x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Evanescence hold a candle in the darkness

The American rock band arrived in Dubai with the most accomplished and satisfying record of their career.

Arriving to the strutting beats of What You Want, the band put on a charged set that balanced their new tracks with crowd favourites. Razan Alzayani / The National
Arriving to the strutting beats of What You Want, the band put on a charged set that balanced their new tracks with crowd favourites. Razan Alzayani / The National

A unique UAE musical moment occurred on Friday night when an Evanescence concert was conducted in a hall right across from a family festival.

I would love to have been a fly on that wall, when all those parents had to explain to their kids the goth army nearby.

Such a thought put me in a bright mood, which is just as well, as one had to enter the Sheikh Rashid Hall among a foreboding sea of black clothes.

It took all these years for the American rock band Evanescence to arrive to the Middle East, but thankfully we witnessed them in their most interesting phase.

Gone is the "nu metal" tag falsely ascribed to them after the release of their first hit Bring Me to Life in 2003. With each succeeding release, the band expanded their palette, resulting in last year's third album, their most accomplished and satisfying work.

Arriving to the strutting beats of What You Want, the band put on a charged set that balanced their new tracks with crowd favourites.

For all of her talk that Evanescence is a band effort, there is no doubt that live on stage, it is the lead singer Amy Lee's show; so much so, with the exception of some new and neat drum twirls from Will Hunt, the other three boys were content to play those staccato riffs in the dark.

Lee was all dynamism, playing a sneering rock chick in Sick, a chanteuse in the piano-led Gonna Let It Go and a conqueror in The Change.

Perhaps justifiably, Lee has a reputation as an iron-fisted leader – barking orders to band mates over the years – but there is no doubt she was the hardest working on stage. Evanescence albums are defined by her voice – often moving from a subtle coo in the verse before a sky-scraping wail in the chorus. Lee took on the responsibility admirably during the show, summoning the appropriate fury and anguish for each track despite the appearance of imminent self-combustion. It all made for a performance that was both epic and streamlined, something Evanescence do considerably well.

sasaeed@thenational.ae