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Concert Reviews:
Lindsey Stirling, Evanescence, with strings attached, rock DTE

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- One of the best things about an early-tour show, Lindsey Stirling told the crowd Monday night, June 9, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, is "all the rhinestones are still on our costumes."

And rest assured the violinist, a YouTube sensation with successful runs on "America's Got Talent" and "Dancing With the Stars," bedazzled during her time on stage -- although the same could not be said of tourmate Evanescence.

The summer trek pairs the two acts (along with opener Cellogram) with a 30-piece mostly locally contracted orchestras. It certainly works on paper, as Stirling's lively combustions and Evanescence's angsty goth rock both lend themselves to that kind of enhanced musical backing. The reality, however, went two different ways during the tour's third show, which drew more than 12,000 on a sunny and hot summer night -- the biggest show so far, according to Stirling.

While Evanescence's 2017 album "Synthesis" showed that the group can indeed work well in an orchestral setting -- and, in fact, provided a road map for Monday's 70-minute set -- it did not play out quite as well on stage at DTE. For starts, putting the group on in broad daylight is a massive detriment; Its bombastic arrangements and dynamics, built around group founder Amy Lee's emotive singing, are best served by dramatic lighting and visual effects, none of which were possible on Monday. Add to that a murky sound mix that buried the band, Lee's vocals and, quite often, the orchestra, with only Will Hunt's electronic drum samples clearly audible, and the set turned into a desultory 14-song plod.

There were a few moments where Evanescence rose above, including poignant performances of "My Heart Is Broken" and "Unraveling," a rendition of the Beatles' "Across The Universe" that benefitted from its quiet arrangement and the lively "Hi-Lo," which featured a song-ending violin solo from Stirling. But those were exceptions to a show that felt far less than it should have been.

Stirling's set, meanwhile, was the polar opposite. Though the mix remained dodgy, her violin rode a clear upper register above the drone throughout her 70 minutes as Stirling danced, skipped and high-kicked her way around the stage with such choreographed ferocity that it was hard to believe she was really executing all those lightning riffs on her instruments. Accompanied by four dancers, a bit of scenery -- gravestones for "Moon Trance," a mirrored disco ball later in the set -- and costume changes (five for Stirling, more for the dancers), it was a high-octane performance that befitted her closing status on the bill.

Lee returned the favor, joining Stirling for "Shatter Me," while ZZ Ward ("Hold My Heart") and Weezer's Rivers Cuomo and Lecrae ("Don't Let This Feeling Fade") made guest "appearances" via tape. Stirling paused for a couple of self-help lecturettes during the show, but she finished with a breathless romp through "Mirage," "Don't Let This Feeling Fade" and "Behind The Veil," wrapping up with an instrumental medley from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom Of The Opera" -- some music of the night that sent the DTE crowd home on a quite literal high note.

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