NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Evanescence brings transformative music to live show in Worcester

Grammy winning alt-rock band Evanescence brought the audience to life with their long awaited Jan. 20 show at the DCU Center in Worcester last month. The concert, which was originally scheduled for Dec. 18, 2021, had been rescheduled after members of the band’s touring circle had tested positive for COVID-19. Evanescence’s lead singer, Amy Lee, took to her social media on Dec. 13 to issue a statement letting fans know the last five dates of the tour would have to be rescheduled for the start of 2022.

“We’ve done everything we could to try and make it work but with multiple positive Covid tests in our touring party it just wouldn’t be right to continue the show schedule as is,” Lee said on her Instagram account. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to you incredible fans for making this dream a reality, and making it mean so much more that we ever imagined it could. Thank you for your understanding. We love you!”

Evanescence released their first album of new music since 2011, “The Bitter Truth”, in March of 2021, so it was only natural for a tour to follow in order to promote the album. Releasing a new album and touring during a pandemic were naturally challenges for the band, but Lee and her band made it work and were given the go ahead to tour, live, to promote “The Bitter Truth” during fall 2021. Aside from the five rescheduled shows, the band started the tour in Nov. 2021 with no problems. Evanescence resumed the tour to make up the five rescheduled shows in Cincinnati on the Jan, 14th , stopping in Worcester on the 20th, and ending in Newark on the 21st.

Evanescence, who exploded onto the rock music scene with their 2003 surprise hit album “Fallen”, have since followed that release with multiple number one albums (their sophomore album “The Open Door” and their third self-titled release “Evanescence” both debuted on the Billboard charts at no. 1), and a dedicated tour regiment over the years that has cemented their legacy as one of rock music finest contributors over the years. This legacy was apparent as the DCU Center slowly filled with masses of

Sitting among the crowd as the 7,000 seat stadium slowly filled up, the palpable energy one is used to experiencing before a concert was seemingly absent. However full the arena seemed to be, something just felt different. Perhaps the masses of people, although finally given their chance to experience the joys of live music again mid-pandemic, were still slightly weary and listless from the roller coaster ride that has been COVID-19.

Opening the show was female fronted Lilith Czar. The audience came out of their stupor for the relatively unknown band’s short but commendable set. The music was a mix of rock and pop, with songs about on-the-road cliches of loneliness and debauchary that so many rock acts with undeveloped points of view or any real life experience tend to contrive into what they think is moving and inspired music. The four piece band could play their instruments well and sounded tight and cohesive; it just wasn’t memorable.

After a brief intermission, the lights went down once more to welcome co-headliners Halestorm. The crowd’s went wild as Lzzy Hale, the band’s lead singer and guitarist, took the stage with her three other bandmates. Playing a decent sized set list, Halestorm started their show on fire and ended it in the same vein. Hale, with her aggressively dynamic vocals and  technically impressive guitar playing, brought the crowd through the band’s catelogue, which lends itself to the energetic bar rock that has given the bands mainstream success with their singles “I Am The Fire” and “I Miss The Misery”.

The moments of rock where softened by Hales moments at the piano, allowing the band to play to their respective fans through a diverse set list that showcased their techncal chops as well as Hale’s ability to strip it all down at the piano. Vocally, whether she is screaming and playing the guitar or singing from her diaphram at the piano, Hale can definitely sing and proved that live on stage.

 After another brief intermission, as the stage was rearranged and prepared for headliners Evanescence, the lights went down and the crowd erupted in a collective roar. The massive floor to ceiling triangular projection screen, center stage, flashed with images, as lead singer Lee began to sing the ethereal “Artifact / The Turn”. Offstage, Lee’s powerhouse, angelic vocals built up over the mounting electronic synthesizers before the amplifiers hanging from the arena’s ceiling exploded with the sound of crushing, grinding distorted guitars as “Broken Pieces Shine”, a new song from “The Bitter Truth”, ensued. Lee walked out on stage and didn’t stop for the next hour and a half.

The band, while focusing on mostly new songs, made sure to satisfy fans with a well rounded set list. Lee made sure to include gems from their sophomore album that never got a ton of live play, such as “Lose Control”. Epic songs like “The Change” from their third album were performed to an impeccable degree. Of course, the band made sure to include all of their hits, playing “Going Under” four songs in, “Lithium” half way through the set, “Call Me When You’re Sober” two thirds of the way through, and the massive hit “Bring Me to Life” at the very end of their seventeen song set. The love, energy, and appreciation from the crowd shook the arena the moment this song began, and it was with 100% conviction that one could say the seemingly zombie like, COVID scarred crowed had truly been brought to life, by the shared love for the music that was evidently very important to all who were there.

Evanescence cleared the stage to catch their breath, letting the crowd revel in the glory of what they had just experienced, before returning to the stage to perform two more songs for their encore. Lee took time to address the stadium of fans, thanking them for their solidarity over the years. It was after she finished speaking that Lee looked away from the crowd, down to the piano, ready to start playing, when you could see a flash of true sadness and gratitude take over her face – her appreciation and love for the fans was genuine and palpable, and it was refreshing to see a true expression of love from an artist to her fans that wasn’t contrived, but rather truly heartfelt.

“My Immortal” which is the band’s second biggest hit, closed the show, and was played to more cheers and cries of love to Lee. The piano came up from the floor, where it was set center stage, and Lee took to the keys for her solo performance of this well known song. It was a moment of nostalgia, as this song has come to represent the enormity of impact Evanescence’s music has had on people.

All in all, Evanescence put on one of the strongest shows New England has seen from them in recent years. Lee delivered her new material from “The Bitter Truth” with excellent execution. It was the diverse set list that Lee performed that satisfied die-hard fans, checking all the boxes by playing hits and the more unexpected songs from the bands catalog. Lee, vocally, was nearly flawless. The older Evanescence songs that she has been singing live for almost twenty years seem so effortless to her – she has found out how to sing them live and has them down pat.

 The arena was full of her angelic voice, which can be soft and heavenly when it needs to be and then charged with an innate power that allows her to project to the heavens. Her piano playing, which took place either at a keyboard or at the pop-up piano, was impressive and beautiful to see live, as she displayed her classically trained abilities that are so prominent in the music of Evanescence.

 The arena of the DCU Center was the sight of a true privilege of live music the night pf Jan. 20, as it was blasted full of the ethereal, powerful, mysterious, haunting, and beautiful music that is and can only be Evanescence. Live music still can be transformative, and Lee and her band proved that with this wonderful concert that allowed all of its attendees to forget about the state of the world for a few hours and to get lost in the gift that is music.