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[Review] Evanescence @ Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney 26/08/2023

Review By Raelee Atkinson

After a long wait outside Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park, the crowd finally made their way to their seats as the support band entered the stage. Melbourne all-female band, The Beautiful Monument put on an energetic and entertaining  performance, which included their popular tracks, Give Up, Stay, Deceiver and Hellbound. The Beautiful Monument warmed up the winter-chilled audience and are clearly fans of and inspired by the main event – Evanescence.

After a short break to reset the stage, it’s 9pm, and the arena lights dim and Rage Against The Machine classic Killing in the Name played followed by The Bitter Truth opening track, Artifact / The Turn the stage lights came up and Evanescence took the stage to the excited roar of the crowd. Opening with Broken Pieces Shine, flowing into What You Want, then the opening track from Fallen, Going Under, and The Bitter Truth’s, Take Cover are played before the first medley for the evening. Lose Control / Part Of Me / and self-titled’s Never Go Back amalgamate into one song. Then it was time for The Open Door hit single (and my personal fave), Call Me When You’re Sober. 

Amy Lee chatted to the audience between songs and introduced their “new” bass guitarist, from Sick Puppies, Australian, Emma Anzai saying this felt like a “hometown tour” with an Aussie now in the band. The crowd cheered loudly then they played The Bitter Truth single, Wasted On You with Emma singing background vocals, blending beautifully with Amy. 

A grand piano was then wheeled onto the stage and Amy Lee sat and began to  play Lithium, from The Open Door. The audience sang along loudly to this fan favourite. They followed with Far From Heaven, Better Without You both from The Bitter Truth, then as the band played Fallen’s Imaginary a video montage played on two large screens, commemorating 20 years of debut album, Fallen. Lee’s voice soared as she sang End Of The Dream from the self-titled album, then it was time for another medley – Haunted / My Last Breath / Cloud Nine / Everybody’s Fool / Weight Of The World /  and rounded out with Whisper

Lee stopped to introduce the next song telling the audience that no one can speak for us only we can speak for ourselves, and that we aren’t just one small voice, that we are stronger together, the speech received a rousing applause and segwayed into Use My Voice, and Blind Belief from The Bitter Truth. The grand piano is wheeled back onto the stage and as Lee played the opening notes from My Immortal, the audience, cheered, sighed, applauded loudly, and sang along, lighting the torches on their mobile phones. It was an incredible sight to see the large arena filled with what looked like thousands of fairy lights as Amy’s lush voice filled the auditorium. 

Saving the best till last, it was finally time to hear the song that started it all for Amy Lee and Evanescence, Bring Me To Life. As Lee begins singing the haunting, opening notes,

“How can you see into my eyes like open doors? 

Leading you down into my core where I’ve become so numb…”

I could feel the excitement and anticipation from the audience.  It’s the one song we’ve all came to hear. Love it or loathe it, it’s just not an Evanescence concert without it! Everyone came here to sing along to this classic song and when the chorus hits, I could hear people around me singing the male vocal part, originally performed by 12 Stones vocalist / rapper, Paul McCoy. 

During the song, Lee encourages everyone to join in as this is “(y)our last opportunity to be part of it this evening”. By the bridge, the audience are practically shouting and many have stood up from their seats and are dancing.

It finally feels like a celebration of a milestone as a “cannon” shoots out purple and mauve streamers overhead. As the streamers fall, the song finishes and the band come to the front of the stage to toss picks, a guitar pick guard and a drum head into the GA (General Admission) audience in front of the stage. They pose for the obligatory end of show band pic and the band left the stage with waves goodbye, and the house lights came up. I turned to my brother and said “what? no encore?” This seems to be a trend we are seeing, though. 

So, in summary, I loved the Evanescence concert. It was a long 20 years of waiting to finally see this much loved band perform some of my favourite songs live, but so worth the wait. Sharing the experience with my brother was the icing on the already delicious cake. The band were tight and professional, entertaining the audience without overly drawing attention away from Amy Lee. The sound was a bit muddy at times, but I’m thinking that is the venue, not the band. Cameras filming the show and projecting onto 2 large screens either side of the stage meant that whether you were front row on the rail or back row in the nose bleeds, you had some kind of view of the band and as a shorty, that gets bonus points from me! I loved seeing Emma Anzai play – one of my highlights. Amy Lee is beautiful and charming, she chats with the audience, is gracious and expressed her gratitude for the 20 years of “love and support” for her music career. Her vocals are stunningly on point and it’s my opinion that she has improved with age as a vocalist and a performer. First album, Fallen is a gothic, emotional album and latest album, The Bitter Truth has a more current, political vibe to it, so it is no surprise that the audience was a veritable melting pot that varied in age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economically. It was heartwarming to see mum, dad and the kids all enjoying the concert together.  I highly recommend that if you enjoy Evanescence’s music and don’t already have a ticket for the remaining dates on this tour, that you do so forthwith – it’s totally worth it! 

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