Evanescence hit the big time back in 2003 when their debut album Fallen spent 43 weeks on the Billboard Top 10.
This album was also home to their biggest hit to date, Bring Me To Life which climbed all the way to Number One in the UK. Fifteen years and several line-up alterations later, and Evanescence are back in the mainstream with a fourth studio album and a live orchestra sharing their stage.
Synthesis Live is arguably the band’s most ambitious tour yet. Amy Lee’s operatic vocals sit a-top a grand piano, a full orchestra and an electronic arrangement from her band. The set-up is clearly a draw as nearly every date in the UK has sold out. And the gig at Sheffield City Hall demonstrated how committed Evanescence fans are; with people whooping and screaming “I love you” at every pause between songs.
The set opened with Overture and Lee tinkling on the piano, before launching into the impressive arrangement at the start of Never Go Back. When her heavenly voice finally appears, she begins softly, still playing the piano. But, it’s not long before she’s up on her feet, belting those pitch perfect vocals out across the City Hall.
Highlights include The End of the Dream, My Immortal and Lithium where the various instruments are carefully arranged. Strings and piano chimes weave in and out of Lee’s lyrics and electronic interludes from the band.
Unfortunately, this pleasing poise is lost on the bigger songs where the large volume of instruments stampedes into mush, trampling over Lee’s vocals and assaulting the sound system to the point it repeatedly cuts out.
It’s hard to tell whether it is the City Hall’s technical set-up that’s at fault, or whether Lee would have benefited from a subtler arrangement that puts her vocal at the forefront.