WANTAGH, New York — If Amy Lee was road weary after almost constant touring behind Evanescence’s 18-month-old smash, Fallen, she hid her fatigue extremely well.
For all anyone attending Evanescence’s gig at Jones Beach Theater on Thursday knew, the charismatic Lee may have been so pooped (having circled the globe on a few occasions to support the 5.5 million seller), she may have been sound asleep before showtime. And immediately after the hour-long set, she could have passed out cold before hitting the tour bus. What’s certain is that the time in between was spent proffering a show filled with as much urgency and energy as one of their early gigs. As if Evanescence still had something to prove.
“I know it’s tough to move because of the seats,” a pigtailed and striped-stockinged Lee told the near-capacity crowd, “but don’t be afraid to boogie down.” Lee certainly wasn’t.
The moments were few when her right fist wasn’t pumping in the air to emphasize her lyrical sentiments. And standing still never really factored into the equation. Lee alternated between determinedly pacing the stage and seemingly floating on the wings of her soaring vocals through textural hybrids such as “Taking Over Me,” “My Last Breath” and “Tourniquet.”
Lee’s verve was evident, even when not appropriately rocking out to the music. Returning from stage left after a guitar solo or prolonged instrumental interlude, Lee often fluttered back into the spotlight. She even partially lifted her sheer white skirt, fashionably cut to layered ribbons, in order to curtsy in gleeful appreciation after one tune.
The onstage energy was returned by the crowd, whose screams, shrills and hollers filled any between-song audio lapses. The crowd’s applause multiplied, of course, for the album singles “Going Under,” “Bring Me to Life” and “Everybody’s Fool.”
Guitarist John LeCompt and bassist Will Boyd were also, if not quite equally, animated, as they roamed the stage, banged their heads, and took turns rocking out on a ramp above Rocky Gray’s drum kit. Recently integrated guitarist Terry Balsamo moved to the music, too, only his movements seemed a little out of sync with the rest of the band — he’s obviously the new guy.
While LeCompt and Boyd’s hair was cut short, Balsamo’s rope-like dreads tickled the small of his back, making for a silhouette not unlike that of Slipknot’s Corey Taylor. They played black guitars; his was metallic silver with a Coors Light logo emblazoned on the body. And as they faced forward and put on their meanest contorted guitar faces, Balsamo rarely squared off with the audience, preferring instead to look offstage or keep his back to the crowd.
The only lull in the show was self-imposed. Before warning the crowd that she was going to chill for a while, Lee took her place behind a grand piano for a sparse and delicate cover of “Thoughtless,” from Korn’s 2002 album, Untouchables. A bit later, she returned to the ivories for two rare songs, “Farther Away” and “Breathe No More,” as well as “My Immortal.” The huge crossover hit prompted a massive sing-along, the lofting of cigarette lighters and cell phones, and perhaps even a slow-welling tear in the eye of one tough guy in a muscle shirt and mullet.
The tail of “My Immortal” bled seamlessly into the band’s first hit, “Bring Me to Life.” Evanescence’s ability to resume their fervent momentum after keeping subdued for so long was impressive, and the massive popularity of the song was a smart set-list assembly that helped the crowd respond in kind. They closed their set with the gently heavy “Imaginary,” only to return to the stage two minutes later for an encore of “Whisper.”
Her body slick with sweat from the hot and humid night air — causing wisps of her raven locks to stick annoyingly to her face — Lee ended the show just as it began: with impassioned and spirited fun.
Perhaps even more impressive than completing just one set of her own, prior to Evanescence taking the stage, Lee joined opening band Seether to duet with her boyfriend, Shaun Morgan, on their hit single, “Broken.” Following her exit, the South African nü-metal group ended its set with a cover of Nirvana’s posthumous 2002 tune, “You Know You’re Right.”
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