Fifteen years ago, Evanescence brought gothic rock into the spotlight. Now the band is back and spicing things up again – all grown up, reinvented, and touring with a 30+ person orchestra as part of their backup band. It’s not the first time a hard rock or heavy metal band has partnered with a symphony for a one-of-a-kind live experience. While Metallica and KISS have successfully pulled it off in the past, the combination of Evanescence and a full orchestra almost feels natural. 15,000 fans packed Toronto’s Budweiser Stage last night (July 27) to get a taste of a freshly seasoned Evanescence.
Opening the night to a packed house was violinist extraordinaire and YouTube sensation, Lindsey Stirling, who has turned violin playing into a full-on extravaganza of dancers, visuals and rock symphony. Stirling steals your attention as she dances, prances and shakes her hips around the stage all while playing intricate violin licks. Stirling tells stories through her violin. She shared that she once struggled with depression and anorexia and still gets nervous before every show. She explained that rather than trying to cancel her fear she adds positivity and confidence. The following song was about adding light to a room of darkness. Stirling wrapped her hour-long set with an epic Phantom of the Opera medley.
At the forefront of Evanescence is leading lady and supreme vocalist, Amy Lee. In fact, the rest of the band really takes a back seat to Lee, whose powerful voice work is only further amplified by the backing symphony. It is likely one of the only hard rock bands the audience will remain seated for just to take in the vocal showcase.
The set opened slowly as Lee warmed up, before getting into fan favourites like “My Heart is Broken and “Lithium.” However, if you were expecting to hear these Evanescence tunes how you remember them on the album, you may have been surprised to hear all the melodies have been adapted to include the orchestra. The mega hit, “Bring Me to Life” especially was very much reconstructed and now sans rap section and male vocals all together.
Songs like “Lost in Paradise” and a cover of The Beatles “Across the Universe” proved to be highlights. But perhaps the peak of the night came during the spine-tingling, hair-raising, eye-watering vocal performance of “My Immortal,” which literally had fans crying in their seats. The result of which was a standing ovation.
During the encore, everyone returned to the stage, including Lindsey Stirling, for a fun and surprising mashup cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s “No More Tears” and Sia’s “Alive” to conclude this special night. One can potentially see hundreds of great bands and concerts across Toronto this summer, but the Evanescence + Lindsey Stirling tour is a truly unique experience unlike anything else right now.