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LIVE W/ ORCHESTRA
@ SONY CENTRE TORONTO
Words & Visuals By: Fridae Mattas
On Friday, December 8th, 2017 chart-topping American rock band Evanescence brought their "Synthesis" live tour to Toronto with a full orchestra. They are touring in support of the recently released "Synthesis" album, consisting of two new tracks and reimagined versions of their classic hits. The last time I saw Evanescence live was, holy moly eleven years ago! The show was in 2006 for the Open Door tour at Kool Haus, I was still in school and working for another magazine at the time. The Kool Haus was one of my favourite venues, witnessed so many incredible sounds and met so many talented people and always had too much fun. Of course, it was sold and dismantled to build condos that are almost complete or are complete. Honestly, don't know, I try to avoid that area of the city as much as I can because it's depressing. My initial first impression of Evanescence was wow! Instantly loved the fusion of dark rock with a classical feel. I was blown away because most goth rock bands have mediocre vocalists fronting the band. For example, frontwoman for "In This Moment" she has a unique sound but not strong enough to overpower an orchestra. Frontwoman Amy Lee can definitely stand her own ground against a full orchestra. Lee has one of the most powerful vocals in rock I have ever heard, she is on point and from what I witnessed last night better than ever.
The moment my assistant told me about the press release awaiting my eyes in the FridaeTV inbox, I immediately checked to see if there was a Toronto date. There was and I cleared my entire schedule for that day (except the neverending construction at my home, fingers crossed they wrap the construction up before Christmas). My ears were so excited and very curious, to see if there would be all my favorite instruments in the orchestra. When referring to favourite instruments, I am talking about the ones I can slay and those I wish I knew how to play. Aside from stellar vocals, my ears love saxophones, violins, harps, guitars, and pianos and I can't play them to save my life, except singing capabilities and a little piano. If we were on a Gooniesque one-eyed Willie mission, we would definitely survive.
Once at The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts, the crowd was already lining up to get into the venue and out of the cold. As per usual, ticket scalpers were out in full force, hustling hard to buy and sell tickets to eager fans who missed the chance to get any. Sadly, I witnessed a few fans that actually bought tickets from the event poachers. As 3100 people shuffled into the venue there was a meltdown, a kid who was either buying or selling tickets from a Kijiji person lost his eggs, all I heard was Kijiji very loudly a few times and then a loud crashing sound. The kid smashed his phone on the floor because it died and he couldn't get a hold of the Kijiji person...That wasn't the only security extraction of the night but we'll get into that one later. Major thanks to Evanescence's fantastic Canadian publicist Sarah, along with the help of the band's tour manager and concert promoters Live Nation. After some confusion, made it to FOH literally seconds before the band hit the stage. Definitely should have brought my longest lens for this one, however, I thought we would be shooting from the side of the stage. I hope you enjoy some of the artistic stills captured.
As the lights dimmed, the conductor came out on stage and was soon followed by frontwoman Amy Lee who took to the Piano to play the opening sonata Overture followed by Never Go Back. When she got into the chorus, the crowd cheered louder and louder with the rise of the song's crescendo. It sounded amazing, wish I could have paid more attention but I was trying to get some decent shots. Business as usual, first three songs no flash is the general media rule once we finished shooting I went to find my seat. As per theater rules, I had to wait for the current song which was Lithium to end before going to my seat, in no rush was enjoying the music and view. The seat I was given was perfect, couldn't believe how amazing everything sounded from anywhere in the venue. The acoustics, the instruments, the ambiance, and clarity, it was very inspiring. This Evanescence concert is exactly what my soul needed! Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of various sounds, bands, and music but this was the first real concert with real music that I have enjoyed in a while.
Absolutely was captivated by the whole presentation, all of the colours used intertwined beautifully with the backdrops and moods of the songs. The conductor kept the orchestra tight and on time. Between tracks, Lee chatted with the audience thanking everyone for their support. She also mentioned that her husband proposed to her in Toronto and she is always happy to come back. Once the set progressed, there were a few moments where it sounded as if Lee was trying to hear herself over singing. She is a pro and handled herself with precision, still able to keep it pitch perfect and full of emotion when hitting the higher octaves. They put on a fantastic concert with the orchestra backing, it brought their music to a whole other level.
During the big tune "My Immortal" there was a slight disruption, two crazy fans went up to the stage trying to touch Amy as she sang the hit song. Security started to come out of every corner of the venue and escorted the passionate fan out of the venue. Was too busy watching the set, I didn't notice if she was allowed back into the theater or not. To end the sixteen track set before the three encores, Evanescence played the bands latest tune "Imperfection" followed by "Weight Of The World" as the final song. Cannot stress this enough, if Evanescence is playing anywhere near your city, go see what you are missing. You can check out all their tour dates on the Evanescence website.
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