First reviews from Evanescence Synthesis Live concert

Photos by Anabel DFlux

Photos by Anabel DFlux

Two totally different magazines reviewed the second Evanescence show from the current tour of Synthesis at Greek Theatre in Los Angeles which took place last Sunday, October 15th.

The first one, is from Variety magazine which titling the show as a “Amp Up the Drama With 20-Piece Orchestra” and the second from RockRevolt Magazine describe the perfomance as a “live performance created a cinematic and momentous sound, melodies that resonated across the entire venue”, adding that “this did not deter a single fan, however, as the audience was absolutely blown away by the performance”.

Review from Variety Music:

Concert Review: Evanescence Amp Up the Drama With 20-Piece Orchestra at L.A.’s Greek Theatre

By Roy Trakin

CREDIT: PHOTO: ANABEL DFLUX

CREDIT: PHOTO: ANABEL DFLUX

Evanescence lead singer Amy Lee made the leap from goth-rocker to opera diva last night, as she and the band led a 20-piece orchestra through a sold-out performance at the Greek Theatre Sunday night, previewing the group’s fourth album, “Synthesis,” which comes out November 10.

Both the concert and the album — Evanescence’s first since its self-titled 2011 effort — offer a reimagining of the group’s catalog with a full symphony orchestra, arranged by none other than Beck’s father, veteran arranger David Campbell, whose collaboration with the band dates back to its first album. The concert was the second of Evanescence’s current “Synthesis Live” tour, as they team up with a different symphony orchestra (under the direction of conductor Susie Seiter) in each city for an 80-minute, 18-song set.

Looking more like Maria Callas than Grace Slick in a billowing floor-length black gown with a plunging neckline, Lee firmly re-establishes herself as one of rock’s pre-eminent vocalists, exhibiting an impressive range that still packs a wallop, this time cutting through a full orchestra. Although the set includes just two new songs (the single “Imperfection” and the encore, “Speak to Me,” performed solo by Lee for the film “Voice From the Stone” earlier this year), there is also “Hi Lo” (a 10-year-old song recorded for the first time on the new album) and a pair of newly composed orchestral/piano interludes. Still, she and the ensemble turn the familiar material — including crowd favorites like the Grammy-winning “Bring Me to Life,” “My Immortal,” “Lithium” and “Your Star” — into full-throttle, wide-screen epics, its themes of loss, guilt and self-doubt enlarged to tragedy on the Greek proscenium.

Amy Lee

The arrangements substitute strings, woodwinds, brass, synths and drum machines for electric guitars and bass, while maintaining drummer Will Hunt’s booming beats (augmented on-stage by album co-producer William B. Hunt); it finds the band’s sound evolving from its nu-metal/post-grunge origins to, naturally, a synthesis of rock, classical and EDM. It’s the same symphonic canvas first established by such Evanescence songs as “Lacrymosa” (based on Mozart’s “Requiem”), “My Heart Is Broken” and “End of the Dream,” all of which originally featured Campbell arrangements.

And while Lee is the focal point, she has been quick to acknowledge the contributions of the rest of Evanescence — guitarists Jen Majura and Troy McLawhorn and bassist Tim McCord, along with drummer Hunt — in making the album.

Seated at the piano, her long hair flowing freely down her back, Lee begins with the somber “Never Go Back,” from the band’s self-titled third album, inspired by watching TV images of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami which devastated Tokyo. “End of the Dream,” also from that album, starts slowly, segueing into a vaguely Middle Eastern/Indian feel, before Lee hits one of the evening’s frequent, gut-busting high notes.

“It is a dream to be doing this here with you… I’m crumbling inside,” she said to the audience — a wide-ranging, all-ages crowd that featured both goths and Valley couples. Other high points include Lee on the piano for Evanescence’s (no, not Nirvana’s) “Lithium” and a crowd-pleasing “Bring Me to Life,” minus the recording’s mid-song rap by 12 Stones’ Paul McCoy, the combination of the two Hunts’ traditional and electronic drums grounding its baroque reach.

Strings carry the melody in “Secret Door” while the pounding drums keep things rooted in rock, and “Lost in Paradise” sounds like a Broadway musical libretto, with Lee belting out the refrain like Celine Dion leaning into “My Heart Will Go On.”

The encore included “Speak to Me,” followed by an eerie piano that led into “Good Enough” and “Swimming Home,” with its defining line, “Nothing can hold me.” For Lee and many members of the crowd, it was a night for exorcising demons.

Review from RockRevolt Magazine:

EVANESCENCE LIVE

By Anabel DFlux

Photo by Anabel DFlux

Photo by Anabel DFlux

Some voices are timeless. Some voices leave an unforgettable mark on music history. Some voices pierce the soul so deeply that the listener never forgets their sound. Evanescence happens to be the musical phenomena that fits into all three of these honorable categories. From the band’s impressive 22 year career to holding Grammy awards for their songs, it is of no wonder that fans flocked to purchase tickets to the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles upon the announcement of The Synthesis Tour. With the Greek Theatre being situated in the famous Griffith Park, surrounded by trees and nature, the setting and perfect California weather made for a great host.

The upcoming Synthesis album, releasing on November 10th, is a passion project for Evanescence front woman Amy Lee. Synthesis features re-imagined versions of some of the band’s most renowned songs, and “the whole idea came from thinking about how cool it would be to do new versions of songs with strings and programming, and it just evolved from there” says Amy. These new recordings tied in immaculately with the live show, as for the first time in band history, Evanescence featured a live orchestra. Not only was there that, but members of the band were embedded in the united ensemble as a single entity.

Photo by Anabel DFlux

Photo by Anabel DFlux

The orchestral addition to the live performance created a cinematic and momentous sound, melodies that resonated across the entire venue. This new direction for the band also, of course, changed the live performance as the rock music elements were replaced with a more traditional approach. This did not deter a single fan, however, as the audience was absolutely blown away by the performance. Having the audience respond so lovingly towards a band that they have (probably) been listening to for many years though the sound has changed drastically proves that the music and lyricism resonates so powerfully with the listeners that they are not blindly stuck on genres. If anything, this new symphonic approach breathes brand new life and storytelling into some of the crowd’s most beloved songs. As the press release brilliantly put it, the live show is “synthesizing the experience of seeing a classic orchestra in a theatre and a band.

The set list featured many, many fan favorites, such as the Synthesis version of Bring Me to Life. The set list spanned all of the band’s albums, and the audience particularly cheered for the very widely-known songs such as My Immortal and Lithium. The night also featured one of the new original songs from the upcoming release, Imperfection, which was very well received from the adoring eyes and eager ears in the venue. The lighting and theatrical elements of the live performance differentiated the mood and tone of each and every song. Amy Lee’s stunning dress credits to Les Habitudes.

Photos by Anabel DFlux

Photos by Anabel DFlux

Frontwoman Amy Lee alternated between playing challenging piano to masterfully singing. Her voice could send shivers down anyone’s spine with its skillfully resonance, and the passion was could very undoubtedly be heard. It is unfortunately rare to truly feel the passion of a performer in our modern time, but this was not the case on October 15th. Observing the crowd would show the tremendous amount of fans that were moved to tears by Evanescence’s more emotional songs, or mood immediately lifted by the band’s more romantic and optimistic tunes. This emotional response was entirely due to the heartfelt passions of the performers, from the talented and absolutely perfect orchestra, to the band member’s themselves. A whole heart and soul was present in each song without a shadow of a doubt.

Source:
Variety Music
RockRevolt Magazine