–by Sean Derrick
The key to every great band/artist is the ability to transform themselves and evolve with their music, avoiding the easy route of going stale by playing it safe. Evanescence certainly has shown that ability with their sold-out show Sunday at the Peabody Opera House in Saint Louis.
When Evanescence last performed in Saint Louis in 2012 at The Pageant they were what fans had always thought of them as not only a rock band with a goth/nu metal side that kicked ass live, but that had something underlying beneath vocalist Amy Lee’s dynamic singing. On Sunday Saint Louis go to see what that underlying “something” was.
Performing with a 28 piece orchestra flanked on either side, Amy Lee and Evanescence performed a show that could be defined as Nu Symphonic. Gone was the traditional rock show-style that fans were accustomed to. In was a stripped-down version of classic Evanescence songs with the centerpiece focused on Lee’s powerfully haunting vocals.
First, let me be clear. These re-workings were not a bad thing. In fact, they were fresh, seemingly released from their confines of a traditionally arranged rock song. Free to explore a new direction in a setting that could be accepted by young and old alike. This is the direction of their latest CD Synthesis, which was released November 10 with two new songs mixed in with a collection of previously released tracks re-worked for the album with the orchestra, giving them a new sound.
The orchestra opened the show with a six-song 30-minute set that included Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and “Adagio Cantabile”, instantly proving that the show would not follow the traditional menu of old.
Let’s face it, today’s music scene is pretty tough. Gone are the days of you play your ass off just to get signed by a big label who takes care of everything from touring to recording to advertising. Now, artists have to be super creative just to stand out in a world that is driven by social media and singles over the tried and true formula of old.
While rock bands playing shows live with an orchestra behind them is nothing new (See Metallica, Dream Theater, Rush, Paul McCartney, KISS, Sting, Deep Purple, etc.) what they haven’t done for the most part is play an entire concert with completely re-worked songs.
Dressed in a red feather-topped stunning black gown that epitomized the transition between gothic and classical, Lee spent her time going between a mic stand at center stage to a piano flanked on her right. Thusly, she showed how not only is she an incredible vocalist, but an accomplished pianist as well.
The entire show flowed perfectly with Lee’s operatic stylings and brilliant light show. Lee’s vocals blossomed throughout, keeping fans on the edge of their seats, transfixed towards the stage and hanging on every note.
With the big booming drums and guitars normally found on Evanescence’s songs as centerpieces replaced with beautiful string arrangements the show certainly stands out from the traditional rock shows out there. For example, their hit “Bring Me To Life” was devoid of the rap verses, but they didn’t seem to be missed at all.
Lee seemed to feel at ease during the show and at one point remarked that it was her “dream to perform in this type of show in a beautiful building like the Peabody.”
During “Lost in Paradise” the arrangement was stunning. At one point I could close my eyes and imagine I was watching an epic Disney movie that was approaching the most dramatic scene. It was truly astounding.
After their recent history that included a break, a fight with their record label, lineup changes and (for a while what appeared like no new music) whatever direction Evanescence takes in the future, one thing is certain; with their ability to adapt and evolve I am once again excited for the future of Lee/Evanescence.
Check out the photo gallery after the set lists.
Evanescence Set List:
Never Go Back
End of the Dream
My Heart is Broken
Bring Me To Life
Lost in Paradise
Speak to Me
Orchestra Set list:
Moonlight Sonata (Ludwig van Beethoven cover)
Pavane (Gabriel Faure cover)
Adagio Cantabile (Ludwig van Beethoven cover)
La strada (Nino Rota cover)
Lacrimosa (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart cover)
Sally’s Song (Danny Elfman cover)