This has been a great year for concerts for me. I have gotten to see some of my favorites including Imagine Dragons, CHVRCHES, Breaking Benjamin and Ellie Goulding, but there has always been that one band that was so elusive, my unicorn, if you will, Evanescence. I have been a fan since their often overlooked album, Origins and became a loyal fan when Fallen was released.
There were a couple times that I thought that it would be possible for me to catch them in concert. Once when I was in college, they were touring with Seether, Three Days Grace and Breaking Benjamin. They made the Pacific Northwest swing, but skipped Seattle for some reason, and getting to Vancouver, BC or Portland, OR was just not feasible for a poor college kid. Evanescence also made the rounds when they released The Open Door, but I happened to be out of town when the concert happened.
And their most recent tour to support the self-titled album never came close to Seattle. Once that tour came to an end the band was put on hiatus and no new music or tours were scheduled for the foreseeable future. It had been over 3 years since Evanescence had taken the stage and when they had announced a mini-tour that only had 4 shows scheduled with the nearest in Los Angeles, Head Writer, Wyndi May, stepped up and said, “We’re going to LA for this concert.” Who was I to say no?
I have been excited for concerts, but nothing compares to knowing that you are going to be able to check off the #1 band on your bucket list. I had thoughts trying to temper my expectations saying to myself, “Well, it’s been over three years since they have performed and they might be rusty” among other things, but even then my expectations were high for this concert at The Wiltern.
The Wiltern is a classic music and theater venue in Los Angeles and it is beautifully constructed with its famous Art Deco design, I could not have been any happier with the location. Like most buildings of that era, it is over-the-top with brilliant and detailed decor. So on the evening of Tuesday, November 17, we found ourselves standing a line outside of The Wiltern waiting impatiently for the doors to open. It took a little longer than expected to get into the auditorium, well, because there were some necessary security measures in place whether it was because it was LA or because of the recent events in Paris and around the world. I was grateful and understanding of the additional delay. Once inside we found our seats in the upper mezzanine with a clear view of the stage.
So when the lights dimmed for the opening act, VERIDIA. The female-led Nashville-based alternative rock band completely set the the mood with their hard rocking, alternative style. Vocalist Deena Jakoub is energetic with an immense amount of talent that is perfectly suited for rock music. It’s powerful, rich and had a depth that not many can match. The title track to their new EP, Pretty Lies, is that perfect blend of rock and electronic music and neither overpowers the other while still allowing the strength and slightly gravelly voice of Jakoub to shine through.
Every one of their songs was brilliantly produced and executed especially, “At End of the World.” What a great song and you know that a set has gone well, when you don’t realize that they had been on stage for nearly 40 minutes and it made you forget, for a minute, that Evanescence was up next. I was so impressed! What a way to start the night.
After a quick stage clearing and a bit of nervous bounces in my seat, I was really ready for the main act. I had waited nearly 15 years for this concert, what was another 30 more minutes? And as Wyndi and editor, Brandon, know, I am not terribly patient. Finally, the lights dimmed again and it was time.
The opening chords for “Going Under” got the crowding going and like no time had passed, Amy Lee belted out the lyrics perfectly. There was no rust. There was no hitch. Heck, she was more impressive live than I could have imagined. As the set progressed, I knew it was only a matter of time before a piano would be rolled out on stage.
The first song was a beautiful rendition of “Lost In Paradise,” which is one of my favorite songs from the Evanescence album. It started slowly with solo piano and Lee’s haunting vocals, then broke in to the full band giving it the full Evanescence treatment. Oddly enough, we would have to wait a little bit to hear the ever popular, “My Immortal.” A couple more songs, including “Lithium,” were played, before going back to the signature heavy, pulse pounding rock.
There was never a dull moment, even when they pulled up three stools with the lead guitarist, Troy McLawhorn and the newest member, rhythm guitarist Jen Majura, flanking Lee. The three did a short acoustic interlude that included a unique version of Evanescence’s most recognized song, “My Immortal.”
With each song, which included “Bring Me To Life” and “Imaginary,” Lee continued to prove that she has not lost a step and still has one of the best female rock voices ever. I know that is a pretty bold statement, but I do not think there are many that could challenge her range and power. In any case, I was absolutely blown away by how amazing Evanescence was live. They are in the stratosphere of bands like Imagine Dragons who sound better live than on their album and with the amount of production and auto-tuning, it really is impressive.
I am so lucky to have finally checked off Evanescence off my bucket list and it was well worth the 15 year wait. And just so you know, I would absolutely see VERIDIA live again!
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