On this typical autumn Pacific Northwest night we made our way to Ridgefield, Washington’s Sunlight Supply Amphitheater for what would be their final concert of the year. This was also the last stop for Evanescence and LindseyStirling’s tour with a full orchestra. They promised “a sensory experience like no other” which not only met, but exceeded our expectations. Both of these amazing ladies could easily headline on their own, and it might seem like an odd pairing with the heavy rock/metal of Evanescence and the electronic/pop violinist Lindsey Stirling, but with the orchestra support, the pairing was perfect! Like peanut butter and chocolate! (I could have said jelly but this show was so much sweeter than that).
To start the evening was a duo group Cellogram, a solo project between two friends Dave Eggar (cellist) and Chuck Palmer (percussionist). They brought a good energy to the stage. Which was a perfect start for the night. They are a very talented duo that kept the audience entertained with their style of music, stories and tales between songs, and little tricks with their instruments. We later found out that they were also part of Evanescence’s orchestra. Light and fun, these guys were a wonderful surprise opener to what would be a magnificent night ahead.
You could feel the buzz in the audience as we waited for Evanescence. The orchestra came on and took their spots on stage and a hush fell over the crowd in anticipation. The crowd cheered as Troy McLawhorn (lead guitar), Jen Majura (rhythm guitar/backing vocals), Tim McCord (bass), and Will Hunt (drums) joined the orchestra. However, the crowd deafening when Amy Lee took her spot at the piano on stage. As soon as her fingers touched the keys, a silence fell again over the crowd and we were all on the edge of our seats. Most of the set list included songs from Evanescence’s recent studio album Synthesis and Amy Lee would bounce back between piano and a mic stand positioned at center stage. She wore a beautiful gown that swayed when she moved.
To put down in words the powerhouse and magic that is Amy Lee’s voice is very difficult. I’ve watched her on YouTube and it shows she has talent, but to hear her voice with the orchestra in person, absolutely gave me chills. This is the first performer I have witnessed where there was barely anyone singing along to the songs around me. We were all just memorized by the beauty that was coming from that stage, both audibly and visually. The only song that the crowd sang along with while holding up their cellphones with the light on was the popular “My Immortal” off of their debut 2003 album Fallen, and it was enchanting. There were a couple of moments that I think caught Amy by surprise. During the popular radio hit “Bring Me To Life,” some of Lindsey Stirling’s dancers came onstage and surrounded Amy with their big red feathered fans and they danced around her. She didn’t miss a note though as she smiled and sang the power hit wonderfully.
It is obvious that this group is special and have enjoyed their tour together. Amy decided to end their set with a mash up cover song titled “Palladio/No More Tears/Alive” from Karl Jenkins, Ozzy, and Sia respectively. Amy gave a big thanks to the talented orchestra behind her, then the band came up with the Cellogram guys and they all gave a bow to the crowd.
Next up was the sensational, multi-talented violinist Lindsey Stirling. If you don’t know who she is or her story, where have you been?! Seriously! This girl is amazing! Ok… done fan-Girling over here for a moment.
The orchestra took their seats again and the lights dimmed. The audience was still as a video played on the big screens behind the orchestra. The video showed Stirling’s journey, struggles and all that she has been through. She was first introduced to us on television on America’s Got Talent with her violin. There she was told by judge Piers Morgan “You’re not untalented, but you’re not good enough to get away with flying through the air and trying to play the violin at the same time.” The video transitioned wonderfully to her first song, “The Arena,” which is a song about fighting for what you believe in. Lindsey moved and used the entire stage, and where Amy’s voice filled the entire venue, Lindsey’s energy and charisma equally matched. (Remember we are outside so that is huge!) She moved into the fitting “Moon Trance” and Halloween-esque song “Shadows” surrounded by her dancers dressed like zombie/skeletons. Switching it up next was the single off the album with the same name “Shatter Me.” The dancers dressed as ballerinas and that came with the surprise of Amy Lee coming to sing the Izzy Halestorm part; Amy came dressed like Chewbacca!! I don’t know how Lindsey played without messing up when she caught sight of Chewie-Amy Lee, but she did. At the end of the song, Amy even got the sound guy to do the famous Chewie yell! It was magnificent! After that, Lindsey stopped to talk about how this has been her dream; playing music and dancing, and she was humble talking about sharing the stage with one of her idols. The screen showed a video of a young Lindsey Stirling, circla 2002, and some friends lip-syncing and making their own video to Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life.”
It just goes to show you that your path can take you anywhere you want it to go. Lindsey and the crew continued to entertain us joyfully with her songs including her breakout song “Crystallize.” She also took a moment to share her story of her struggles with anorexia and depression, giving wonderful advice for anyone in the crowd dealing with the same or similar demons.
Lightening it up a bit, she showed her nerdiness mentioning her Gryiffindor house pride and asked everyone to turn the lights on their phones by saying “Lumious Maximous.” (It’s ok if you don’t get that… hint is Harry Potter) for her song “First Light,” which is inspired by her struggle with depression. Stirling ended the night with the Bollywood feel “Mirage” and a powerful, masterful Phantom of the Opera Medley.
To an overwhelming applause, everyone took the stage again and did a big thank you to the crowd with a generous bow. It was a wonderful, magical night full of very talented humans that gave us chills, the feels, and exquisite entertainment.