When you think of seeing Evanescence in concert, you think you are going to a rock concert, right? Well, things are a bit different on this tour. You still get the songs you know from Evanescence, but they have been put into new arrangements that are played with the backing of a full orchestra.
The show also featured an opening act called Cellogram that features – you guessed it – a cello. Oh, and a co-headliner violinist who dances around the stage while playing the violin. All of those things together means this was not your usual rock concert.
But, did it work? Can you still enjoy a rock band in concert when their music doesn’t sound like rock? Keep reading to find out.
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The PNC Bank Arts Center (known as “PNC”) is located in Holmdel, NJ. It’s one of my favorite outdoor amphitheaters. The venue is easy to get to due to its location right off the Garden State Parkway. They are pretty laid back in the lots, which makes it a great venue to do some tailgating. Inside, there are lots of food and drink vendors and the bathrooms are easy to get to and kept clean.
Most importantly, I don’t think there is a bad seat in the house. For a recent Dave Matthews Band show, we had tickets in the very last row of the seats and had a great view. The lawn is also very relaxed and does not ever seem to be oversold.
If you would like more information on PNC and attending a show there, check out my article on the venue here:
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Cellogram is made up of Dave Eggar and Chuck Palmer. Dave plays the cello and Chuck plays a box that gives the percussion sound.
Eggar was a musical prodigy as a child. He started playing the cello at age three and was performing on Broadway as a singer by age seven. He is a virtuoso on both the cello and the piano in multiple styles. He’s worked with Amy Lee and Evanescence multiple times.
Palmer is a drummer/percussionist, songwriter, producer, engineer, arranger and composer. He produced Amy Lee’s first solo album.
This was definitely not a “classical” cello performance. The guys played everything from the theme song to the television show “The Addams Family” to “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin. During one of their songs, they brought out someone who was a national karate champion, and did some karate moves to accompany one of the songs.
They also brought out Jen Majura from Evanescence to play guitar during a song as well.
I found Cellogram to be very entertaining. They were able to keep the audience interested with their music, even with just two instruments.
Cellogram is currently on the road opening for Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence. They also have a new EP – Cellogram – that you should check out!
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Evanescence was formed in Little Rock, AK in 1995 by Amy Lee and Ben Moody. The band has gone through a number of line-up changes, but is currently made up of Amy Lee (lead vocals, keyboards, harp), Troy McLawhorn (lead guitar), Jen Majura (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Tim McCord (bass), and Will Hunt (drums, percussion).
Lee and Moody met in 1994 at a youth camp. The band was formed and began performing in coffee shops around Little Rock. They released their first EP – Evanescence – in 1998. Lee and Moody made 100 copies and distributed them at their live performances. After a couple of additional EP’s, Evanescence recorded its first full-length demo CD – Origin – in 2000. About 2,500 copies were made and were strictly sold at shows. Those original EP’s and CD are now collector’s items. Rather than paying resale for them, Lee and Moody have encouraged their fans to just download some of those older songs.
Evanescence got their first break in 2002, when they were signed to a record label. The label thought the band had raw talent, but they needed to be developed. As a result, the label moved them to Los Angeles and gave Lee acting and vocal classes. By 2003, Evanescence released the album Fallen, which featured their hit single “Bring Me To Life”.
Despite the success of the album, things weren’t going well with the founding members – Lee and Moody. In October of 2003, Moody decided to leave Evanescence. According to Lee, Moody was more interested in making commercially successful music and she was more interested in being artistic. Under a new line-up without Moody, Evanescence released a DVD/CD compilation – Anywhere But Home – in 2004.
Evanescence released their second studio album – The Open Door – in 2006. The band embarked on an extensive world tour throughout 2006 and 2007. However, during the middle of the tour in 2007, their original rhythm guitarist and drummer left the band and ended up joining Moody in a new band called We Are the Fallen.
Over the next several years, Evanescence continued to go through a number of changes. They were in and out of the studio trying to record their third studio album – Evanescence – which was eventually released in 2011. They also left their record label. Lee sued the label for $1.5 million, claiming they were due unpaid royalties, and the label ended up releasing them from their deal.
After being released from their label, Evanescence continued touring, but went on a break from recording new music. Lee was focused on recording some solo work, rather than recording with the band. It wasn’t until 2017 that Evanescence released their latest album – Synthesis. The album is comprised of mostly old songs that have the rock guitar and drums stripped out of them, and replaced with brass and other orchestral instruments. In fact, on the Synthesis Tour, the band is backed with a full orchestra.
I was actually a bit surprised when the first artist to take the stage after the opener was Evanescence. I just assumed that they were a bigger name than Lindsey Stirling, and even in a co-headlining tour, they would be the second act.
But, when the full orchestra took the stage and the lights went back on after the opener, it was Amy Lee and Evanescence that appeared. Amy Lee was dressed in a beautiful gown and is no doubt the star of this show.
Amy Lee’s voice is really strong and on point. She alternated between sitting down at the piano and singing and standing center stage at the microphone. Either way, she put so much emotion into every song, that I could feel it all the way in the back of the amphitheater.
The rest of Evanescence really takes a backseat during the show. There are no big guitar solos. Will Hunt on the drums is probably the most prominent of the rest of the band in the show. This is definitely a show that highlights Amy Lee’s voice and the orchestra playing behind them. In fact, Amy Lee mentioned during the show how much fun it’s been playing with a different orchestra every night.
All of the music has a haunting quality to it in these new arrangements. “Bring Me To Life”, which was one of their biggest hits, is softer but still powerful with Amy Lee’s voice. Lindsey Stirling joined them on stage during “Hi-Lo” from Evanescence’s new album. Stirling is featured on the song on the album as well.
Evanescence is a band that has had a long career and has transformed itself along the way. Amy Lee spoke about the long journey, and thanked everyone for supporting them throughout the years. While playing “My Immortal” – one of their oldest and biggest hits – Amy Lee asked everyone to turn the lights on their cell phones and light up the amphitheater. It was a great moment in an equally great set!
Evanescence is currently on the second leg of its Synthesis Tour. They have U.S. dates scheduled throughout the rest of August and into early September. You can find more information about the band and its Synthesis Tour dates at their website at www.evanescence.com.
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): Overture, Never Go Back, Lacrymosa, The End of the Dream, My Heart Is Broken, Lithium, Bring Me To Life, Unraveling, Imaginary, Secret Door, Across the Universe (The Beatles cover), Hi-Lo (with Lindsey Stirling), Lost In Paradise, Your Star, My Immortal, The In-Between, Imperfection
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Lindsey Stirling is a violinist, dancer, performance artist and composer. She was raised in Arizona and began taking violin lessons at the age of 5. By the time she was in high school, Stirling joined a rock band called Stomp on Melvin. While she was with the band, Stirling wrote a solo violin rock song, which led to her winning the title of Arizona’s Junior Miss.
In 2007, Stirling launched her YouTube channel under the name “lindseystomp”. Since the launch, Stirling has gained over 10 million subscribers and over 2 billion total views.
Stirling first gained national attention when she appeared as a contestant on the show “America’s Got Talent”. While the judges were impressed enough with her violin playing combined with dance to get her to the quarter-finals, they ultimately felt that what she did wasn’t something that was marketable enough as a solo artist. In fact, judge Sharon Osbourne told her “You need to be in a group…. What you’re doing is not enough to fill a theater in Vegas”.
Not letting the judges on the show discourage her, Stirling started focusing on making videos and posting them on her YouTube channel. Stirling recorded her first studio album – Lindsey Stirling – in 2012. The album had a lot of commercial success in Europe – particularly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland. Since then, Stirling has recorded and released three additional albums – Shatter Me, Brave Enough, and Warmer In the Winter.
Stirling continues to have her biggest success on YouTube. She has also appeared on “Dancing With the Stars”, where her and partner Mark Ballas finished in second place. Stirling has also written her autobiography called “The Only Pirate at the Party”.
Most recently, Stirling appeared on the Evanescence song “Hi-Lo” and has joined them on tour for the second leg of their Synthesis Tour.
Stirling took the stage shortly after 9:30 p.m. As soon as she took the stage, I knew this was going to be a different kind of show. Not only is Stirling an amazing violinist, she can also dance while she plays. When I say dance, I don’t mean just swaying back and forth. I mean actual choreography! As someone who has taken dance lessons their whole life, I was impressed.
While her violin skills are impressive, listening to someone playing violin for almost 90 minutes could get boring. Not with Stirling! Between the music, the orchestra, the back-up dancers, the lights, the costumes and Stirling’s energy, I was completely mesmerized.
Stirling had Amy Lee from Evanescence join her on stage for the song “Shatter Me” early in the set. The two of them stood inside lit up circles while they performed. It was just one of the really cool special effects used during the show.
During the show, Stirling talked about how thrilled she was to be touring Evanescence. Stirling played a video during her set and explained that it was her and her friends when she was 15 years old, singing the Evanescence song “Bring Me To Life”. Stirling said that she hadn’t told her friends that she was playing the video, because she figured it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission. She said the last stop of the tour was in her hometown of Phoenix, so they would find out then!
Not only is Stirling a talented musician, but she has an amazing personality. I was surprised to hear her speak about dealing with darkness and depression when she was in college, but it just goes to show that so many people deal with those feelings and you never know it.
The most impressive thing about Stirling’s performance, was the range of music that she played. There were songs that had an Irish jig feel to them. Other songs were more pop and some songs were more rock. There was even a song that had a Bollywood sound to it.
Stirling closed the show with “Beyond the Veil” which featured the theme song from “Phantom of the Opera”. It was a perfect way to close a set of diverse music. While I left feeling a bit like I’d just seen a show in Vegas rather than a rock concert, there is no question that I was entertained!
Stirling is on the road supporting Evanescence on their current tour. They will be playing throughout the rest of August and into early September. You can keep up with Stirling on her website at www.lindseystirling.com.
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): The Arena, Moon Trance, Shadows, Shatter Me (with Amy Lee), Lost Girls, Take Flight, Crystallize, Roundtable Rival, Hold My Heart, First Light, Mirage, Don’t Let This Feeling Fade Encore: Beyond the Veil with Phantom of the Opera Medley
Are you a fan of Evanescence? What do you think of the new sound? Have you seen Lindsey Stirling live? Let us know what you think by commenting below or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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