Evanescence exceed all expectations playing Synthesis live with an orchestra
09:00 2nd April 2018

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Certain misgivings are at the forefront of my mind before arriving at the Royal Festival Hall, London. Will Evanescence still hold the same value without their trademark rock element or is this bold step too much of a stylistic change for their audiences to accept. These questions arise from the announcement of their 2017 album which includes re-workings of previous song material with the addition of an orchestral arrangement.

Adding to my uncertainties is the knowledge that Evanescence are working with a local orchestra they have only just met. Surely putting on a performance such as this takes many hours of rehearsing with an orchestra despite individuals having the ability to play from any song sheet. That said, it’s a risky move, especially when the band has so much to prove. But lead singer Amy Lee laughs it off like she has nothing to lose.

It doesn’t take long to work out why she is so confident. When the drums and synthesisers kick in after the introduction of string instruments, the multiple layers in this performance make it become a whole different jaw-dropping experience. Never Go Back is a great example as the multi-instrumentalist brings it to life by playing the piano and the violins join in before the fast beat of the drums tie it all together.

Don’t expect Lee to be sitting at the piano the entire time. Similar to her previous non-orchestral performances, she moves around well despite not having the constant heavy guitar to rock out to. Her frantic hand gestures make the black chiffon material to her dress move about wildly. The way she presents both her body language and vocals is so dramatic, you can’t help but hang on to every word she sings.

All previous doubts long forgotten, tonight has big elements which were arguably formed from their musical origins, so introducing an orchestra felt like a natural progression. Surprisingly, the music still has many doses of heavy, atmospheric aspects so audiences shouldn’t feel deprived of the original ‘rocky’ style.

Evanescence have progressed to another level musically and their most recent album Synthesis is a prime example of showing growth.

Words: Catherine Verrechia
Photo: Matt Thorpe

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