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Evanescence: One year later 

GOOD CAMERA WORK: Evanescence album.
  • GOOD CAMERA WORK: Evanescence album.
Amy Lee’s photograph from a concert at Alltel Arena graced this page a year ago, and we wondered what 2004 would hold for 2003’s rock sensation Evanescence, whose core members called Little Rock home. Lee and Evanescence weren’t home much through half of 2004, winning two Grammy Awards and a host of other honors, touring Japan, Europe and the U.S., and putting together the aptly titled “Anywhere But Home” CD/DVD package that was released recently by Wind-Up Records. It’s not a sophomore release on the label in that it’s a concert CD/DVD — the DVD portion has daring and often terrific camerawork of the band throughout in a concert filmed in Paris — and also features the band’s four music videos and some behind-the-scenes film of the group. Lee, on the fan website www.evboard.com, wonders if the fans will think the group goofy off stage. The answer: No more than anyone would have thought of behind-the-scenes film of any rock band through the years, from the Rolling Stones to the Dave Matthews Band. The live-music CD includes a previously unreleased song, “Missing.” The rest is live rehash of the six-times-platinum CD “Fallen,” which begat the mega-hit “Bring Me To Life” — credit for that success, of course, first goes to the “Daredevil” movie soundtrack — and three other singles. It’s more fun watching the DVD portion; the music displays Lee with a rawer, less technically perfected sound. Lee, from what we’ve seen in concerts and on this release, doesn’t transfer to live performance like, say, Sarah McLachlan would, but we’re not in any way lumping her with wannabe pop singers Lindsay Lohan (stick with movies, please) or Ashlee Simpson (stick with TV, leave the singing to Sis). Lee’s tone well serves the metal urgings of her four bandmates, but after hearing “Bring Me To Life” and “Going Under” in their studio perfection aired thousands of times on radio, one senses with the live performance that Lee is putting a serious strain on the cords. The young Paris crowd eats it all up, though, and the shots from within the throng bring the viewer into the moshing. There are innumerable angles of the show, and video of Rocky Gray full-out hammering his drum kit gives a better idea of this man’s vast talents, which so far have been limited to epic and heavy rock — we’re left certain he could drum any style with authority. Guitarists John LeCompt and the only non-Little Rock member, Terry Balsamo, who joined the band late in 2003, and bassist Will Boyd complement Lee’s dynamic stage presence, stepping forward occasionally to provide added energy to fuel the Parisians. The collection of music videos are a treat. Lee’s born-to-perform abilities shine through on the fun send-up of advertising in “Everybody’s Fool,” and fans can see band co-founder Ben Moody again in “My Immortal.” Moody quit in mid-tour during the fall of 2003, and the video of the touching ballad is, in fact, so haunting in the way it displays a seemingly depressed Moody falling over the keys of a grand piano as he plays. Don’t cry too much for Moody or another former member, David Hodges, who have raked in writing royalties on an album that’s sold millions worldwide. Evanescence indeed did return home in mid-August for a concert with Seether, Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace. Lee was on the charts with Seether lead singer (and her boyfriend) Shaun Morgan with the song “Broken.” And the focus during a quiet period late in the year was toward writing and recording for a release of new material in 2005, a Wind-Up spokesman said. The biography of Evanescence on Yahoo’s Music Launch says the epic rock band escaped “the town’s stagnant soft-rock and death metal scenes” to rise nationally. That’s an interesting view of the local music scene, to say the least. In late January 2005, we’ll start presenting 16 original music acts from the state that will contend for the top prize in the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. We’ve had soft-rock, death metal, pop, modern rock, country, bluegrass, hip-hop and, last year, some very energetic, youthful rock. Come see these groups for yourself and decide if the scene is stagnant. Granted, Little Rock artists are going to have to go to the record companies on the coasts or in Nashville to sell like Evanescence has, but music talent abounds in the Capital City. For those groups interesting in entering the Musicians Showcase, it’s free, you get paid to perform at Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom, and an entry form is located elsewhere in this issue. Deadline to enter is Jan. 13. KMJX-FM, Magic 105, is a co-sponsor.
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