Photos by Neil Van
A warm reception on a cold night as Evanescence showcase their new album Synthesis. Descried as a passion project fusing orchestra and electronica, the album features reworkings of songs from albums Fallen, The Open Door and Evanescence, with a couple of new tracks thrown in.
The show began with a slight clamour of instruments being tuned and tested, as the 30-strong orchestra seated onstage prepared for the show. A cheer of excitement came from the packed crowd as the 5 piece band we’re accustomed to calling Evanescence entered to take to their guitars, synths and drums. The cheer was ever louder as Amy Lee entered and took her place behind the piano for Overture/Never Go Back. The sound quality of the Sony Centre was an excellent choice for this concert, as the richness of the Steinway really shone through in the setting – as did the deep surges of the synths accompanying the orchestra during Lacrymosa. Lee’s “Thank you Toronto for joining us on this new journey” elicited a huge cheer from the audience, a recurring theme of the evening’s performance. Canada holds a special place for the band, as it was one of the countries to give the band airplay in their early days, also Toronto was also the city where Lee and her husband were engaged. The warmth of the crowd certainly made this feel like a homecoming show.
The melodrama of Evanescence’s songs are heightened with the addition of the lavish strings, and Lee’s voice fits wonderfully with the orchestra – the minor keys bringing out the teen angst of the original songs. Though you can’t help feeling the rock band in the middle of it all are a little out of place. Half an hour in and, as on the album, the big guns are brought out, and Lee rings out the opening line of Bring Me to Life to a rapturous reception. It’s hard to not feel that something’s missing when the serene orchestra fills in for the metal yelling of Paul McCoy, but the song revels in this dramatic orchestral reworking and a piano outro.
My Immortal was introduced with heartfelt words and included a devoted fan being dragged away from front of stage while obnoxiously waving their arms about and reaching to Lee, who did an admirable job of ignoring the commotion after an initial wave to the fan. The show finished with Speak to Me and album closer Imperfection, and a huge standing ovation from the audience. A reaction that was well deserved – it certainly felt like we’d all just witnessed something very special.