Live Review: Evanescence @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne with Blaqk Audio & The Khyber Belt – 24th March 2012

Review By Billy Geary
The lead up to the release of Evanescence’s self titled album (their first in 5 years) was, put lightly, a tumultuous one. With rumours of break ups and the like, plenty wondered if we’d seen the last of them. Not to be killed off though, Evanescence finally made it back to Australia and on Saturday night, put on an excellent showcase of their vast catalogue of hits.

First up was Melbourne’s own The Khyber Belt, the lucky local band that was selected to open every show of the tour. For a band barely a year into gigging, it’s fair to say they’ve risen quickly within the Australian scene. Vocalist Forbes McKail was his usual energetic self, bounding around the huge stage. Closing their quick set with ‘We The People,’ taken off their debut EP

Electronic duo Blaqk Audio had been given the task of main support and, while vocalist Davey Havok and composer Jade Puget (both of AFI fame) are very talented in their own right, their music seemingly failed to resonate with the crowd. That can be put down solely to the vast genre difference between the head liner and Blaqk Audio’s music. It just didn’t fit. That’s not to take away from their performance though. Havok’s vocals were excellent throughout and he more than made the most of Rod Laver’s expansive stage. Playing cuts from their album CexCells as well as a couple of new ones, the duo tread the line between synthpop and EBM well, coming across as very catchy and very danceable. Unfortunately though, on Saturday night, Blaqk Audio were largely playing to the wrong crowd.

After what was an exhaustive break between bands (40 minutes, in fact), the moment Amy Lee and crew strode out to the stage, the arena erupted. Bursting straight into ‘What You Want,’ punters had been woken from the slumber induced by the long break and were suddenly in full voice. Upon completion, Evanescence’s all to familiar guitar tone signalled the arrival of one of the band’s biggest hits in ‘Going Under.’ Two things immediately became obvious; one Amy Lee has one hell of a voice, and two she is an excellent front woman. Lee worked the near full arena perfectly, holding the screaming fans in the palm of her hand for the entire night.

While it was clear the majority preferred the band’s harder hitting songs (Going Under, Sick, Bring Me To Life), there was also plenty to be liked about the softer moments of the night. There were plenty of utterly beautiful moments to be found, featuring just Amy Lee and her piano, showcasing her outstanding voice (and the entirety of the arena). Similarly, ‘Call Me When You’re Sober,’ consisting of equal parts heavy and soft, provided another set highlight with its huge chorus.

Ending their main set with one of their best songs in ‘Bring Me To Life,’ the energy at the front of the stage hit its peak, with both fans and band giving their all. It was no surprise that ‘Bring Me To Life’ was easily the highlight of the set. With an encore of ‘Your Star’ and a hauntingly beautiful rendition of ‘My Immortal,’ Evanescence left the stage to huge roars of approval and plenty begging for more.

There’s plenty of reasons Evanescence have been one of the most popular bands in rock music throughout the last ten years, one of them is they are a superb live act. This was abundantly clear on Saturday night, with not one person going home unsatisfied. After their extended break, Evanescence showed that they are as good as ever, maybe even better than before.

Review By Billy Geary
** Click here for live concert photos from their Brisbane concert **
** Click here for live concert photos from their Melbourne concert **