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Evanescence: Synthesis Live 12/11/2017

Synthesis Live 2017
Kansas City Music Hall
Kansas City, Missouri
December 11th, 2017

It had been just over 5 years since the last time I’d seen Evanescence in concert, and so much had changed. Tonight’s show would be part of the Synthesis Live tour, a performance unlike any that we’ve seen before. The band would be touring in support of their Synthesis release, a “Best of” collection of tracks that had been reworked with full orchestra music. The Synthesis Live tour would also feature an orchestra backing the band as they toured theaters and opera houses across the world.
There has always been some sort of orchestra presence within Evanescence’s music, but this tour would be the first to highlight full string, woodwind and brass sections. It would also mark the band’s first tour with entirely reserved seating.
Tonight’s performance opened with the orchestra performing classic selections from such greats as Mozart, Rota, Faure and Beethoven. I’m still in awe after hearing Mozart’s Lacrimosa. Tonight would be the first time many of us would be hearing these classics tracks performed live by a professional orchestra.  The inclusion of Danny Elfman’s Sally’s Song from the Nightmare Before Christmas served to bridge the centuries gap between the classic composers and Evanescence. Sally’s Song, having been covered by Evanescence founder, vocalist and sole remaining original member, Amy Lee was incredibly appropriate given the Holiday Season. Sadly though, Lee did not join the orchestra for the performance, but their entire set was breathtaking.
This being my lucky 13th time seeing Evanescence live, I had an idea of how the set would go. Even though I wasn’t expecting each track to be played exactly as it was presented on the Synthesis album, the performance exceeded my already high expectations.
Drummer Will Hunt was the first to walk on stage, soon followed by bassist Tim McCord, and guitarists Troy McLawhorn and Jen Majura. As the orchestra began to play the opening chords of Overture, Lee, in a gorgeous strapless floor length red dress, walked on stage and took her place at the grand piano, a spotlight shining on her. Overture blended seamlessly into Never Go Back. Throughout the first act of the show, the stage lights turned from shades of red to blue to purple, enhancing the emotions crafted into Lacrymosa, End of the Dream, My Heart Is Broken, and Lithium.
As the theater was bathed in the cool blue hues of the stage lights, the crowd sang the loudest for Bring Me to Life, the song that put Evanescence on the map and made the band a household name. The tracks played during Synthesis Live are far more grandiose than Evanescence’s previous outings. If fact, this tour is a more in-depth, ambitious and larger scale offering than anything we have heard from the band in the past. With Synthesis, Lee has taken tracks written 10 to 15 years ago, and breathed new life into them. As much as I love the rock and alternative aspect of Evanescence, I wonder if this is how the band’s music was always meant to be heard.
After Lee took to her piano again for Unraveling, there was a collective gasp of awe as the band and orchestra thunderously burst into a massive rendition of Imaginary. As impressive as these tracks have sounded to me before, especially in concert, it was an entirely new experience, almost like hearing them again for the first time.
After Imaginary, as the orchestra tuned, Lee decided to tell us a story.
“Have you ever been asleep, having the most amazing dream,” she asked the crowd. “This is the first time I’ve told this story on stage. Impromptu,” as she half chuckled before continuing, “and then you wake up, and you’re still kind of in that dream? That amazing place? And you do everything that you can to get back to where you were in that dream? Yeah. That’s what this next song is about.”
Secret Door, a bonus track on the band’s self-titled release, and one of the most beautiful they’ve released, was a track I never thought I’d hear live. Having it reworked with the full orchestra was beyond words.
Instead of Lindsey Stirling’s violin solo during Hi-Lo, the music focused on Lee’s mastery of the piano. Lost in Paradise and Your Star followed. The light show during each shifted from red to pink to blue to shades of green as the white stage lights danced across the theater.
During the second small break of the evening, Lee expressed her gratitude to the fans in attendance tonight.
“It’s so quiet in here,” Lee commented, causing the crowd to chuckle. “I’ve been signing this next song for so long, it’s almost become second nature. Singing it like this now, just me standing here, in this atmosphere, in these beautiful venues, I almost forgot how much it means to you all. Thank you for reminding me.”
Several times during My Immortal, which focused on Lee and the piano, the fan’s voices almost surpassed Lee’s. Looking onto the stage, as hundreds of fans brought their cellphones up to record the song, it was almost like looking out across a starfield.
Closing out the set, Lee took to the piano again for an extended performance of The In-Between, which lead directly into Imperfection. Being the 13th song Lee had sung this evening, her voice never wavered. It was a powerful performance with a strong meaning lyrically portrayed behind the soft piano keys, heavy bass-line, soaring vocals, and raucous beats.
Closing the evening’s set, the band chose tracks that highlighted Lee’s piano skills. Speak to Me, a track Lee wrote for the Voice Into Stone soundtrack and movie, was recently added to the tour’s setlist for the encore. While Lee has several albums worth of solo material, she’s made it no secret that the song has special meaning to her. It made sense to include Speak to Me into this evolved version of the band’s live set. The Synthesis version of Good Enough was even more epic than it’s album version. My favorite track of the evening though was the final track, Weight of the World. Not included on the Synthesis release, it was spectacular to hear one of my favorite tracks off of The Open Door performed with a full orchestra.
It was incredibly difficult to stay seated for the entire set, especially with the inclusion of Secret Door and End of the Dream, tracks that, until this tour, have never been played live. Overall, tonight’s performance was something that I had never expected from Evanescence. I knew we were all in for an amazing show, but it was brilliant to hear so many of my favorite songs backed by a full orchestra.

(Orchestra Opening)
Moonlight Sonata
Adagio Cantabile
La strada
Sally’s Song
(Evanescence with orchestra: Synthesis)
Never Go Back
End of the Dream
My Heart Is Broken
Bring Me to Life
Secret Door
Lost in Paradise
Your Star
My Immortal
The In-Between
Speak to Me (Amy Lee)
Good Enough
Weight of the World

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