It wasn’t a sold out performance at the Hollywood Palladium on Tuesday night, but for a band that hasn’t released an album in five years, Evanescence drew a more than respectable crowd to the famed art deco venue, a staple of L.A.’s Sunset Blvd. since 1940.
In a way, the audience, like Evanescence’s music, was hard to categorize. Among the sea of people straining for a glimpse of singer Amy Lee and bobbing toward the front of the stage were twenty-something punks with green hair, middle-aged men with moustaches and long ponytails, bleach-blonde ladies and pitch-black goths.
With that in mind, any attempt to generalize the night would be an exercise in futility, unless, of course, you’re talking about opener Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless. True to her eyebrow-raising form, the former Gossip Girl star paired raccoon eyes with provocative fish-nets, knee-high leather boots and an all black mini-dress, although surprisingly, for the earlier part of the evening, she covered up with an oversized flannel and black leather jacket, before peeling off the layers and writhing around on stage.
Momson has made plenty of headlines over the past year for her stage antics, but she kept it relatively tame for the Los Angeles audience, dropping a few F-bombs, but more importantly, delivering a slew of songs with power and conviction behind a gravelly voice that sounds like it belongs to an artist well beyond her 18 years. In return, the actress-turned-singer received a variety of adoring obscenities hurled from the audience — to one, she responded, “I think you’re fucking sexy, too.”
Cheering Momson on was Gossip Girl co-star Connor Paolo (aka Eric Van Der Woodesen), who shouted words of encouragement from the VIP balcony then bolted before the headliner hit the stage. The Pretty Reckless set included a cover of Audioslave’s “Like a Stone,” which received mixed reaction.
Evanescence took position promptly at 10:05, kicking off their set with “What You Want,” the first single off their brand new self-titled album, which happened to drop on the same night as the show. Donning a black tanktop, black tulle skirt and red flannel embellishment around her waist, Lee then sauntered across the stage leading into “Going Under,” from 2003’s Fallen, to deafening applause.
But while Lee’s hypnotizing voice sounded remarkably similar to her recordings, she bantered so little — which is to say, hardly at all, unless it involved announcing the name of a new track or plugging the band’s just-released album — that it soon started to feel less like a concert experience and more like a singalong with the iPod on Evanescence shuffle and extra-loud.
Still, Lee delivered with high energy and an undeniably fierce vocal style, best demonstrated on the gut-wrenching ballads “My Heart is Broken,” “Lithium” and the night’s closer, “My Immortal,” where she sat at a piano placed front and center. Leading into “Heart,” Lee even made a rare joke, telling the fans to be quiet so she could concentrate.
But at times throughout the band’s set, the at attention audience seemed only partly engaged. With several cell phones and even some actual lighters in the air, about half of the crowd obliged to the singer’s requests for sing-a-longs. To their credit, that half gave it their all.
What You Want
The Other Side
Weight of the World
Made of Stone
Lost in Paradise
My Heart is Broken
Bring Me to Life
Never Go Back