THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Evanescence – Synthesis Live
Once more with (even more) Feeling
Evanescence returned to the London stage with their new Synthesis Live Tour, and made it a very Good Friday at the Royal Festival Hall
By Daniel M Byway
Synthesis Live is a new concept from Evanescence, taking some of the band's best songs from the past 15 years and re-working them from the ground up to be performed with an orchestra, along with two tailor made new tracks. The album was released November 2017 – the group's first album since 2011, and the first with their new label BMG – but it's on the stage with a live orchestra where the music is really brought to life.
With lead singer Amy Lee in stunning form, the combination of the band and the orchestra creates a fresh energy for the familiar Evanescence sound. Powerful songs like 'My Heart is Broken' and 'Imaginary' are taken to the next level with symphonic and electronic elements, whilst the two new singles, 'Hi-Lo' and 'Imperfection', make the most of combining the strings with Lee's spectacular voice. 'Imperfection' is the highlight of the concert.
The group's breakout 2003 single, 'Bring me to Life', also benefits from a dramatic reimagining in Synthesis. It's a fine rendition of the track, although it takes a bit of getting used to without the additional vocals of original contributor, 12 Stone's Paul McCoy. Lee recently revealed that McCoy's contribution was a compromise with the record label at the time, so this version brings it closer to the true Evanescence style.
Tracks like 'Lithium' and 'My Immortal' already felt like they'd fit in an orchestral environment, and were proven on the night. Introducing the latter track, Lee described how despite being one of her least favorite songs, it's taken on new meaning after the many years they've been performing it, revealing a key aspect of Evanescence's music – feeling.
In truth, there are two levels to the Synthesis Live experience. Those who include Evanescence among the playlists of their life will be mesmerized by the catharsis that Lee, the band and the orchestra generate. Those who are perhaps new to the emotionally charged music of Evanescence might just have to settle for a night of amazing symphonic music, and Lee's incredible vocals. If you have any emotional investment in Evanescence, it's time to cash in on the accrued interest with this concert – you won't be disappointed.
Synthesis, as well as a celebration of Evanescence's music, is also a timely reminder of Lee's wonderful musical repertoire. Barely taking a rest between songs, there's a relentless beauty to Synthesis Live, and with Lee's vocals and piano hands, she undoubtedly, and deservedly, takes the spotlight.
The Synthesis Live tour continues in Europe with shows in London (Southbank Centre, March 31, and Eventim Apollo, April 9), Manchester (O2 Apollo, April 2), Nottingham (Arena, April 3), Glasgow (Armadillo, April 5), Sheffield (City Hall, April 6) and Brussels, Belgium (Palais 12, April 8).