“Hello, hello, remember me?” Amy Lee kicks off the show with these lyrics from Evanescence’s latest single “What You Want.” As lead singer of the band, and its only remaining original member, Lee remains the driving force in the various iterations of the hard rock outfit. Returning after a five-year hiatus, Evanescence performed on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Terminal 5 (601 56th St., between 11th and 12th avenues), as part of the first leg of its world tour. Now playing overseas in Europe, Evanescence is on a mission to remind listeners that it is here to stay, with the additions of lead guitarist Terry Balsamo, rhythm guitarist Troy McLawhorn, bassist Tim McCord, and drummer Will Hunt.
Before Lee and her band members took to the stage, Rival Sons and The Pretty Reckless warmed up the crowd. Rival Sons jammed with a more blues-infused vibe that differed from the often operatic songs of Evanescence. Lead singer Jay Buchanan’s raging shriek-sing works despite the incongruous sight of a James Brown-esque voice coming out of what looks like an average Williamsburg hipster. With a Kings of Leon sound and a jaded LA-native attitude, Rival Sons brought a passion and energy that revealed why it was grouped with the seemingly disparate headlining act.
On the surface, The Pretty Reckless and Evanescence seem to be a match made in Gothic heaven. The Pretty Reckless, fronted by lead singer Taylor Momsen of “Gossip Girl” fame, would have been mildly entertaining if it weren’t for its overwhelming need to be so dark and sinisterly sexy. The band’s best performance, a cover of Audioslave’s “Like A Stone,” was compelling mostly because it wasn’t trying so hard to be “edgy.” Despite Momsen’s singing ability, her gratuitous F-bombing and gyrating highlighted how much she has to grow up before she can be taken seriously as a music artist.
Evanescence, on the other hand, fired up the audience with genuine talent and one well-crafted song after another. The band fused the old with the new, playing songs from all three of their albums. But it was during the performances of songs like “The Change,” “Lost in Paradise,” and “My Heart is Broken,” that the band’s synergy seemed to be at full force. Those songs—as well as “What You Want,” “The Other Side,” and “Oceans”—are from their new self-titled album, released on Oct. 11.
Lee has never sung better—hitting high notes normally heard only on studio albums. With this newfound verve after a half-decade of regrouping, Evanescence made it known that it’s back—and it wants everyone to know it.