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Evanesence: SEC Armadillo, Glasgow

ian sutherland
Words: Ian Sutherland, Pictures: Ya Cheng

13th April 2018


It's been seven years since supercharged symphonic Metallers Evanescence have been in Glasgow. Founding member and driving force Amy Lee has been taking them in a different direction from the massive worldwide hit that was their debut album 'Fallen' for some time, but I doubt that their fans expected their next sighting of the band to be with a full orchestra in tow.

It hasn't dented their enthusiasm though, and the Clyde Auditorium has been sold out for months as they eagerly awaited their return.

I can only describe the atmosphere as one of muted excitement then as the lights go down and the band and the orchestra take their places on the stage. The appearance of Ms Lee in a flowing ball gown kind of dress elicits a huge rock and roll cheer though and it is immediately clear why everyone here has bought their tickets.

The band's name is on the advertising but this is all about one woman with star power to spare.

Latest album 'Synthesis' consists of mostly old songs reimagined with an orchestra and some electronic sounds too, and tonight's show mirrors that set up closely. The new arrangements of the songs seem to be set up to let that magically unique voice at the front of the Evanescence sound to shine.


There has always been a huge amount of power there and every so often there are soaring notes unleashed to remind us of that. 'Lacrymosa' has spine tingling wow moments and 'Imaginary' has all the drama in a vocal that you could possibly need.

That drama is reinforced by a backing of strings, brass and a barrage of electronic sounds. The guitars are strangely muted in the sound here and elsewhere and the decision to include an electronic drumkit doesn't necessarily always gel with the natural sound of the orchestra.

What really mattered in each arrangement though was what the star of the show was doing. Often she was playing some very accomplished piano, other times she was just carrying a whole tune almost on her own.

'My Immortal' was a superb vocal masterclass which suited its sparser arrangement and 'Lithium' was beautifully held together by a combination of fragility and power. The latter also highlighted the excellent backing vocals of Jen Majura who created beautiful harmonies with her band leader all night.


Not every arrangement on the night totally hit the spot, and their massive world wide hit 'Bring Me To Life' felt a bit hollowed out despite the usual impassioned vocal out front. It was almost thrown away early in the set too.

The packed crowd in the SEC Armadillo lapped it all up though and at the end there was a huge extended standing ovation, the first time the thousands of rockers present had been able to stand all night. There's no way you could say that this unusual musical adventure has been anything but a roaring success.

It'll be interesting to see where Evanescence go from here. I suspect that less guitar, more experimental electronic sounds is where their leader is interested in taking them, but so long as there's that genuine rock star up front there will always be an audience for whatever they do.


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Check out more of Ian Sutherland right here.

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