Review: Evanescence at Red Hill Auditorium
Evanescence at Red Hill Auditorium
w/ The Beautiful Monument
Saturday, September 2, 2023
In the early 2000s, deep in the age of nu-metal and emo, Evanescence emerged to offer us something a little different, mixing the elements of classical piano and operatic vocals with nu-metal guitars and drum grooves to forge a new form of gothic rock. Their breakout single, Bring Me To Life, was featured in Marvel’s first Daredevil movie, and was an instant success. The metal/rap track pushed the band into stardom and won them a Grammy in 2004 for Best Hard Rock Performance. Their debut album Fallen is now considered to be a defining work of early 2000 alternative rock, pushing alternative culture into the mainstream and influencing not only music to follow but also alternative fashion and lifestyle.
Considered a one-hit-wonder-band to some, much of the mainstream were happy to sing along with “Wake me up!” and not look any deeper past that one big single, largely ignoring the band’s other four studio albums, live albums and prolific performing. Taking a small peak under the surface of Evanescence’s repertoire you’ll find vast number of songs that are in many ways far superior to Bring Me To Life, showing the diversity and talent of singer/songwriter/pianist Amy Lee. The hard-core Evanescence fans know it, and they were all there at a sold out Red Hill Auditorium on Saturday might to celebrate 20th anniversary tour of the group’s landmark album Fallen.
Constant weather checks confirmed the worst that the gig was going to be rained out, and despite the severe weather warning, no notifications that the concert was going to be cancelled came through. The weather didn’t discourage most as nothing was going to stop eager fans, and although the venue was full, it seemed that weather had scared off a few of the less eager.
The Beautiful Monument
Opening the show was Melbourne’s The Beautiful Monument. The now four-piece gave it their all to entice the increasingly soaked crowd, playing an enthusiastic set of hard rock bangers. Frontwoman Lizi Blanco was animated and engaged the crowd with ferocity. Known for their high-energy and intense stage presence, they didn’t disappoint as they blasted out their hits Invisible, I’m The Sin, Burn and Misery.
As another burst of rain pelted the auditorium as the people on the top layers scurried like rats to what ever shelter they could find, whilst the dedicated fans at the front held fast to their positions to get the best possible view they could. Funny that the VIP section way up in the bleachers, was the worst place to be as it provided no cover at all from the rain and was the most exposed to the icy winds.
The crowd cheered as the slightly confusing intro music of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name blasted out of the PA. The drowned rats came out of hiding as Evanescence made their way on stage under the cover of dark blue light. Finally, the person everyone had waited to see appeared out of the shadows.
“Perth are you ready for this? Let’s get to work!” beckoned Amy Lee as the band launched into Broken Pieces Shine followed by What You Want. The stage was mostly bare with no visible stage monitors or amps, allowing the players to roam freely around with Lee taking front and centre stage. Lee had her keyboard stage left, where she would play the intro to some songs before moving off around the stage to interact with the crowd. Fallen opener Going Under came early in the set.
Lee's vocal power was on point from the start, and rather than heavily relying on backing tracks, vocal harmonies were provided clearly and on key from Australian born bassist Emma Anzai.
“You’re already wet you’ve got no excuse!” taunted Lee, who conversed freely with the crowd and was refreshingly light hearted and quick witted.
At one point, Lee had to stop her piano intro as there was some commotion in the crowd in front of her. “Is someone being an asshole?" she asked. “Let’s get rid of the asshole, no violence, just get him out,” she said as she restarted the song.
The theatrical drummer Will Hunt was a great focal point, perched five feet off the stage on his tower/drum riser and clearly showing what he could do on the double kick. He got playful during Call Me When You’re Sober by throwing his sticks in the air and catching them without missing a beat.
A grand piano appeared on stage in a flash as Lee took the stool and addressed the crowd “We love you very much, you wouldn’t be here at an Evanescence concert if you didn’t feel emotions,” she said leading into Lithium, bathed in blue light and as thousands of phones lit up the auditorium.
The sombre Far From Heaven, again with Lee solo on piano, cued the rain again, but no one cared, the warm bodies and humidity of the crowd provided solace. Did you expect a goth rock gig to be sunny and pleasant?
Things picked back up again and hit high gear for Better Without You which showcased bassist Emma Anzai’s solid chugging bass tone, that was like thunder to the rain.
Lee stopped the show again to call for medical help, clearly getting agitated at the lack of response from security and emergency workers, she called for people to make space and thanked everyone for their cooperation, “We’re in this together, right guys?!”
“Are you ready to use your voice?” Lee screamed alluding to the next track Use Your Voice. Lee then prompted hand claps and got everyone singing along in the bridge.
Lee’s vocals were phenomenal, way up in the higher register and always pitch perfect, her voice didn’t crack or strain all night, which is such a feat for an hour and a half of intense vocal work.
Lee acknowledged the 20 years of Fallen and gave thanks to everyone that made it what it was before leading into My Immortal. The emotional piece tugged at the heart strings as the gentle voices of the audience joined in to caress Lee's, and friends in the audience caressed each other.
Of course the big closer was Bring Me to Life, but it wasn’t even the best song of the evening. Thankfully absent was the male chorus vocal which the audience happily filled in for, and Lee covered the “rap” middle eight as streamer cannons fired into the air signalling the eve of 20 years, “Here’s to 20 more!” proclaimed Lee.
Photos by Adrian Thomson