Evanescence Bring Life To The Paramount Huntington, NY 11-23-16

It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. All too often true, even still, taking a hiatus can be a risky proposition for a Rock-n-Roll band. Willing to do so, in order to concentrate on family, among other musical projects, Amy Lee still kept the idea of Evanescence’s return in the corner of her mind. Have not released a studio album since their 2011’s self-titled effort, Evanescence has also remained in the corner of adoring fans minds for some time now. Then, when the band re-emerged for some shows back in 2015, the flame of excitement was ignited once again, leaving many to ponder, will there be a full-fledged return from Evanescence? Answering the call, Lee promised further Evanescence touring into 2016 and made good on that promise with the announcement of a 16-date run in the late fall.

Perhaps one of the most anticipated tours on the Hard Rock scene in late 2016, Evanescence’s return was met with electrified responses every city visited, and it all culminated during the tour finale Wednesday, November 23rd, at The Paramount in Huntington, New York. One of the busiest days of the year, beginning Thanksgiving eve, the streets of Huntington village were packed and the line leading up to The Paramount was wrapped around the corner at least an hour prior to doors opening. Furthering the excitement, the band teamed up with Live Nation to stream the concert live via the internet for all to see. With video equipment setup in all corners of the venue, the energy was palpable and a mixed crowd were eager to witness the Evanescence concert experience.

Greeting spectators as they ushered in to the upper level of the venue was Nashville, Tennessee Rock outfit Veridia. Together now since 2013, Deena Jakoub (vocals) and Brandon Brown (guitar) set out to explore a new sound with Veridia, uniting Alternative Rock, Hard Rock, Pop, and Electronic Rock together. Completed with Kyle Levy on drums, the band has gradually built a buzz within the Christian Rock scene and now look to spread their invigorating style to a broader audience.

Running out with adrenaline pumping through their veins, Brown, Levy, and Jakoub were joined by their friend John Panzer III on guitar. Aware time was the utmost importance, they flashed through their set opening with “Crazy in a Good Way,” before “Furious Love,” and latest single “Still Breathing.” Offering songs that were both heavy, energetic, and full of life, highlights included “Pretty Lies,” “We Are the Brave,” and closer “Disconnected.” Dancing along to the irresistible beats, as well as working the crowd, Jakoub proved to be quite the frontwoman and showed no signs of fear in their first New York show ever. Rock fans of music with a positive message and colorful textures need to check out Veridia.

Following a thirty minute intermission for set change over and preparation for the live broadcast of Evanescence, the floor was packed from front to back and not a seat was to be had in the mezzanine area. Not only did the night mark the end of the tour, it also marked the first time Evanescence had played New York since November 1, 2011 when they hosted Terminal 5 in the city. In addition, it was also the first time Evanescence had ever made the trip out to Long Island since the release of Fallen back in 2003. In enough words, history was being made in so many ways, so how would it all play out?

Assuring it would be nothing less than explosive, Tim McCord (bass), Troy McLawhorn (guitar), Jen Majura (guitar), and Will Hunt (drums) came out with fury before Lee joined in on vocals for “Everybody’s Fool.” Unwavering, Lee’s pipes soared high as she moved along into “What You Want,” fan-favorite “Going Under,” and “The Other Side.” Taking the moment to recognize love beaming from the audience, Lee thanked everyone profusely for their support as she sat behind a piano to mellow the mood with “Lithium” before a 2016 rendition of early cut “Even in Death.” Originally a part of 2000 demo Origin, the new edition is as haunting as ever while Lee was taken deep inside the performance, disregarding any yelling or cell phone flashes from the audience before her.

Continuing to please, the piano laden songs kept coming with the opening of “My Heart Is Broken” before lifting off with heavy guitars. Dishing out the ever distinctive guitar tones of Evanescence’s music, it resonated through the venue through other tracks including “Made of Stone,” “Weight of the World,” as well as the fresh, new “Take Cover.” Much like a roller coaster, dipping in and out of the peaks and valleys of human emotion, the dark, personal textures of “The Change,” “Breathe No More,” and of course mega hit “My Immortal” invited the audience to get lost in the groove. That is not to say when the crush riffs of McLawhorn and Majura’s united that people stood still with their arms crossed. In fact, it was the latter, most were moving about the floor through “Your Star,” “Whisper,” as well as the fan requested “Disappear.” One individual even was inspired to sit atop their partner’s shoulders for a momentary glimpse above the risen hands of others on the floor.

Baring her soul, Lee left it all on the stage and showed no signs of fatigue as she sat behind the piano once more for “Call Me When You’re Sober.” Still providing a robust mix of delicate and louder vocals, her singing was exhilarating as she moved from behind the piano to glide about the stage through erractic, strobe lighting. Taking a much needed breath, Lee re-positioned her hair before flowing into “Imaginary” and the show stopping “Bring Me to Life.” The last of the main portion of the set, the mainstream Rock hit is no doubt the track that introduced most to Evanescence. Vividly obvious, no energy was spared as voices in the crowd unified to scream along the chorus before confetti rained down in the waning moments as Hunt unleashed on the drum kit.

Blanketing the room with waves of cheers after the band departed from the stage, chants of “Amy” followed before Hunt re-appeared behind the kit. Soon joined by the rest of the band, Lee was found behind stacked keyboards before playing a melody familiar to most. The melody, Michael Jackson’s classic “Dirty Diana.” Quite an interesting selection for an encore, the 1988 Jackson single is often regarded by fans as one of his more underappreciated efforts, and Evanescence clearly agree, making the decision to perform it live. No less potent than Jackson’s version, the guitars were fully revved up and so was Lee’s voice, providing everything needed to make the rendition hair-raising.

Bidding farewell one final time, the show was nothing less than what it was billed to be, plus more. There is magic to a live performance, one where the audience connects with the music on a deeper level that can be had by merely consuming a studio record. Evanescence capture that intangible trait magically and their show was nothing short of inspiring. Where do they go from here? Well, on December 9th, they release first-ever vinyl box set featuring Fallen, 2006’s The Open Door, 2011’s Evanescence, the never-before officially available Origin, and the bonus track collection, Lost Whispers. In addition Lee released a children’s album, entitled Dream Too Much, on September 30th. A full, new Evanescence album is still speculated, but only time will tell. Until then, fans should rejoice in Evanescence’s return.

Photos credit: Stephanie Pearl Photography

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