It’s been a very long six years for Australia’s patient Evanescence fans, but they are finally back as part of their Synthesis: Live world tour in support of their latest studio release, Synthesis. This is no standard Evanescence show, mind you. With no mosh pits, Rod Laver Arena is tonight transformed into less of a rock show and more of an intimate evening with Evanescence type setting.

Opening the evening is a half hour set by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, who are on board for this show only – the fact that they learnt the entire set for the first time mere hours before the show really proves just how talented these musicians are. Jumping right in, they begin the show with Mozart’s La Chasse, before powering through a back-to-back set consisting of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, another Mozart classic and favourite of Evanescence singer Amy Lee, Lacrimosa, before closing off the set with Zelda’s Lullaby, an orchestral rendition of Evanescence track Together Again with cellist extraordinaire Dave Eggar taking centre stage to show off his incredible talent for Bach In Black, an incredible fusion of Bach and ACDC.

Following a short intermission, It’s time for Evanescence to finally make their return to Melbourne, more than welcomed with wide open arms. Opening their set sees Lee at the piano for Overture, which then blends seamlessly into Never Go Back. Starting off with a particularly vulnerable sounding a Capella intro before the band and orchestra explode with enough power to make you jump out of your seat, this track really sets the tone for the nights immense level of drama combined together with deep emotion.

Pausing ever so briefly to simply say thank you and hello, It’s clear just how special this project is for Lee. Without wasting any time, she jumps straight back in with Lacrymosa. It’s hard to look away from Lee, spotlighted at the forefront of the stage, really sucking you in with the mind blowing level of emotion few are able to portray through their singing.

Into End Of The Dream with a whole new a Capella intro, not a note out of place, there were sure to be few dry eyes in the venue by this point. My Heart Is Broken brings in back up vocals by guitarist – and now Theremin player – Jen Majura, creating a whole new level of depth to the vocals.

After another quick pause to thank fans for sticking around for their 20-year career, Lee also thanks the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for their efforts before launching straight back in with Lithium, Bring Me To Life, Overture and Imaginary, all portraying different lighting themes ranging from underwater to 70’s disco. “I still get really nervous to talk which is why I don’t speak much,” Lee admits. “I am feeling so many emotions, so I’m just going to do my best to sing them for you.”

Onto tear-jerkers Secret Door and Hi-Lo before transforming the stage into a forest for Lost In Paradise. Your Star sees Lee return to the piano, before explaining that her long-time least favourite song now holds a lot of meaning to her due to the connection she has been fortunate enough to share with her fans over the years – My Immortal.

Back to the piano for a solo piece titled The In-Between before seamlessly handing over piano duties to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra so Lee can take centre stage for their latest single, Imperfection.

Evanescence are known for keeping their fans waiting, but not when it comes to the encore. Leaving the stage for no more than 30 seconds, Lee quickly returns to the stage alone and takes a seat at the piano. After one last thank you, she precedes her solo track Speak To Me with a short but sweet sentiment of “if there’s anything I’ve learnt in this life of crazy ups and crazy downs, It’s that love is the only thing that matters. Just love.”

In keeping with the love theme comes Good Enough, a song written about Lee’s husband of ten years, which only seems to be performed with more emotion every time it’s played live. With the rest of the band (guitarist, Theremin player and back-up vocalist Jen Majura, drummer Will Hunt, bassist Tim McCord and guitarist Troy McLawhorn) returning  to the stage for one final song, Swimming Home, it’s hard to believe the night has come to an end.

It really is difficult to put into words just how incredible the Synthesis: Live shows are. It’s still Evanescence, but on a whole new level of drama and emotion. While the Australian leg is now finished, the band have one more run of these special shows in Europe before looking towards a new traditional Evanescence rock album, which I’m sure will be received with as much excitement and anticipation as this Synthesis project was. Until then though, we have some wonderful memories of watching so many dreams come true at some of Australia’s most iconic venues.

Photos by Vanessa Jarvis