Photo by Marc K'Nell

Photo by Marc K'Nell

Evanescence w/ Sydney Symphony Orchestra @ Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW Australia 13/02/2018 written by Brendan Lewis.

Do you believe in angels, ghosts, the heavens above, and the fiery pits below? Well tonight, Amy Lee from Evanescence will bring to life the imaginary, take us high above the clouds leaving us lost in paradise. Once our senses are truly unraveling at the end of the dream she’s tantalised us in, she will show us the secret door to the tempestuous fiery depths, in which if we enter, we can never go back

Now, the illustrious new symphonic-rock masterpiece ‘Synthesis’ is brought to life in it’s entirety, hold on tight, for we are going under

As the lights go down, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra open the door to the heavenly essence, as they start ‘Overture’ while Evanescence walk onto the stage in temporary absence of Amy, and with a godly roar from us in the audience, Amy glides onto the stage, in time to bring in the next song, ‘Never Go Back’. 

The lights flicker in sync to the dark heavy drum beats at the opening of ‘Never Go Back’, with Amy’s voice being pure and angelic, sending shivers down my spine. Amy let’s an orchestra member take over the piano she previously was playing in the song, so she can truly express the strength of her voice, singing with her incredible voice and body in perfect symmetry. In the second verse, the orchestra really step into the fold, bringing forth dramatic, dark cello and double bass, being the balanced darkness to Amy’s angelic light, with her spine tingling voice reaching climactic elevation nearing the songs’ close.

Leaving us all deeply spellbound, Amy now thanks us so much for being a part of this special occasion. As I sit completely God-smacked, I realise this venue, world-class orchestra and their sound mixer are weirdly perfect for this album and Amy’s symphonic vocals, with how the music is perfectly balanced to the point of me not requiring the use of my ear-plugs and with the way the walls around us hold and share the sound with one another. It's as if somehow, Amy wrote this album for this encounter.

A light electronic drum pattern and eery strings, bring us deeper into this dream for ‘Lacrymosa’, as we spiral deeper down the rabbit hole, to a mystical land unknown. The song gives off a haunting feeling as Amy’s voice is soft, wicked and hypnotic. Now the dark, haunting aura plunges into the intense cinematic deity wrath of electronic drum beats, with a calling of dramatic bass-dominated cello’s and double bass, and as the lights and music march us beneath, Amy throws her head from side to side, like a possessed voodoo doll, before she awakens from the curse, and her all-mighty classically trained voice breaks free, and elevates to incredible heights, calling to her fellow angels above.

Without a pause, the band now bring us straight into the ‘End Of The Dream’, which is then followed up with the hauntingly beautiful heart-throbbing symphony, ’My Heart Is Broken’ and emotion resurrecting track ‘Lithium’.  

A deep bass reigns throughout the hall, before Amy’s soft heaven sent voice joins the bass, and now, strings as Amy’s operatic voice raises in dynamics, echoing around me. As the rest of the song around Amy’s vocals build up to climactic shockwaves, Amy’s presence with the sinister music changes her from a sweet angel of God, to a vengeful poltergeist, haunting the world around her. The drummer too puts a demonic power into his performance, as if egging on the poltergeist in centre stage, and with the rest of the band along with the orchestra, it’s terrifying, yet exquisitely beautiful!

Now it seems our hearts can steady and our under-garments can dry, because it seems this poltergeist has been purified, and left now, is a sorrowful fallen angel reaching to the stars above in ‘My Heart Is Broken’. The purity of this angel is shone brightly, as Amy truly puts all her heart and soul into nailing every powerful note perfectly, bringing a new light through the taunting darkness that once was. With Amy’s strong expressive actions and the force of her voice, it sounds like she could be trapped within the story of this song, and fighting back tears which is as pure and authentic as a singer can get! Amy now demonstrates her ability to multi-task and takes her angelic ways to the piano for the songs’ bridge, before the explosion of celestial beauty in the final chorus.

After the band take a break while Amy and the orchestra bless us with a beautiful rendition of beloved classic ‘Lithium’, I’m now hit with a rush of euphoric tingles, as Amy and the symphony Bring Me To Life. After the first stripped back delicate chorus, some mystifying electronic sounds bring forth the pounding of drums and the full titan force of the orchestra, conducting Amy’s vengeful rocking out, reminding us all they are first and foremost a rock band. The energy from everyone on stage is worthy of raising the dead, and makes all my hairs stand on end as euphoric tingles continue to posses me.

The name’s Lee, Amy Lee, and she now takes to the piano to entrance us with her classically trained fingers for ‘Unravelling (interlude)’ which now leads into the seductive darkness of ‘Imaginary’. This song with it’s heavy beat, dramatic bass strings and Amy’s voice shooting cannons of energy throughout the hall, and the general dark vibe makes me feel like I’m in a James Bond film, and my senses are shaken, not stirred by the tantalising sensations the musics’ power has left me with. A license to kill absent attention indeed!

For the rest of the show we are blessed and cursed with the angelic beauty of songs like ‘Lost In Paradise’ and ‘My Immortal’ to the godly wrath of songs like harmonic-minor symphony, ‘Hi-Lo’, which Amy chats to us about before hand and has the wicked lights sweeping up into the sky with Amy’s elevating voice, raising the darkness from it’s depths. This is followed up with the seductive aural pleasures of ‘Your Star’, the floating ghostly sway of ‘Secret Door’ and it’s soft pattering of the piano melodies, and finally the apocalyptic storm of ‘Imperfection’, with Amy thanking us, and briefly chatting to her fans between songs, enlightening us all.

The sorrowful heart-aching beauty of ‘My Immortal’ is quintessentially haunting, yet a breath of life into my soul and even I have to hold back tears, as Amy’s performance touches and connects with everyone in this hall on such an intimate level. You can really feel the passion and the pain in the song with how accurately Amy performs it!

After ‘Imperfection’ and it’s assault of taunting musical energy in all it’s twisted beauty, everyone in the audience around me yearns for more, and pray for an encore.

The band rise from the darkness… of backstage, and grace us with three more songs, Amy’s own solo work in ‘Speak To Me’ followed by ‘Good Enough’ and finally, ‘Swimming Home’. Before playing the first of these biblical passages, Amy talks about how a while ago she wondered what the difference between life and death is, and how it can be like a breath, or…. something, and how it lead to this song. I have a feeling I’m going to have trouble remembering exactly what she’s saying, later when I write this review. And finally, in ‘Swimming Home’ the essence of the song is perfectly fitting for a final embrace, as it feels like the darkness has been vanquished, and now a beautiful bright sense of resolution is bestowed upon us, leaving us all with a fulfilling sensation, ending the show perfectly, leaving a tear in many eyes, I’m sure!

Angelic, taunting, terrifying, tantalising and exceedingly exquisite! The heart and soul, purity and honesty Amy puts into her angelic voice and performance is truly spectacular, and can’t be matched! I feel so blessed (even being un-religious as I am) to have experienced these rock icons that helped mould my childhood, in such a beautiful theme!