Arkansas rockers Evanescence back in London for the first time in five years.
Evanescence stormed the Hammersmith Apollo during the second of their two-night residency at this famous west London venue.
As a photographer tonight, I got very lucky. Evanescence were known in journalistic circles for being a little camera shy on this tour, having previously relegated photographers to the back of the venue. I was prepared for the worst with a set of step ladders under my arm. In the end, we got to shoot from the photo pit and it was immense. My redundant ladder was checked into the cloakroom.
The band have clearly lost little of the energy and passion they brought when their album ‘Fallen’ established them as superstars in 2003. The number one single that spawned from it, ‘Bring Me To Life’, has since become a mainstay of rock radio stations around the world.
One thing is not in doubt: vocalist Amy Lee is something to behold and as much a signature of this band as Jagger is to the Stones or Mercury was to Queen. Her velvety Mezzo Soprano rang clear around the venue tonight and when she hit those high notes (and she always did), the glassware was in serious peril.
After three songs, security escorted the photographers out via a fire exit and I fought my way back in for the rest of the show. By now, Amy was sat centre stage at a grand piano performing a sweet, stripped back version of ‘Lithium’ from the 2006 release ‘The Open Door’. Symphonic Metal isn’t just power chords and double kick drums you see. I had a good chance to survey the audience from the back. It certainly straddled generations but there was no evidence of ‘Dad dragged child’ that I see at a lot of gigs. The pull of this band is clearly far, wide and deep.
Mid way through the show, two-thirds of the band departed and Amy was joined up front for a sit-down with guitarists Troy McLawhorn and Jen Majura. “I’m sorry, you guys still have to stand up” said Amy shortly before launching into ‘My Immortal’. The crowd screamed back the words. Lee, McLawhorn and Majura were joined by bassist Tim McCord, and drummer Will Hunt re-occupied his place behind the kit – but the front four remained planted and the laid-back vibe remained intact for ‘The Change’.
Not surprisingly, ‘Bring Me To Life’ closed the main set and this resulted in a predicable sea of devices all waving about recording some deeply unwatchable and deeply unlistenable mobile phone footage. Part way through, Amy encouraged the audience to clap their hands in the air; an act that was a source of conflict to the mobile wavers. At the end, Hunt was given the chance he had obviously been craving for the previous ninety minutes to go completely nuts, and then the band walked off.
I took this as my cue to leave. I had a long drive, an 0520-alarm call and a set of step ladders to extricate from the cloakroom. By the time I had been repatriated with the car (it was a long walk) and drove around the front of the Odeon, the crowd was only just streaming out across Hammersmith Broadway. It must have been a hell of an encore.
The Evanescence In Concert Tour continues now through mainland Europe and a new album, Synthesis (recorded with full orchestra) will be released in the Autumn.