Mixing rock music with classical isn’t a new idea by any means and usually the results are confined to cleverly packaged recordings and maybe, just maybe, a single well choreographed show. It’s a set piece move that has so many potential pitfalls as to make thoughts of touring such a show heart stopping for promoters. And then we have Amy Lee and Evanescence, the rock music glove for the orchestral hand, and a world tour using locally sourced musicians.
For the UK leg of the Evanescence road show there is no support act to speak of. What you get is half an hour or so of the backing band, the orchestra, the string section, the brass, and a rather splendid harp along with percussion and of course a piano. Nottingham Arena is already half full and still filling when the support starts. It’s a credit to those present that they’ve taken their seats and rather a shame many are still milling about. The music, a mix of classic classical and nods towards the theme of the night (Sally’s Song is a particularly good fit) is quite superbly played. It’s a spirited taste of what is to follow.
There’s real emotion in Amy Lee’s voice tonight, it’s not the kind that overwhelms a performance but it is there. With the recent loss of her brother compounded by obvious thoughts towards her late sister it’s hard to imagine the turmoil that must have preceded this tour. This is a night when you sense the singer centre stage is digging deep, and it makes the performance quite breath taking. The choice of songs just add to what is a beautifully arranged and staggeringly well performed set.
Early on Lacrymosa makes sure everyone is paying attention with its engaging tones. We get a full blooded version of Bring Me To Life along with the tear inducing perfection of My Immortal from the ever youthful Fallen album. Throughout the set Lee’s ability to command the Arena with apparent ease is astonishing. Her friendly manner, the little quips between songs mean so much but don’t stall the momentum of the show. There are no awkward gaps or pauses with the orchestra also playing their part in keeping things flowing nicely. The encore is maybe a touch down tempo with Good Enough and Swimming Home rounding things off but the presentation is as always, mint.
While there’s no doubt many will debate the merits of an orchestral tour you can’t deny that Evanescence have pulled off something a bit special. They’ve taken the classical and rock connection and made it work on a global scale in a live environment. The full band played tonight alongside an orchestra and in a way that drew an audience that ranged from elderly couples to young goth rockers. Evanescence have to be credited for putting on a show that is so unifying. The final words though must be directed towards Amy Lee. Her voice is nothing short of remarkable. To be able to sing in a way that transfers raw emotion to thousands of people is a rare gift. Lee produced the goods tonight, and then some. This was an I was there show in a tour that could make an even bigger star of Amy Lee than she already is.