Words by Colin Reid and Images by Deb Kloeden
Gothic Alt Metal powerhouse Evanescence have returned to Australia with a series of sold out gigs for the first time since their 2018 east coast symphony orchestra backed mini tour and their first time in Adelaide since way back in 2007. Titled ‘The Bitter Truth’ tour in support of the 2021 of the same name it is also a 20-year anniversary celebration of their debut album, Fallen.
The Beautiful Monument, a four piece from Newcastle, open the show. They play loud, heavy yet melodic rock and in frontwoman, Lizi Blanco, they are superbly led. It is clear why these guys have been chosen to open the tour and they are truly owning their opportunity to do a big name support slot. There is good response from the crowd. Heads are nodding, warm applause as well as some singing along from some who are clearly familiar with the band and a smattering of girls raised on partners shoulders to sway and dance with the music. However, for a sold-out show there was comfortable space in the arena, perhaps to many gaps in the crowd and to many outside still drinking in the bar? If that was you then too bad because you missed a great set from a really good band. They closed out their set with ‘Hellbound’ and drew a great response from the crowd who were clearly enjoying them as much as I was.
5.) Give Up
The venue fills its gaps as the main event draws near. The crowd is an interesting mix of punters. While it is true that we are nearly all dressed in black there is a spread of ages and a very high female mix some with every hair colour imaginable and even several instances of mothers with teenage daughters dressed almost identically. It is great to see.
The house lights dim and Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In the Name’ is pumped through the PA. There is something really special about being in a 1,000 plus crowd all chanting “Fxxk you, I won’t do what you tell me Mother fxxker” at the same time!
Drummer Will Hunt appears atop of the stage on a raised drum-kit, his left arm clenching a drum stick aloft. The rest of the band are strung out across the stage in a battle line in front of a barrage of stage lights and Amy Lee patrols that front line leading and conducting the musical assault, her arms punching the sky and waving a red ribbon scarf tied around her wrist like a battle standard. From the very first moment that she hits the stage, she dominates proceedings with her incredible stage presence. Her performance demands your attention and we can’t take our eyes from her. Her voice is phenomenal as she moves from heavier metal sounds to softer melodies and back again and the control she displays over her voice is simply amazing. What a vocalist, what a performance!
They start with ‘Broken Pieces Shine’ from The Bitter Truth before moving into ‘What ‘you Want’ from the self-titled Evanescence album. Amy Lee addresses the crowd and confesses it has been too long since they’ve been here, it doesn’t matter – they are more than making up for it now. Live music is all about the connection made between a band and the fans, if I’m honest I’d very rarely play an Evanescence LP at home but I’ll break down the door to see them live. Everything just makes sense when you see them live and experience the feast for the eyes and ears that they provide.
The set continues with ‘Going Under’, the crowd are singing and swaying and it seems like almost every second cell phone is capturing the moment. Next up is ‘Take Cover’ with a heavy drum intro and Will is loving it, demonstrating all his showmanship regularly twirling the sticks through his fingers or spinning them up through the air without interrupting any of his drum patterns.
Amy is in such control of her amazing voice; it is simply soaring over the wall of sound. She is punching the air in time with the bass drum and twin guitarists Tim McCord and Troy McLawhorn are side by side rocking out. A grand piano is wheeled out and Amy gets behind it, bathed in a cone of light to play the hauntingly beautiful ‘Lithium’. This is such a special gig.
Amy tells us that there was something missing from the band. It needed an Aussie to complete it and with that we are introduced to new bass player Emma Anzai of Sick Puppies fame. We roar out our approval. Every interaction that Amy makes with the crowd feels genuine and heartfelt. “We’ve all been through some tough times but were still here so let’s live in the moment and there is no place I’d rather be than right here, right now with you all”
The set rolls on without a break towards its conclusion. There is an epic version of ‘My Immortal’. It is just immense and when I thought that the loudest crowd singing had been reached, the loudest cheers had been roared, the most mobile phones videoing had all happened they close out the gig with ‘Bring Me to Life’ and this was the moment everything went up to another level. Over 1.2 billion views on YouTube tells you how great that song is and Amy Lee and the band deliver us the perfect version. Purple and silver streamers fall from the arena ceiling, guitar picks and drum sticks are thrown to the fans and the five band members form up and take a bow before the sell-out crowd that has loved every minute of tonight’s show.
Amy Lee – Lead Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Harp
Tim McCord – Guitar, Bass
Will Hunt – Drums
Troy McLawhorn – Guitar
Emma Anzai – Bass, Backing Vocals
1.) Broken Pieces Shine
2.) What You Want
3.) Going Under
4.) Take Cover
5.) Lose Control / Part of Me / Never Go Back
6.) Call Me When You’re Sober
8.) Far From Heaven
9.) Better Without You
11.) Wasted on You
12.) End of the Dream
13.) Haunted / My Last Breath / Cloud Nine / Everybody’s Fool / Weight of the World / Whisper
14.) Use My Voice
15.) Blind Belief
16.) My Immortal
17.) Bring Me to Life
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I left the Teaching game in 2014 to follow my dream of becoming a concert photographer, combining my loves of music and photography. Based in rural South Australia, I travel the country photographing artists, bands and favourite festivals. I love catching that magic moment!