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Evanescence 04-24-2012

Evanescence Album Tour
April 24th, 2012
Midland Theater AMC
Kansas City, Missouri

It’s been a rough month and a day trip to Kansas City to see Evanescence was the perfect vacation solution. I’d been hoping for this opportunity since a second leg of the Evanescence Album Tour was announced. I always have such high hopes for Amy Lee and Evanescence, especially not knowing what’s going to be played during their set. Would it be a good mix of new material? Would there be an encore? What would she be wearing? Would my media pass be at will call before doors opened at 7pm? And how many more times would Tim McCord get locked out of the bus. Seriously. The poor guy was locked out three times while we stood outside the venue.


We took this opportunity to chat with some of the fans who had won the Meet and Greet with the band, a dozen lucky fans.To everyone’s surprise, the Meet and Greet also included sitting in on the band’s 5 song sound check. If the reactions of the fans to the sound check were any indication, we were all in for a real treat. We were lucky enough to have the chance to speak with Tim and Terry Balsamo while we were waiting, and Amy Lee even made a quick escape from the venue to the bus and back again.

Kansas City local band, Waiting For Signal opened the show with their own brand of rock music. During Waiting For Signal’s performance, Amy Lee could be seen from the side of the stage,watching the local KC band,and she was really getting into their set. I’ve never seen her watching one of Evanescence’s opening bands before. I’m not saying that she never does, just that I’ve never seen it happen. Lee was visibly bouncing to the beats, and even head banged a few times. Evanescence’s drummer, Will Hunt, took to the crowd for the last half of WaitingFor Signal’s set and seemed very impressed with them.

While I didn’t really enjoy the style of music from Weaving The Fate, halfway through their set, the crowd did finally start bouncing around.

The fans had set their expectations very high for Amy Lee since the release of Evanescence’s self-titled album in the fall of 2011. It had been nearly five years since the band had gone on tour, six years since their sophomore release, and ten years since the release of their major label debut. Fans were rabid for new material.

Tonight’s show marked my 12th time seeing the band live, and they truly were in top form. The band opened their hour and a half long set with What You Want, the first single off of their self-titled album, with founder and only remaining original member, Amy Lee, twirling around the stage in a flowing dress. Troy McLawhorn and Terry Balsamo hammered through guitar solos while showed off their head banging talents. Tim McCord, however, played the casual, cool band member, seductively strummed his bass. Will Hunt’s stage antics got almost as much attention as Amy Lee’s. Nearly every song performed found Will tossing a stick in the air, catching it behind his back and continuing his assault on the drums. It’s wonderful to see the band having so much fun on stage. This is Evanescence as it should have always been.

Lee and the boys hammered through Going Under, The Other Side, Lee playing a keyboard during the tracks outtro, and Weight of the World. The band pushed through an amazing version of Made Of Stone, showcasing the boys’ talents with an extended intro, while Lee took once again to the keyboard. Lee then retired to the Baldwin piano for Lost In Paradise, My Heart Is Broken and Lithium. Seeing Lee hammering away at a Baldwin while Terry and Troy thrash about on stage proves that Evanescence is a full-fledgedrock band. I even noticed several people moshing during My Heart Is Brokenand Lithium, bringing a smile to Lee’s face as she looked into the crowd.

The emotions coming from Lee during My Heart Is Broken were breathtaking. Lee’s vocals were perfect, hitting every note with ease. What was truly impressive was the lack of any backing vocal tracks. The string arrangements were the only prerecorded tracks.

While the stage show was rather stripped down, with very little decorations, the light show only heightened the dark mood of the band’s music. Flashes of red from stage right mixed with blue strobes from stage right and bathed the crowd in an eerie glow, giving the appearance of staring at a 3D photo without the 3D glasses. The synthesizer hum heralded the introduction of Sick, and found the venue flashing and popping with a dark purple glow. During the third verse of the track, Lee belted out “I can still taste the poison” while the lights burst a sickening green.

The band took a short break after Sick and Lee took time to again address the crowd while a microphone stand was brought on stage. “I’m having a lot of fun tonight,” she told the crowd, and it showed in her energetic performance. I’ve never seen Lee use a microphone stand before, but she clung to it like a woman trying to hold on to her lover during The Change. Her facial expressions went back and forth between anger and frustration during the 2nd and 3rd chorus’ of the track. While a simple sheet hung behind the stage, a smoke and light show that danced around the venue and covered the backdrop, giving an ethereal feel to the stage.

Another short break followed. Amy again addressed the crowd, at one point apologizing for the last show they had to cancel in the KC area. “We’re so sorry for the last time we had to cancel, but I want to thank all of you for giving us a hard time and welcoming us back.” I can only assume she meant the food poisoning incident back in 2007 that forced the band to cancel two shows. As a stage hand wheeled her Baldwin piano back on stage, Lee was still talking to the crowd. Paying no attention to what was going on behind her, she backed up and nearly tripped over the piano stool and was caught by the stage hand. No one in the crowd seemed to care though. We were all enthralled, worshipping the Rock Goddess.

Lee stepped back to the keyboard,and the first chords beckoned Call Me When You’re Sober. The crowd erupted. Their excitement continued through Imaginary while the strobe lights burst, brilliant hues of purple washed over the backdrop which flashed the band’s logo. Lee played Imaginary‘s keyboard outtro while Will mercilessly beat his drum kit. It was so great seeing Lee not rely on the prerecorded piano parts for this show and really show her pure talent as an artist.

Lee then sat herself back at her piano and asked the crowd to “sing along because I know you all know the words.” Cell phones and lighters sprung to life and set the crowd in a sparkling glow as Lee purred her way through My Immortal. The slight swaying of the crowd turned into all out jumping and fist pumping when Hunt, McLawhorn, Balsamo and McCord joined Lee on stage for the final chorus.

Leaving the stage without a word, the band soon returned for their encore. With McLawhown on the acoustic guitar, McCord on keyboard, and Lee back at the Baldwin, none of us were expecting to hear Swimming Home during tonight’s set and Lee hit all the high notes. Still plucking away at the keys, Lee tinked the opening notes for Your Star and the crowd erupted once more. But there was more to come!

“Did we miss a song,” Lee asked the crowd? The funny thing about that statement is that some of us were talking before the show about how we’d like for Evanescence to end their set on a high note and not with their last song being a ballad like My Immortal. Back at the piano for a final time, Lee kicked off the last song of the evening: Bring Me To Life. Looking overjoyed with the crowd’s reaction, Lee twirled and spun around the stage. The male vocals are now cut from the live performance of the band’s break-through-single, focusing more on the total style of this new version of Evanescence. Lee thanked the fans one final time as the Terry and the boys played her off stage. A perfect end to an amazing set.

With roughly 1,700 people attending tonight’s show, I was a little shocked that only about three dozen fans waiting outside for the chance to meet the band. Tim was the first to greet the fans, followed by Terry. Finally, Amy walked over to the crowd who had been barricaded in next to their bus. While we were not allowed to take photos with Amy, Tim and Terry did pose with the fans, and Amy made sure to sign something for every fan. And thanks to one cool fan, another cool fan got two things signed.

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