Synthesis is defined as “the combining of the constituent elements of separate material or abstract entities into a single or unified entity” and Evanescence nailed that definition perfectly at their Toyota Music Factory show last Sunday night. With one part rock band and one part symphony, the Amy Lee-led production was a smashing hit.
Settling into our seats, the apprehensive audience was eerily quiet and respectful as the symphony members were already on stage. With the appearance of the conductor, a slight round of applause was given out as the festivities were about to get underway. And with a slight wave of one hand, “La Strada” by Nino Rota came to life as the pianist & string section led the whole group during this gentle number. A couple of tunes by Mozart (“La Chasse” and “Lacrimosa” were sandwiched around “Pavane by Gabriel Faure and Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and “Adagio Cantabile”. Every instrument seemed to be highlighted at one point in the set with the piano, violins and drums getting the most exposure. Since this was a concert, I cringed at the thought of some drunk dude screaming out “ROCK-N-ROLL!!!” during the middle of the symphony’s set but thankfully everyone was really respectful & appreciative of the fine work they offered. There were times of brilliance throughout but Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and “Sally’s Song” from The Nightmare Before Christmas elicited the most response before the break.
Still very unsure how this would go (rocker chick meets symphony), I couldn’t imagine what was in store but kept coming back to the thought that Amy Lee’s wonderful voice would make this alright. As the symphony started into a little warm up “Overture”, it wasn’t long before she made her appearance on stage. The audience let out a resounding roar as Amy took a seat at the piano and launched into “Never Go Back” from their 2011 Evanescence album. The music started slowly but about half way through Amy’s vocals exploded and the musical sound went through the roof. From that point on, I knew this rock/symphony marriage would be a hit.
“Lacrymosa” was highlighted by bombastic beats from the timpani drums and many little intricate notes form the other instruments while “End of the Dream” contained interesting xylophone notes laying beneath Amy’s powerful vocals. The rocker in her still showed through a bit as she was banging her head and shaking her fists during “My Heart is Broken”. 2006’s The Open Door gave us “Lithium” but the highlight of the set was up next as “Bring Me to Life” blew the roof off of the place. With Amy’s voice ringing out, the string section nailing it and the work of Will Hunt on the drums – this one was stretched way beyond what the original recorded version provided.
It was a bit strange to watch the other members of Evanescence just sitting in chairs for the most part but I took the time to watch them work behind the scenes. Tim McCord on bass, Jen Majura on rhythm guitar and Troy McKawhorn on lead guitar were all so fantastic. Keeping the original sound solid behind what the symphony was offering was simply wonderful. The set up must have been strange to them as well as they usually are moving about quite a bit on stage.
The rest of the show was very rich – “Unraveling” was stunning, “Lost in Paradise” was sweet & sincere as its original version seems made for the symphony treatment and “My Immortal” was beautifully done as Amy’s vocals were getting stronger and stronger. Playing one of the new songs, “Imperfection”, off of the forthcoming Synthesis album, the fans reacted very positively to this future hit. The three song encore of Amy’s solo hit “Speak to Me”, “Good Enough” and “Swimming Home” left the audience fulfilled for the night. The marriage of rock and symphony was a smashing success & we were glad to be a witness to it. I was duly impressed by the extra musicians up on stage and even though this wasn’t the first time this combination has been tried = I dare say it might have been the best.
Photo Credit: Scott Uchida Copyright © 2017 Photo is not to be used without permission.