Evanescence and VERIDIA: SOLD OUT and Live at The Fillmore Charlotte
Photos by Kevin McGee
“This is a song about being free from anxiety and fear,” announced VERIDIA lead singer Deena Jakoub as she and her band launched into a rousing rendition of “Still Breathing,” one of the band’s newest tracks. The announcement was more fitting than even she might have realized, as well as welcome, given the recent state of affairs nationally, but tonight was about pure escapism, catharsis, music, and romanticism that defines much of Evanescence’s music.
Evanescence, who hasn’t released new material since October 7th of 2011, and whose lead singer just released an album of lullabies, still managed to sell out their headlining November 15th, 2016 show at the Fillmore Charlotte. For fans who were lucky enough to get tickets quickly enough, the experience was well worth the anxiety spent in procuring them, as well as the long line to get in to see the band.
Speaking of romanticism, there were plenty of Amy Lee inspired looking fans in the crowd, including the two female English majors behind me in line quizzing each other on literary movements including, you guessed it, the English Romantics.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js“All of the dark mopey heroes you see in today’s movies and books? All copies of the Byronic Hero. Where would popular lit be without him?” “But, don’t you think that the Byronic Hero was really just a rip off of Milton’s Satan though?” I interrupted good naturedly. “Yes! That’s very true!” responded one of the two. This lead into a fun discussion of English Lit, of which of course I know a little about, having spent many an hour studying for English Lit exams myself. English majors waiting in line to see what started as perhaps one of the heaviest goth bands in history, which has subsequently morphed into one of its most commercially successful, weren’t representative of the whole crowd though.
There was a great mixture of widely diverse individuals in attendance that night. Old and young fans, straight and gay couples, Hispanics, African-Americans, and yes…writers and photographers such as myself and Shutter16.com’s own Kevin McGee (both of whom were pretty giddy at the prospect of covering one of our favorite bands) all helped to make up the diverse crowd. It was a crowd that got along with each other and stood in line merrily next to each other during the wait to get into the show. Ah, the power of music to unite. The power of great music to not only unite, but dissolve our differences in the presence of each other’s company. How’s that for a romantic notion for you?
As concerns the show, and the music, itself though, it really was a joy to see Evanescence up close and personal at what is definitely Charlotte’s best music venue. I had seen Evanescence before when they were touring on Fallen, their 2003 major label debut album, at (what is now called) The PNC Music Pavilion. I must admit, that 2004 show wasn’t a very good one. Ben Moody had recently left the band, and it really felt like the remaining band members, both old and new, hadn’t quite adjusted to his absence yet. The musicianship wasn’t sharp and songs themselves (in performance that night) lacked the heft that they did on album. The exact opposite was the case this time around.
Openers VERIDIA, whose music sounds a little more electronic and poppy as recorded, took on a much harder tone live. Their wall of sound guitar, derived from their twin guitar attack (some songs didn’t even have a single bass guitar note in them as both guitarists played leads), really defined VERIDIA as “alternative” as opposed to “pop” as iTunes invariably classifies them. Singer Jakoub’s voice and stage presence rival that of Amy Lee’s, and that’s a good thing for the future of this band as Amy has few peers in the genre. Despite the power and grandeur of the headliners’ set, VERIDIA, as the openers, were not to be forgotten once the show was over as they themselves were a sight to behold AND hear.
Evanescence was incredibly tight and obviously had some great chemistry. They even debuted a new song, “Take Cover,” which Amy dedicated to some “assholes” (knowing the band’s history-it’s not hard to surmise who she’s referring to). Amy’s voice was sharp and strong as ever, even if she did sound tinny at points. This was mostly during the times when she was speaking and interacting with the crowd though, not singing. Hair raising performances of “My Immortal” and “My Heart is Broken” not only got the juices flowing of the romantics in the audiences, they flat out rocked the whole crowd. As the show began and there was no grand piano in sight on stage, I began to worry that some of Evanescence’s signature songs were going to be lacking the deep piano sound that defined them. Happily, my fears were allayed when the stage crew rolled a grand piano out onto stage for Amy to perform on.
While the piano driven songs were powerfully touching live, just as they are when you hear them through your speakers or headphones, the hard rocking songs were just as powerful that night. The new hard rock material stood up well alongside the original goth tinged music off of Fallen. The songs off of Fallen are the ones that most casual fans know and love. Those fans are missing out though if they never followed Evanescence along to their second and third albums.
The songs sounded brilliant live, and in some ways even a little better than the classics (“My Immortal” and “Going Under” were major exceptions), as they have a more straightforward hard rock sound with less electronic production in the background.
I never thought of Evanescence as a band that particularly had as diverse, interesting, and fun a following as they revealed them to have at the sold out Fillmore Charlotte show. Taking in the wide range of subject matter and instrumentation in their songs though, I can’t believe I didn’t realize this before. It was another great show at The Fillmore Charlotte, by another great band, uniting the diverse through their music alone. Yeah, that was a good night, for romantics and otherwise.