Friday night August 17, 2018 was similar to most August evenings. The temperature was in the low nineties, high humidity, and a threat of thunderstorms. A typical summer evening in Tampa, Florida at The MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater except, the amphitheater was buzzing and expecting a capacity crowd of more than 20,000 for tonights show. Amy Lee and Evanescence had come to town with the energetic electric fiddle playing Lindsey Stirling. The tour has been exchanging the two acts as headliners in alternating shows. This night, Evanescence was giving way to Stirling. Before the duo heavy weights, played a two piece band Amy Lee had previously recorded “All About Anna” with Cellogram, they entertained the crowd as they found their seats.
Last November I discovered a YouTube video, “Bring Me To Life”. Who is this band? More importantly who is this lady with the sweet soprano voice and the range and power to vocally pull off this song with a goth-metal band? The hair on my arms literally stood on end as I listened and watched. I was dumbfounded how I missed this band and this video recording as it was already 14 years old. I called my older brother who worked during that time in transportation for the stars as a tour bus driver. Yes, he had heard of Amy Lee as he was fortunate enough to be her personal driver on the Evanescence World Domination Tour 2004. He raved about her character and demeanor. Seeing Evanescence was put on my bucket list as well as making “Bring Me To Life” my new inspiration video of 2018. Sometime in March Evanescence released the schedule for the Synthesis-style Tour and Central Florida was August 17. I immediately circled the date as I wasn’t going to miss reviewing this show.
Lindsey Stirling was also on the bill. Last December, I also discovered her, looking through videos or on Facebook, she was covering Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” which won her a Streamy Awards best cover song in 2016. I know what your thinking, what planet has this guy been living on? Well, I recently have expanded my genres in music from my original 1970’s music upbringing.
At approximately 7pm, Cellogram entered the stage and flanked on either side by the split orchestra set for the next two bands. They looked small on the enormous stage positioning themselves front and center. Dave Eggar with his cello introduced Chuck Palmer his band mate and percussionist. The duo was highly entertaining and produced a sound larger than just two musicians. The set was short but highly entertaining, just 4 songs.
Back in Black (AC/DC)
All About Anna
We Will Rock You (Queen)
Kashmir (Led Zeppelin)
At around 8pm the amphitheater was a buzz as Evanescence took the stage. The orchestra was already seated and the band took their seats? This was very unexpected and I realized I wasn’t going to experience a goth-metal show. Amy Lee came on to the stage wearing a full length flowing red evening dress and sat at the grand piano. Taken aback as to what kind of show I was about to see with all musicians seated, I let the performance unfold. Amy Lee still commanded the show with amazing voice. The orchestra was great but at times seemed to lag in tempo. The sheer power of 28 players in the orchestra also seemed to at times overpower Evanescence. This may have only been from my vantage point and the speaker placement, as I was seated right of center stage. Amy made up for the lack of action on the stage with her mesmerizing vocals as before, but this was a different Evanescence, the new Evanescence. Their new album “Synthesis” was release on November 10, 2017. The material is referred to as orchestral arrangements with electronica elements. All the songs from tonight’s show appear on “Synthesis” with “Bring Me to Life” being my high point of the show. Amy Lee made me smile with her rendition of The Beatles “Across the Universe” from the “Let It Be” album recorded in 1970 (yes, my era), she delivered it with such soul, John Lennon would have been proud. Next was “Hi-Lo” that welcomed Lindsey Stirling to the stage bringing the audience to a frenzy. A sneak peak at the performer that was coming next.
If you get a chance to see Evanescence on their few remaining dates, settle in for a night of full orchestrated music. Don’t expect the visual energy of the old Evanescence, the power is now in the music. And don’t tell drummer/songwriter Will Hunt, he didn’t get the memo. What an awesome display of energy on his drum kit.
Amy Lee – Vocals/Piano/Harp (1995-Present)
Will Hunt – Drums (2010-Present)
Tim McCord – Bass (2006-Present)
Troy McLawhorn – Lead Guitar (2007-Present)
Jen Majura – Rhythm Guitar/Backing Vocals (2015-Present)
Never Go Back 2017
End of the Dream 2017
My Heart Is Broken 2017
Lost in Paradise 2017
Your Star 2017
My Immortal 2017
The In-Between 2017
Lindsey Stirling hit the stage around 9:30pm. Lindsey appeared on a platform centerstage illuminated by white spotlights from above. The amphitheater roar was the loudest of the night. America’s YouTube sweetheart was on stage. Stirling burst on the scene as a quarter finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2010. Lindsey Stirling is currently number one on YouTube. Her channel Lindseystomp has almost 11 million subscribers and over 2 billion views. Everyone present knows Piers Morgan was a bad judge of talent when he told Lindsey in 2010, “You’re not untalented, but you’re not good enough to get away with flying through the air and trying to play the violin at the same time.” Lindsey’s second album “Shatter Me” won top Dance/Electronic Album at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards.
Lindsey Stirling’s energy is contagious. From the ballet choreography, to the contortionist poses, this lady moves around the stage like a whirlwind. She is constantly vibrating while continually playing her electric violin. Tonight, she was Tampa’s sweetheart. Lindsey Stirling released her fourth album “Warmer in the Winter” in October 2017 on YouTube. Amy Lee came back on stage and again the crowd went into a frenzy joining Lindsey and sing the fourth song “Shatter Me” which originally featured Lzzy Hale with having almost 90 million YouTube hits to date. I have seen Lindsey Stirling on YouTube, but nothing compares to her live performance. You will cherish the memories.
Lindsey Stirling – Electric Violin
Drew Steen – Drums
Kit Nolan – Keyboards/Guitars