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Live Review: Evanescence / Within Temptation – 14th November 2022 – O2 Arena, London, UK

6 min read
Who else caught the masters of goth-rock @evanescence and @WTofficial at London's O2? Who else was as blown away as we were? Here's our review....

It was Battle of the Goth Rock Titans at London’s O2 arena on Monday night as two heavyweights of the genre finally made it to the capital to play a co-headlining tour titled, When Worlds Collide. And long overdue it was as Amy Lee, frontwoman of US band Evanescence drew attention to as she announced “this show has been 3 years in the making” following a meaty co-headlining set from Dutch symphonic metalheads, Within Temptation.

The show started at an exceptionally early 7.45pm with a haunting intro of Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker setting the mood for the night as it blared throughout the venue, allowing fans to find their seats while a futuristic-inspired stage, complete with a giant deconstructing head peering out to a crowd of enthusiastic fans was put in place and welcomed Within Temptation as the first of the two mammoth rock acts of the night.

Dressed in a gorgeously fitted metallic corset that sat atop a flowing black gown, frontwoman Sharon den Adel commanded the stage; driving almost effortlessly through 15 of the bands tracks; a mixture of career notables and newbies from the outfits most recent album, 2019’s Resist. From that record, the band performed some of their slots more memorable numbers including The Reckoning, Supernova and Raise Your Banner which was dedicated to the citizens of Ukraine and saw Den Adel stomping the stage with a massive Ukrainian flag; showing the bands support of the war torn country.

Career highlights including Ice Queen and Stand My Ground provided a nostalgic vein into the bands set and had the die-hard fans of the act saluting the singer with fist pumps as she drove through the hits with vigour and conviction while Shed My Skin offered one of the sets most catchy additions – contrasting to the previous, operatic Angels which saw the band members playing energetically to the overhead screens that showed the music video of the track.

Despite Den Adel confessing to having a cold on the night and asking for forgiveness from the crowd for “not getting every note perfect”, the singer was a force to be reckoned with as she swung between full-throttle headbangers and power ballads; including a stellar performance of All I Need where the star sat within a steel ring in a flowing red ensemble as she was raised several feet in the air. She may have not been in the finest form health-wise, but she powered through like a rock superstar, nonetheless.

Ending their set at just after 9.30pm, it was time for an interval of 30 minutes which allowed fans to stretch their legs or take a seat within the packed standing area of the venue, and top up on drinks ahead of the closing headlining set.

Once one of the world’s biggest bands, it’s been a while since Amy Lee-led Evanescence have played on British soil. However, fan eagerness to see the outfit has not withered, and neither has Lee’s absolutely phenomenal vocals that tore through many of the band’s classic as they delivered a mind-blowing, goose-bump inducing set of earth-moving rock gems.

It’s closing in on twenty years since the Fallen debut of the act who have endured a lot of inner band turmoil in the years since the album’s release which saw over 17 million units shift around the globe and several hits being birthed including Going Under and Bring Me To Life.

It was the first time for us seeing Evanescence and to say we were blown away would be quite the understatement. I don’t think we were prepared for the sheer talent of the pint-sized Lee who owned the massive O2 stage; dressed in black – a figure-hugging top and a shredded skirt – the superstars journey as frontwoman of the turbulent male-dominated rock band has not been the easiest, but her performance – as both an entertainer and powerhouse vocalist – was easily one of the best we have witnessed in many, many years.

Heartache flowed in her voice during a touching performance of Far From Heaven. A tribute to her late brother, Lee cast a sentimental spell over the packed venue as she delivered a mesmerising performance of the song sat at a piano that rose from the floor at the front of the stage while her appreciation of her audience and the night shone in comments regularly made by the singer. “We’ve been dreaming of this night for years” she would confess ahead of an offering of Made of Stone from the outfits 2011’s self-titled release.

With new songs from the band’s The Bitter Truth album (released last year and over a decade since the collectives last) taking up the majority of set list real estate, the crowd seemed equally as happy to take in new tracks like Wasted On You, with its 60’s prom night qualities, as they were with the signature hits.

Each tracks clean-cut guitar work and perfectly executed instrumentation from her fellow band members helped transform many of the nights tracks like new number, Take Cover and the politically and socially charged Use My Voice into stadium juggernauts, but it was the bands early hits that really stole the night. Going Under found an early nesting place in the set and reminded us of the lasting power of the act and the phenomenon that was the bands 2003 Fallen release. As bassist Emma Anzai provided the chorus backing vocal, Lee ripped through the track with an energetic power and precision unheard of in the rock world in many years, while gentle numbers My Immortal and Call Me When You’re Sober showed off Lee and her bands ability to swing so effortlessly between grinding rock numbers and sombre balladry while Lee garnished the crowd with appreciation and messages of empowerment and being true to yourself.

Closing the night with the expected Bring Me To Life, the track that made Evanescence a household name for several since following its release almost two decades ago, we exited the capitals super-venue with not just a newfound respect for Evanescence, but a newfound respect and appreciation for the goth rock genre – a genre that these two goliaths have mastered. While the show was a few years in the making and while we may only see a release from Evanescence every decade or so, lets hope we don’t have to wait as long to see these acts visit the UK again to deliver another phenomenal night of the finest in symphonic goth-rock.

Setlists:

Within Temptation:
Our Solemn Hour
Faster
Paradise (What About Us?)
Stand My Ground
Angels
Shed My Skin
Raise Your Banner
Entertain You
Supernova
The Reckoning
Don’t Pray for Me
All I Need
Ice Queen
What Have You Done
Mother Earth

Evanescence:
Artifact/The Turn
Broken Pieces Shine
Made of Stone 
Take Cover 
Going Under
Wasted on You 
Lose Control / Part of Me / Never Go Back
Far From Heaven
Your Star
End of the Dream 
Better Without You
Call Me When You’re Sober
Imaginary
Use My Voice
Blind Belief
My Immortal
Bring Me to Life