Even the Spice Girls on steroids couldn’t deliver girl power with such a wallop as Evanescence on Wednesday night in their first New York performance.
Neither corny nor overly anthemic, singer Amy Lee piloted a packed Webster Hall with grace, charisma and confidence — the latter surprisingly so, given that a New York audience can be daunting for a first timer. Perhaps backstage she couldn’t see the dozens of concertgoers rushing to exit after the previous band, Finch, concluded their furious screamfest. The exodus only allowed Evanescence fans to get closer to the music that attracted them to begin with — and the place was still crowded, anyway. (Click for photos of the show .)
The bandmembers — Lee and her co-founding guitarist/bassist, Ben Moody, guitarist John LeCompt, drummer Rocky Gray and bassist Will Boyd — were clad almost entirely in black and white (mostly black), with Lee’s striped armbands and chains drooping off her right hip, adding a touch of A Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired Goth chic. As the quartet emitted its foreboding and pummeling music, Lee stalked and stomped sinisterly about the stage, breaking form only to render a chorus with an empowering fist in the air.
The grating guitars, battering beats and snaky melodies were buoyed by Lee’s soaring voice, which reached operatic highs on songs such as “Haunted,” “Taking Over Me” and “My Last Breath” from the band’s debut album, Fallen.
The audience members, who seemed an even blend of male and female fans, were willing victims to the siren’s charms. There wasn’t much of a sing-along, however, perhaps because many were unfamiliar with much of the relatively new album and could hardly hit the high octaves if they tried. It’s more likely that Lee’s ability to precisely strike every note to create a cohesion between hard and soft, heavy and light, left most fans content to just listen to the startling harmony.
They came alive when Evanescence lurched into their single, “Bring Me to Life,” toward the end of the set. With LeCompt handling the backing vocals that were recorded with 12 Stones’ Paul McCoy for the album, the crowd morphed into a surging, unified mass to chant “Wake me up inside!” alongside Lee’s piercing chorus. The beat stayed aggressive and the mood remained amped for the following song, “Tourniquet,” as well.
In response to a flat joke the radio DJ, who served as the evening’s emcee, made about pleasuring himself to a mental image of Lee, the singer later said, “While every single one of us onstage is really, really hot, that’s not the point of the music.” She hardly had to explain herself. Regardless of Lee’s outward appearance, Evanescence delivered music that was complex, impassioned, uplifting and just the slightest bit intimidating. What metal fan — male or female — could ask for much more than that in an evening companion?
For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.