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Evanescence at Sony Centre For The Performing Arts in Toronto, Canada

Evanescence has been firing up their engines for the last two years, after having taken several years off. Last month, they released Synthesis, an album of hits re-worked with an orchestral accompaniment, along with three new tracks for the album including the first single “Imperfection.” Now, they’ve taken this album on the road for a very special tour complete with a full orchestra on stage.

While not the first rock band to attempt this kind of show in recent years, Evanescence’s catalog lends itself particularly well to the orchestral treatment. Kicking off the show with Amy Lee at the piano for “Overture,” then transitioning directly to “Never Go Back” made the statement early that this show would be a night to remember. In what was probably the most natural song of the performance, “Lacrymosa” was performed next, which from its origins was built around “Lacrimosa” from Mozart’s Requim K.626.

The big hits started with “Bring Me to Life,” a little before mid-set. Compared to its origins, this song was probably the biggest departure of the set, completely removing the rap verse originally sung by 12 Stones front-man Paul McCoy. Here, the song was presented with more depth than ever before.

As they began “Lost in Paradise” with the smoke rising off of Lee’s shoulders, the true weight of this show started to settle in. Every single song in this set was made bigger than itself tonight. It felt as though the musicians on stage weren’t so much as performing each number, but actually creating each song in the moment. In some way, this was exactly the case. On each tour stop, Evanescence performs with a different orchestra, so what the audience witnessed was the first time the band ever performed these songs with their respective orchestra.

Near the end of the set, Amy Lee introduced another massive hit with “My Immortal,” where she thanked the fans in Toronto for being among the first to embrace Evanescence. Looking back on the band's career so far, she continued “Thank you so much for giving this song new meaning to me.”

The set was closed out with “Imperfection,” the first single and final number on the “Synthesis” album. As they rounded out the album and Evanescence left the stage, the orchestra stayed firmly in place. Like any great rock show, the encore was still to come. Lee returned to the stage (sans the rest of the band) to perform two additional tracks “Speak to Me” (an Amy Lee solo song) from the movie “Voice From the Stone” and “Good Enough” from 2006’s “The Open Door.” The full band returned to close out the evening with “Weight of the World” (also from “The Open Door.”

“Synthesis Live” was a gargantuan experience from start to finish. While Evanescence performed with more musicians on stage than ever before, the show was largely centered around Lee, and that was perfectly ok. It’s tempting to appreciate this evening as a once-in-a-lifetime treat, but I honestly hope that’s not true. Evanescence’s music has always had a lot of depth to it, and this provided a perfect outlet for them to follow these songs down the proverbial rabbit hole farther than ever before. Throughout the course of the set, as each song drove deeper and spoke louder than in their previous incarnations, I kept thinking of all the people that would appreciate this show. That’s always been one of the biggest signs of a great performance. I sincerely hope they expand this tour in the future. In the meantime, be sure to catch one of the few remaining dates if the tour has yet to come through your city.

Setlist:

  1. Overture
  2. Never Go Back
  3. Lacrymosa
  4. End of the Dream
  5. My Heart is Broken
  6. Lithium
  7. Bring Me to Live
  8. Unraveling
  9. Imaginary
  10. Secret Door
  11. Hi-Lo
  12. Lost in Paradise
  13. Your Star
  14. My Immortal
  15. The In-Between
  16. Imperfection

Encore:

  1. Speak to Me (Amy Lee song)
  2. Good Enough
  3. Weight of the World

Text and photos by Charlie Meister

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