‘We’ve got a lot of catching up to do’: Evanescence are larger than life at Rod Laver Arena

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‘We’ve got a lot of catching up to do’: Evanescence are larger than life at Rod Laver Arena

words by Tammy Walters

I’m an avid believer that the pre-show walk on song and post-encore song can make or break a set.

They are the songs that get the crowd revved up, the songs that create the atmosphere and intention for the rest of the night, the songs that capture the energy of what is to come and what has already been, and the songs that adds the cherry on top to an epic evening that you are already reliving. 

Naturally, the support is primarily tasked with this colossal undertaking, and on this mid-week Melbourne night, The Beautiful Monument delivered a standup set of screamers including their latest and greatest creation, Misery in the sole support slot for rock royalty while dedicating Give It Up to the obviously present emo and goth crowd. But sometimes the wait between the belly-bursting bass amplification of epic live sound dials the boiling point down to a simmer.

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Thankfully, the sound engineers on this fateful super blue moon night at Rod Laver Arena share my sentiment, leading Little Rock rockers, Evanescence, in with animalistic anthem Killing In The Name. As the seven final gut-punch beats hit, the lights fall and the heavenly recording of The Bitter Truth album introduction, Artifact / The Turn sings out, the overhead carved E logo burns with red lights.

Tim McCord, Will Hunt, Troy McLawhorn and legendary Australian bassist of the Free Hugs Campaign-famed Sick Puppies, Emma Anzai, took their playing positions for Broken Pieces Shine.  

Her curtain of raven black long hair whipping through the air as she skipped into the stage, fronting force Amy Lee wasted no time exercising her range of megaphone pipes. “We’ve got a lot of catching up to do,” she says, acknowledging their five year gap between stepping foot on Australian shores, getting immediately to the point for their fans, pulling out What You Want, Going Under and Call Me When You’re Sober early on in the set. 

Together this version of Evanescence is undeniably tight as they soar through their larger-than-life gothic rock repertoire. There is a clear appreciation from the band that they are still active 20 years on which is further highlighted through a tear-jerking video montage of behind-the-scenes and tour footage, leading into Imaginary.

The set is littered with the nostalgia of classic tracks, new offerings and some cheeky B-sides for the dedicated. They tried to cram even more for the adoring fans through multiple medleys for Lose Control / Part of Me/ Never Back Down, and Haunted/ My Last Breath/ Cloud Nine / Everybody’s Fool/ Weight of the World / Whisper.

Sat in front of the grand for the second time for the night (the first being for a haunting delivery of Lithium), her forearms pressed against the fallboard, Lee prefaced with,”It has been 20 years since Fallen. Where did it go? I just want to say that it’s not that it didn’t mean something to me back then – of course it did, but it means so much more to me now because of you and when I play this next song please know that it is about you, it about us and everything we have been through together, through our lives, through our losses, through the things we have seen together and the things that only we understand. Thank you so much for opening your heart and sharing with us and letting this music be a part of your life as much as it is a part of ours. We love you so much, this is for you.”

C# E A E C# E A C# ; the haunting notes of My Immortal rang out across the stadium, a choir of voices mimicked Lee’s solemn mezzo-soprano, or at least they tried to but Lee is unparalleled. Her booming vibrato, her seamless transitions into head from chest, her clutching control on every note; 20 years ago this song captivated and 20 years later Lee carries it with even more conviction and hold than ever, delivering the most powerful phone-lit moment of the night.

Evanescence would add no encore, launching immediately into closer Bring Me To Life. Sans the male rap, this mammoth masterpiece is vocally tackled by Lee alone for a tsunami-sized send-off – the waves of teenage angst crashing down. 

Rolling us out to Ozzy Osbourne classic, Crazy Train – another tick of approval for the sound engineers – there was not a clean voice in the crowd; the rasp of attempting to match Amy Lee’s lines across the 1 hour 40 minute set evidence of an unforgettable night. 

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