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Congress Theater, Chicago, IL

Cauterize & Revis

Read on, we'll get to them in a second.

Nintendo Fusion Free T-Shirt Guy
You know you've got a long way to go as a band when the self-proclaimed "Free T-Shirt Guy" [who takes the stage and tosses out free merch] generates a larger reaction from the crowd than you did throughout your entire set. It's not that Cauterize and Revis were awful... people just didn't seem to get into them much. In fact, Cauterize, with their energetic pop-punk, was a solid opener and Revis gave an emotionally charged performance. No complaints here.

Once the Nintendo Fusion backdrop went down, the crowd went crazy as a curtain decorated with a huge spiderweb was raised; time for Cold to take the stage.

Cold's set was unapologetically real. Frontman Scooter Ward bled genuine emotion, especially during "Cure My Tragedy [A Letter To God]," a song about his cancer-stricken sister, Jen.

During the chorus of "No One," I noticed something, or rather someone, was missing - Sierra Swan [the song's recorded counterpart features this budding female songstress]. I wonder if anyone considered the idea of asking Amy [of Evanescence] to lend her vocal talents.

Cold sparked several massive singalongs, most notably during "Stupid Girl" and "Just Got Wicked." It was evident that they could have easily headlined this tour.

Their set complete, the spiderweb backdrop came down and all that was visible onstage was an enveloping black curtain.

The curtains were drawn to reveal lead singer Amy Lee, adorned with black wings, atop a high platform. Appropriately enough, Evanescence began the set with "Haunted," the song that best represents their sound, style, and ambience.

Next, they played their current single, "Going Under," followed by "Taking Over Me," "Everybody's Fool," and "My Last Breath."

Then, a trifecta of rarities...

The first two were "Farther Away" [available only through a European release], and "Even In Death" [a track from the much sought after, pre-Wind-Up Records album, Origin]. Next, in what may have been an attempt to further distance themselves from the "Christian Rock" tag, they covered the Smashing Pumpkins' "Zero" [in case you're not familiar with this song, all you need to know is the end of the chorus features the blatantly blasphemous lyric: "God is empty... just like me"]. Only about a fourth of the crowd seemed to recognize the song, which is kind of embarrassing, considering that this IS the Pumpkins' hometown and all.

Before the next song Amy told the crowd, "You should know this one too" [too? - read previous paragraph]. She continued, "It's what got us on the map" ...and with an introduction like that, you should be smacking yourself silly if you don't already know what song they would perform next: "Bring Me To Life." No, Paul McCoy of 12 Stones didn't make a guest appearance onstage. Instead rhythm guitarist John LeCompt assumed Paul's rapping/screaming duties [extremely well, I might add]. Sorry, Paul, you were not missed. The audience was definitely pumped up after this performance. Apparently playing your biggest hit right after three relatively obscure tracks is the best way to get a crowd going.

Next up, the song most responsible for the "Christian Rock" tag - "Tourniquet." Lighting helped create the perfect atmosphere [a purple-blue purgatory] for this song about suicide and it was absolutely chilling to hear Amy scream "I WANT TO DIE!" at the top of her lungs. As the song ended with the sounds of violins and other orchestral strings, Amy told the crowd they would play one last song, "Imaginary" [my favorite track off Fallen].

Afterwards some people made their way to the venue's exits [I guess they'd never heard of an encore], while those that remained cheered incessantly for Evanescence to take the stage one more time. Stagehands brought out a stool and a keyboard. Amy would soon follow. Those who were eager to leave earlier quickly made their way back to their seats.

After an entire night of non-stop, guitar-heavy performances, we were treated to a moment of stripped-down serenity. Amy took center stage [sans wings and arm coverings] and performed "My Immortal" [taking on dual duties of piano and vocals]. Throughout the song, one by one, the other band members strapped on their instruments, returned to the stage, and joined Amy for a special rendition [Note: the album version doesn't include guitars, bass, or drums].

As stagehands took the stool and keyboard offstage, Amy told the crowd: "We don't want to put you to sleep so we're going to play one more song if that's okay with you," and with that the band ended the night with "Whisper," Fallen's final track [don't let the title fool you, the song is anything but quiet].

The only gripe I have about Evanescence's performance were the orchestral arrangements. Sure, you hear this amazing music, but it's apparent that no one on stage is playing it [thank God for the DAT machine]. I know it's necessary to use some sort of auxiliary device for Amy's backup vocals [after all, she IS the only female in the band], but I would prefer to see a keyboardist re-creating the stringed sounds live.

I didn't get to check out any of the upcoming titles Nintendo unveiled exclusively for this tour, but so what? I didn't come here to play video games. A tour report posted on the official Nintendo Fusion site said that on some tour stops, some kids skipped the show entirely and stayed in the gaming area [way to waste mom and dad's hard-earned money]. I came here for the music and nothing else... and you know what?

I definitely got my money's worth.

Going Under
Taking Over Me
Everybody's Fool
My Last Breath
Farther Away
Even In Death
Bring Me To Life
My Immortal

review by br1an s3rra