REVIEW: Evanescence Wraps Orchestral “Synthesis” in Brooklyn

Amy Lee’s Evanescence returned to NYC for the first time in a long time, along with some new members since their last big tour and an orchestra – something Evanescence has never been known for – to play Brooklyn’s somewhat-recently-restored Kings Theater , a movie-theater-turned-concert-hall in Flatbush – also not a place we’d expect to see an act like Evanescence, to play one last night with an orchestra before continuing their Synthesis tour in Chicago at the end of the month, minus the orchestra. This version of Evanescence is vastly different from the Evanescence that played Carnival of Madness years ago. The music has changed, the fans have changed, and if it wasn’t before, it’s clearly the Amy Lee show now.

That was made apparent right off the rip on Friday night as Lee was the only one with any light on her, with the rest of the band sitting down in the shadows behind her while Lee stole the spotlight, and the show. In total, the strong setlist featured 22 songs if you want to count the orchestra’s renditions of six classical pieces from Beethoven to Mozart, but it was entirely too cold to go out for that and I spent enough time listening to both composers in a college music class that still gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about. I happily skipped the orchestral opening and took my time getting to the venue just to catch the real show.

Not having the slightest idea what to expect from a band I knew well before their hiatus in a setting you wouldn’t expect to find them in – a la Meatloaf with the Melbourne symphony orchestra 10 years ago or the orchestral Jethro Tull from eons ago – led to many pleasant surprises along the way, with only a few tracks off the new album, which just so happened to come out on the same day the band wrapped their orchestra run while the rest of the set was filled with new takes on songs from their days as a hard rock band. The orchestral take on Bring Me to Life was especially fun to hear. That’s the song everyone knows as Evanescence, even if you’ve never heard any of their others, and hearing Amy Lee’s still-powerful voice soar over the orchestra on it was impressive as hell.

Other than the obvious takes on the above-mentioned Bring Me to Life and the obvious inclusion of hits like My Immortal and Lost in Paradise, the set featured 5 songs off Synthesis including Hi-Lo, Imperfection, The In-Between, Unraveling and the album’s overture to begin the show, along with a three-song encore featuring one of Lee’s solo efforts, Speak to Me along with Good Enough and Swimming Home to end to group’s run with an orchestra, something Amy Lee mentioned near the end of the show that she had dreamed about since she was a kid.

Seeing a band like Evanescence with an orchestra is weird in all the right ways. The music just works with an orchestra behind it, and with Amy Lee pumping out vocals over both the band and the orchestra, I feel bad for anyone who didn’t get a chance to see this. You won’t be able to see them with an orchestra on the rest of the tour, and I’m glad I didn’t decide to stay home with an Irish hot chocolate on a night where the wind chill sent temperatures into the teens, instead braving the cold and the nightmare that is parking in Flatbush to check out a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Evanescence might have become The Amy Lee Show since their hiatus, but it should be. She’s just that good.

Check out the (small) photo gallery, shot from the mixer, below.