Evanescence Make Understatement Of The Year At Chicago Sweat Factory

'It's the song that got us here,' singer says of 'Bring Me to Life.'

CHICAGO — "You may know this song," Evanescence singer Amy Lee

uttered demurely nine songs into the group's headlining set Tuesday night at

the Congress Theatre. "It's the song that got us here." Understatement of the

year.

Without "Bring Me to Life," the ubiquitous rap-rock confection featured on

Fallen, the Little Rock, Arkansas, troupe would be far more concerned

finding people who can pronounce "Evanescence" than finding wall space for their

double-platinum album.

Now, only five months after the release of Fallen, Evanescence are

headlining the Nintendo Fusion Tour, a 20-date excursion that has the band

performing after Cold, the group that's earned the respect of everyone from Fred

Durst to Rivers Cuomo (the Weezer frontman appears on Cold's latest album,

Year of the Spider), but whose three albums together haven't sold half as

well as Fallen.

While some watched openers Revis and Cauterize perform inside the cavernous,

ready-for-demolition sweat factory (a.k.a. the Congress Theatre), others

killed time before Evanescence and Cold by playing Nintendo video games like "Billy

Hatcher and the Giant Egg" and "Soul Calibur II" at any of the 12 Nintendo

game consoles spread out over three kiosks in the venue's atrium.

With only two albums under their belt — the first of which,

Origin, only their family members own — Evanescence began their 55-minute

set with the aplomb and pomp and circumstance of alt-rock vets. When the black

curtain dropped, Lee — dressed in a frilly black-and-white skirt,

black-and-white tights, mock fur-crowned top, black combat boots, and resembling a

young, lean Exene Cervenka — stood out among her black-clothed bandmates.

She stood spotlighted on a platform above the drum riser and almost

immediately her soaring, ethereal voice resonated above the chunky rhythms of "Haunted."

One never knows how much patchwork is done in the studio to sweeten a

singer's sour notes. It's fairly obvious listening to Lee live that the engineer

working on Fallen didn't log much overtime. While guitarists John LeCompt

and Ben Moody and bassist Will Boyd served up crunchy rhythms, stentorian

power chords and assorted electro-swirls, Lee's voice was the fortunate foil,

the band's not-so-secret weapon. Her reliable bursts took songs like

"Tourniquet" and "Everybody's Fool" to a new level. However, a cover of the Smashing

Pumpkins' "Zero" was derailed by weak replication of the hook and the fact that

the snarling song didn't befit Lee's impressive range.

On the Fallen version of "Bring Me to Life," it's 12 Stones frontman

Paul McCoy who bitch-slap-raps "Wake me up/ I can't wake up/ Save me!," but

here it was LeCompt pulling double duty. The guitarist did an adequate job

imitating McCoy while he laid down the song's fiery, Iron Maiden-esque riff.

Even though it was "Bring Me to Life" that got them there, the

encore-opening, Enya-inspired "My Immortal" was the group's most memorable moment. Lee

appeared alone onstage and, with grace and beauty, played piano while she crooned

the delicate, heartfelt ballad.

Ballads of the tear-jerking variety are anathema to Cold. Throughout the

band's 10-song set, everything was heavy — sentiment included. During "Cure

My Tragedy (A Letter to God)," frontman Scooter Ward was doubled over —

as if he were dry-heaving, exorcising demons or both — and cried, "Won't

you take and give her pain to me," his touching anecdote about his sister's

ovarian cancer.

Sporting a black baseball cap, Ward paced the stage like an expectant father,

his booming, grunge-by-numbers voice plodding through such new songs as

"Suffocate," "Don't Belong" and "Stupid Girl," the hit single off Year of the

Spider. Ward didn't have much to say between songs other than, "We're Cold

and the year of the spider is good." Visually, the band was far from stunning,

with only green and red projections of, you guessed it, spiders, and guitarist

Terry Balsamo's constant dreadlock-flipping conveying any real zeal.

For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.