Review: Evanescence, Amy Lee still have the fire

by MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

Evanescence is Amy Lee. And Amy Lee is Evanescence.

The lead singer and chief songwriter of the band made that reality perfectly clear early on when the band from Little Rock, Arkansas entered the national scene.

After the band released its Grammy-winning, multiple million selling album 2003’s “Falling,” several band members fell by the wayside for various reasons. But Lee remained. Yet, the follow-up, “The Open Door,” ended up at No. 1 and few people missed the ex-members but diehard fans.

Since those early days, band members have come and gone through the years. But, Lee has held tightly to the reins of Evanescence and her artistic vision.

New albums have slowed over the years – their last release 2017’s featured a couple of new songs but mostly reinterpretations of older songs – but Evanescence carries on.

And as evidenced by the group’s performance at the Mohegan Sun Arena on May 19, which was the finale of its current tour, the band has lost none of its musical firepower despite changing line-ups.

The current band, which includes (according to Evanescence.com) Jen Majura,  Troy Mclawhorn, Will Hunt,  and Tim McCord—provided an incendiary atmosphere for Lee’s siren-like vocals.

Evanescence always had a dramatic flair. But, it’s clear the band took some lessons from its recent tour accompanied by an orchestra. The guitars, bass, keys, and drums took Lee’s songs into New York Philharmonic Symphony-worthy direction.

The sound was that monstrously epic.

In order to accomplish this “Game of Thrones”-approach, the group clearly needed chemistry and chops.

Lee’s voice has lost none of its edge since the band arrived at the beginning of the 21st century. In fact, it’s probably seasoned a bit and reflects her status as a maturing artist.

And this vocal health was key to the show. Although the musicians were hot, if Lee was not at full power, Evanescence would have faltered.

As noted, Evanescence is Amy Lee. And Amy Lee is Evanescence.

As expected, the band thrived on its hits such as “My Immortal,” “Bring Me to Life, “Going Under,” and “Call Me When You’re Sober.” But the deeper cuts, such as “Lost in Paradise” from the band’s self-titled third album, also kept the audience enthralled.

What’s interesting is that although Evanescence was placed in the category of goth rock when it first made noise, the group has set aside any youthful gloomy, disenfranchised navel-gazing. Lee seemed to enjoy interacting with the audience. And she seemed genuinely placed that 16 years after the group came onto the national stage, the fans still adored her. (There were regular intervals of impassioned shouts of “I Love You Amy” throughout the 90 minute set.)

Evanescence, in its own way, has grown into being an arena rock band—in the good sense of the phrase.

I give Evanescence at the Mohegan Sun Arena on May19 three out of four stars.