brings with it a musicality all of its own. That’s a pretty special talent even before considering the mammoth challenge of trying to be heard above the melodic din, emanating from either side of the stage.
The lyrical opener ‘Never Go Back’, in keeping with most of the night’s fair is, urgent, foreboding, and most of all dramatic.
Much in the same way as the record the evening’s excellent supporting orchestra not only serves to revitalize existing tracks, but also as a harsher musical counterpoint to the sweet voiced Lee. After impressing with early numbers including ‘The End of a Dream’, ‘Lacrymosa’, and ‘Lithium’, it’s time to bring out a fan favourite.
‘Bring Me to Life’ may have lacked a little something after undergoing its album revamp, but in the freedom of an enthusiastic live atmosphere it more than holds its own.
“I know you guys are rock fans, but it must be nice to sit down”, the front-woman jokes in a rare conversation with the crowd. Despite, only occasionally chatting with the hall the American makes for a confidently cordial host. She kindly thanks people for the support, and even credits them for helping her change her mind on one of her bands staples’My Immortal’.
Their favourite might not be the most talkative on the circuit, but the patrons don’t care as they lap up every second, giving raucous applause after every number and sending out confessions of love whenever possible.
As the concert draws towards its end, proceedings make a welcome shift towards a gentler sound.
The imposing sound of the drum, not to mention electronic accompaniment is finally given a notable break as violins serenade haunting performances of Amy Lee’s own ‘Speak to Me’ and ‘Good Enough’. It may feel like the last knockings at a dance, but it’s a fine way to see the evening off.
Even those previously unfamiliar with the musicians could appreciate the event as a top-class display.
Unfortunately for the Evanescence first timers, the night is not the ideal opportunity to get fully acquainted with the band’s lyrical offerings.
While Lee’s high virtuoso pipes are some of the best on the rock scene and the backing instrumentation brings a welcome intensity, the two elements together can make it tricky to hear a song’s lyrical narrative.
It’s easy to hear the world-class singing on display, and to appreciate the frenetic energy the new sound has brought. It’s not so easy to truly hear what the lyrics are about.
Nevertheless, this evening with Evanescence is sure to both continue the love affair of its faithful and prove an enticing first date for the uninitiated.