Story & Photos by Andy Lyons, Editor-in-Chief
After announcing a hiatus in 2012, Evanescence has remained on the minds of fans through bad news of band member departures, and the delights of vocalist Amy Lee’s 2016 solo EP “Recover, Vol.1.” The anticipation of new music from the group hit a high note earlier this year when Lee announced the group was working on something new that would be “orchestra and electronica,” and later gave away the title of the new album – “Synthesis.”
Evanescence released the album Nov. 10 and hit the road to support it in October, with a full orchestra bringing the album to life. The Synthesis Live Tour stopped at Kansas City Music Hall Dec. 11 to a packed house full of fans hungry to catch the band live and see what Lee & Co. could produce live.
The crowd was a weird amalgamation of fans ready for a symphony show at one of KC’s legendary venues, with some dressed in suits and gowns while others donned black band T’s and jeans. The difference didn’t matter to anyone, everyone came together to enjoy a night of incredible music.
The show’s orchestra – Monday’s show included members of the Kansas City Symphony – opened the show playing classics such as Mozart’s “La Chasse” and Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and finished the set with “Sally’s Song,” a Danny Elfman classic from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The last track was a nod to a song Lee sang vocals for on the “Nightmare Revisited” album that included music from the movie done by contemporary pop and rock bands.
After a brief intermission, the orchestra took the stage again, this time joined by the band. As a spotlight shown on Lee, who was behind a grand piano, the crowd erupted into a huge applause, the first of many throughout the night.
The combination of synthesizer and electric drums with the orchestra added a depth to Evanescence’s sound that allowed Lee’s vocals to really shine. The tracks from the new album came across fuller live, and the tracks reimagined to be performed with an orchestra came across with an added depth – fans roared for Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” and “My Immortal.”
The production value wasn’t missed either. The show included a laser light show and the stage setup had the orchestra split in half stage right and stage left, with Lee front and center with the rest of Evanescence behind her. She was flanked by orchestrator Susie Bench, whose credits include the scores for a multitude of films and video games.
The show demonstrated how Evanescence has evolved throughout their history. While the band has only released four albums, each has shown progress as the group works around Lee’s incredible vocal range. Playing with an orchestra really gives her vocals a chance to transcend and move from the trappings of a rock band and into a more varied opera songstress.
Check out Evanescence’s fourth album, “Synthesis,” below via Spotify: