By Cara Demers
It’s apparent when an outstandingly stacked lineup has hit The Palladium Theatre, for a line stretching back and around the building, snaking through side-streets and into sidewalks, will start hours before the doors are even pinned open. Friday night, October 28th, was clearly no exception in Worcester, Massachusetts. The doors would open surprisingly on time, and immediately the undeniably huge crowd raced into the venue, both anxious and hyped up for a night of sold-out performances.
Some holding signs, others pushing their way to the front, a few restless fans began the kick-start chants a few minutes in to the scheduled start time. Though around 8:45, the lights dimmed and the music started. Although I wasn’t in the least bit familiar with the tour openers, Rival Sons was an obvious hit for the crowd. I found myself moving, regardless of the fact that I knew absolutely none of the words, and they were a standout band with a blues-meets-rock ‘n’ roll sound that was both unique and refreshing. As the four guys eased through their set, speaking to the crowd between songs in support of what was soon-to-come, it was obvious the newly acquired fans who, by the time they finished up, had made their way to the bands merch table at the other end of the room, a few with the bands self-titled in hand.
As expected, the overall excitement in the room was barely containable when a few minutes of set-up later, The Pretty Reckless’ Taylor Momsen took center stage. Her voice belting, the band (Ben Phillips on guitar, Mark Damon on bass, and drummer Jamie Perkins) opened with “Since You’re Gone,” and even within the first minute, Momsen’s obvious stage presence was crystal clear. Despite her young age, she looked as comfortable as a performer who might as well have been doing it for years, and her vocals were just as impressive in person as they are on the bands only release to date, “Light Me Up.”
My personal favorite of the night came only a few songs into the set, and although it doesn’t appear on the album, the heavy drums and bass in “Zombie” stirred the crowd’s energy level even higher. The rest of the set list was obviously drawn from their album, though it was a pleasant surprise to hear Momsen suddenly shift gears to break into a cover of Audioslave’s “Stone” halfway through. Looking around, fans seemed to react as if the song were the bands own, applauding, whistling, and screaming just as they did for what followed (“Make Me Wanna Die.”) They closed the set with “Factory Girl,” during which Momsen made sure to move around the stage as rapidly and often enough to give the crowd their last opportunity to belt out the words as loud as they could alongside her. With one final rift on Phillips’ guitar, Momsen and her band left the crowd not only satisfied with an outstandingly impressive performance, but also as obviously eager as could be for Evanescence to take the stage.
And if one thing is certain, it’s that Amy Lee did anything but disappoint. Her voice is immediately like nothing any other female performer could upstage, and the band opened with “What You Want” off their latest self-titled release. Those who could sing along did, and others in the crowd were bouncing, moving, and pushing closer to the front to get as best a view they could. Lee transitioned right into another track off the album, “Going Under,” which incorporates a heavy bass that, when heard live, was unbelievably dominant and captivating for anyone at any point in the venue. While most of the set list was fixed around new material from their latest album, I was thrilled to hear a few that brought back a clear reminder of what this band has impressively managed to accomplish over the years.
One of the more impressive moments of the night was when a black grand piano was pushed to center stage, and the audience was treated to the core of Lee’s powerful voice. Eventually, she would accompany herself with the familiar piano into for the band’s 2006 hit, “Call Me When You’re Sober,” followed by possibly one of their biggest hits to-date, “Bring Me To Life.” These two songs were by far the ones that best showcased the band as a whole once the chorus’ began to hit. It’s one thing to hear an Evanescence blasting through your radio, though it’s another entirely to witness their music come together up-close and in person.
The band closed the show with a three-song encore of “Never Go Back,” “Your Star,” and “My Immortal.” Not only did the night fly by through a whirlwind of heavy rock ballads combined with their infamously prevailing harder rock sound, both old and new, but Evanescence, along with the opening bands, put on a highly entertaining show that left every bit of evidence that it was a night well-spent for the audience.