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Carnival of Madness Tour; August 20th, 2012, Sioux City, Iowa: New Medicine, Cavo, Halestorm, Chevelle, Evanescence

Carnival of Madness
August 20th, 2012
Sioux City, Iowa
Tyson Event Center

New Medicine, Cavo, Halestorm, Chevelle, Evanescence

Tonight’s Carnival of Madness, presented by Monster Energy Drink, was an early show. Doors opened at 4:30p, giving the fans just enough time to find their places for New Medicine who were opening tonight’s show. The arena lights dimmed just before 5:00 o’clock at the crowd erupted with cheers and screams. But the Arena was not as full as I’d have liked. Sioux City, Iowa is always a tough sell for rock and metal bands. The fans seem geared more towards country music up here in these parts.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of New Medicine put they’re a great opening act and do a decent enough job priming the crowd. The band’s light show was intense. Strobe lights flashed and popped during their set and did enhance the feel of their music. Matt, Dan, Jake and Ryan have gotten more energetic than the last time I saw them but it also seemed like they were playing the same set as the last time I saw them.
Keep in mind this was my fourth time seeing the band live and they have improved a bit over the past few years, but whenever I meet the guys, I get the impression that I’m not an important fan because I don’t have a nice pair of tits.
Their new single, Rich Kids, got the best reaction from the crowd. Jake Scherer told the fans that the song was written about a bunch of pretentious assholes that he went to high school with. New Medicine closed their 25 minute set with their latest single, Racing To the Bottom.

Early on in the evening, it was announced that Halestorm and Evanescence would be signing during tonight’s show. Evanescence signed at 5:55 for a small group of fans. Roughly 25 people got autographs from the entire band.

Cavo took the stage next and amped up the energy that New Medicine had attempted to extract from the crowd. Lead vocalist Casey Walker took the stage with a burst of energy and started the band’s by joining Chris Hobbs on guitar for their set’s first song. Even though the band is keeping up the energy that New Medicine started, the crowd is rather lame tonight. To amp the crowd, Walker asks the fans to call the local rock station everyday and request the band’s new single, Circles.
But I’m still trying to get a handle on tonight’s crowd. I see more people taking pics with their cellphones than there are fans fist pumping. I remember the days before cellphones when you had to have a friend sneak in your camera by hiding it in her bra.

Even though the arena is only about half full, Cavo are giving 100% and performing like they’re in front of a sold out crowd. Walker and the band are grateful for this opportunity though and he takes the time to thank the crowd for letting the band live their dreams.
The band’s hit Champagne is last song of their set and gets the best reaction of their set. Arejay Hale, co-founder and drummer of Halestorm, joins the band on stage. The crowd finally sings along during last chorus.

Monster Energy Drink sponsored this amazing tour and we’re very thankful for the opportunity to meet Halestorm. It was announced after Cavo’s set that the band would be signing around 9pm, after Chevelle’s set.

Halestorm are up next and the whispers throughout the crowd were that this would be the first band of the show that the most people were excited to see. While’s Arejay’s drumkit was being setup, the band’s piano tech played TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE STAR during soundcheck on Lzzy’s piano and the crowd burst into cheers. It was cute to see that the crew was having so much fun on this tour.
When the arena’s lights were finally killed, I heard the evening’s first genuine screams of excitement coming from the crowd. Arejay was the first to bounce on stage, his face covered by the same skull faced bandana I bought the last time I saw Rob Zombie. The first three songs of every band’s set are always a blur. Seeing my favorite musicians through the lens of my Cannon is an amazing experience that I can’t really describe. Lzzy is always dressed up for their shows and tonight was no exception. A loose fitting top, a pair of boy shorts, fishnets and high heels. Lzzy was ready to spend their set rocking our faces off while flirting behind her microphone.
“It doesn’t matter where in Iowa you’re from,” Lzzy told us before a blistering rendition of Freak Like Me, “It’s all corn here and you’ll drive hours for a rock show and show up early and rock out hard because you’re a freak like me.”

Even though this was the 7th time I’ve seen Halestorm since 2005, tonight’s show was the first time myself and many of the fans would be hearing the band’s new material live.
Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith then left the stage as Lzzy passed off her guitar and seated herself at the piano. The crowd went bananas. I had no idea Lzzy even knew how to play the piano. Lzzy would be playing a heart wrenching version of Breaking In. The fans burst into cheers when Amy Lee emerged from the shadows and joined Lzzy in a duet. I follow Amy Lee on twitter and had heard that the two have performed the song together on this tour but wasn’t sure if tonight’s show was going to be blessed with the duet.

Young Arejay Hale continued to amaze the crowd throughout the band’s set. He’s one of the most animated drummers I’ve seen live. Several times during each of the set’s songs, Arejay would toss a stick into the air, catch it behind his back and not miss a beat. Well, except for that one time that he missed and it hit him on the head. It’s also great to see that Arejay still provides backing vocals from much of the set.
This tour found the band focusing more on their new material and it’s always great to see a band perform so many tracks off of a recently released album. Most band’s play 2 or 3 new songs, but it was the opposite for Halestorm, only two tracks from their full length major label release were played. By the time the first chords of You Call Me A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing were struck, the crowd had been utterly enthralled by Lzzy’s grace behind the mic stand. Fans were throwing devil horns and fists were pumping for the entire set as Lzzy continued to flirt with our aural sense.

By this point in the show, Smith and Hottinger’s energy levels had also raised to match the crowds and they paced back and forth on stage, teasing the crowd by tossing the occassional pick. Arejay’s energy though only continued to rise and peacked during I Miss The Misery as he jumped over his kit, still beating the cymbals and then started to strut around the stage until Lzzy noticed. “Get back there,” she giggled and pointed to Arejay’s seat.
The crowd sang every word of I Get Off as we were treated to another brilliant light show.
“Iowa,” Lzzy screamed at us, “we’ll keep coming back as long as you’ll have us.” Of course we want Halestorm back! Dedicated to the fans, Halestorm closed their exhausting set with Here’s To Us and promised to return for another amazing show.

Love Bites (So Do I)
Mz. Hyde
It’s Not You
Freak Like Me
Break In (with Amy Lee)
Rock Show
You Call Me A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing
I Miss the Misery
I Get Off
Here’s to Us

Now comes the time of the evening I was most excited for. As much as I adore Halestorm, I am a valiant fan of Chevelle. They’re one of the few bands that I’ve been lucky enough to have followed since almost the beginning. I remember seeing them at 9 o’clock in the morning, on a Wednesday, during Ozzfest 2002 and to see them perform in front of sold out auditorium shows and to grace the stage of arena’s, it’s truly amazing.
This isn’t the first time Chevelle have toured with Evanescence. Chevelle filled the supporting slot back in 2007 during the Open Door North American tour. Seeing these two bands live during the same show is always a thrill for me.
Chevelle’s crowd size has doubled since New Medicine opened the show and with good reason. Chevelle puts on one helluva show. Sam Loeffler is every bit as animated behind the drums as Arejay Hale is and I’d go as far as to say even more. Pete Loeffler has mastered his ability to work the crowd over like a conductor.
Tonight’s set was the perfect a mix of older and newer tracks. Moving from the floor to the upper levels of the arena, it was a sight to see the arena’s floor packed with bouncing bodies and fists raised in unison.

After a surprise performance of The Meddler, Pete addressed the crowd. “Are you the type of crowd who likes water dumped all over them or not?” Rasing into one singluar voice, the fans screamed YES. “You dirty, dirty people. This next song is called Get Some and it goes out to you”
Fists continued to pump in the air and moshing was mandatory during The Clincher. Pete must have noticed the crowd’s reaction to the band’s older material and ended the track by saying “Now that felt good to me.”
Older tracks given a heavier feel, much like I Get It, which got an extended outtro and deeper bassline. Newer tracks, like Piñata, were given short introduction. Pete told the crowd “This is one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written”. Taking a step back from his mic stand and leaning in close, Pete continued with “Please enjoy”. It didn’t take long for circle pits to open throughout the floor. I counted three at one point of the evening.

As much as the crowd enjoyed the new material, it was the older tracks that the crowd seemed most fond of. Every single word of Send The Pain Below was sung by the fans. Bernardini, who usually takes the backing vocals, let the crowd have their moment. Pete was in a great mood tonight. “No one rocks a half full arena like you do, Sioux city,” he joked with the crowd. And he was right. The arena was only half full. A shame since tonight’s show was one of the best times I’ve seen Chevelle perform.

Dean was also in a playful mood. During the solos of The Red, Pete and Dean switched spots and Dean took his place behind Pete’s mic stand, left foot propped up, posing much like Pete does. It was pretty funny to watch Pete playfully kick Dean back to his side of the stage.
To all good things must come and end though and Chevelle’s set was no exception. The band closed their set with Face To The Cloor as the more circle pits opened and fans foudn their way to crowd surf.

Sleep Apnea
Hats Off to the Bull
The Meddler
Get Some
The Clincher
I Get It
Send the Pain Below
The Red
Face to the Floor

Now comes that time of the evening that thousands of screaming fans were waiting for. Evanescence was about to take the stage and continue to prove to us that real, authentic, metal music is alive and well, and will kick you in the face if you have any doubts.
Tonight marked my 13th time seeing Evanescence live since 2003 and that moment when the arena lights go out and the band walks on to stage never gets old. Evanescence is one of those few bands that I could honestly watch every night for the rest of my life. I’ve never been let down with their live set, no matter who’s backing Amy Lee. It’s just a shame that the band as a whole has had to live their growing pains with so much attention put on how those changes would affect the final outcome of the band’s music. I can tell you with 100% certainty that the amazing music Amy Lee and crew have released since the drastic line-up change before the band’s 2007 stint on the Family Values Tour would not have happened if Lee hadn’t recruited the amazing talent that she did. Lee has always commanded the crowds fullest attention while she twirled around the stage like a faerie on acid, but it’s only been during the band’s recent tour that I’ve seen her genuinely smile on stage. I’m not saying that she was always angry during their live shows, it just seems to me that she’s now having fun and completely enjoys her time on stage in front of an audience.

Tonight’s set would be no different. Drummer Will Hunt was the first to take his place and was greeted with cheers from the crowd, cheers that grew in intensity as Troy McLawhorn, Tim McCord and Terry Balsamo each took their places and hammered into What You Want as Amy Lee bounded onto the stage. The energy the band projected from the moment their set started was rebounded against thousands of screaming fans eager for the opportunity to be apart of tonight’s show.
The scene grew slightly more emotionally dark as the band cut through Going Under. McLawhorn joined Lee at the front of the stage during the track’s solo. We soon reached the first peak of the evening with Lee on keyboard during portions of The Other Side. Tonight’s show was full of aural peaks and chasms. The crowd formed full circle pits during Weight Of The World and pressed on with thier intensity as Lee and the boys hammered through an extended version of Made Of Stone. Lee took the chance during Made Of Stone to point at the crowd during the song’s intro, an exaggerated finger stabbing at the air as she sang, “Don’t waste your time.” Evanescence are a rock band.

Lee’s grand piano was then hauled on stage but after a few chords, Lee decided it needed further tuning and played the intro for Good Enough. The crowd’s reaction was expected as the soft, teasing chimes of Good Enough melted into Lithium. Fan’s lighters were set ablaze, cell phones sprung to life, and the moshing began once again.
For those of you who doubt that a lead singer can rock a crowd while playing a piano, you’ve obviously never seen Amy Lee play Lost In Paradise. Tonight was a showcase of not only how well the band performed as a group, but how much talent Amy Lee herself has seated in front of her piano. Lost In Paradise bled seemlessly into My Heart Is Broken, my personal favorite track off of the band’s self-titled release. Balsamo, McLawhorn, McCord and Hunt were in top form tonight, never missing a beat while smashing the crowd with incredible intensity. Lee also continues to amaze and impress me. Each time I see the band live, the sound improves and Lee’s vocal range is perfected more and more.
During the extended intro for Whisper, which I’ve not heard played live for years, a single crowd surfer was pushed to the front of the crowd, a crowd that was still set ablaze by fans using their cellphones in an attempt to capture even one photo or a few seconds of video. A mic stand was brought on stage after Whisper ended and Lee used this to drive home the meaning behind The Change, swaying back and forth, front and back. With a white knuckled grip, Lee was using the mic stand to support herself during a song meant to chastise a former love.
The lights were then dimmed once again as the deep bass hum of Oceans peaked the interest of the crowd. Stage lights mimicing ocean waves flooded the stage and areana. A simple lighting effect but used to perfectly enhance the mood of this dark track. As Balsamo headbanged at stage left, Lee prowled around the stage and twirled between McCord and McLawhorn.

Lee once again found herself in front of her keyboard during Never Go Back and Call Me When You’re Sober. The crowd sang and screamed every word of the latter and the pit bosses in the crowd once again reigned over the floor’s occupants. Moshing reached a peak during Imaginary, another of my most favorite tracks to be witnessed live. Imaginary is such musically complicated track; string arrangements, backing vocals, and Lee going backand forth between the keyboard and stage. Since the 2007 Open Door Tour, the band hasn’t used any prerecorded piano tracks, it’s Lee who plays those live now.

Lee took to the keyboard for the final time of their set, playing the track that made Evanescence a household name; Bring Me To Life. Paul McCoy’s vocals, previously sung live by former memeber John LeCompt, were instead sung by the crowd, even if they weren’t needed. After a brief jam session during the song’s outro, Lee thanked the crowd for joining them and the band left the stage. But shouldn’t they have played one more song?
In the dim stage light, the crew wheeled out Lee’s piano for the final time of the evening. Having seen the setlist, I was excited to finally hear Disappear live but it wasn’t meant to be. Lee walked on stage and wasted no time addressing the crowd. “You guys want one more song,” she asked us. “It’s exactly what you expect.”
My Immortal closed out the evening. For one last time, the crowd was again set ablaze with cellphones and lighters.
Sadly, Evanescence didn’t play Disappear, one of the bonus tracks off the band’s self-titled release. When we spoke with Tim McCord after the show, he didn’t know why the track was cut. “You’d have to ask Amy,” he told us, “but I’m (mad) it got cut. I love playing that song.”
After a few hours of waiting behind the tour buses, Miss Lee finally emerged from the venue. “Since you guys have waited this long,” she told us, “I’d like to meet you all.” Amy signed autographs for the few fans who’d waited and spoke to us breifly about the tour. When I asked her about why we didn’t get Disappear in our set, she said, “I’m getting sick and had to cut it because we’ve got another show tomorrow.” Sounds legit. She did thank me when I told her this was the 14th time I’ve seen the band live and she’d never sounded better. “Are you sure? I’m kinda stuffed up.” Yes, Amy. You sounded amazing.
Here’s to the next show.

What You Want
Going Under
The Other Side
Weight of the World
Made of Stone
Good Enough (intro only)
Lost In Paradise
My Heart Is Broken
The Change
Never Go Back
Call Me When You’re Sober
Bring Me to Life

My Immortal

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