There’s always been a sort of dark, epic drama in the songs of Evanescence. Think of their first big hit, 2003’s “Bring Me To Life,” for example. Led by singer/keyboardist Amy Lee’s near-operatic vocal and an explosive, unforgettable chorus, the song was unlike anything else on modern rock radio at the time. And the follow-up single, “My Immortal,” was just as powerful, a surging ballad based around Lee’s voice and piano that sounded massive despite its stripped-down arrangement.
That sound has helped Evanescence sell more than 10 million albums in the U.S., and it’s won them two Grammy awards. It’s also a sound that lends itself to further exploration, and the band’s 2017 album “Synthesis” did just that, taking songs from their first three albums and setting them to a striking combination of orchestral arrangements and electronic effects. Rather than overloading these tracks, which were largely guitar-heavy hard-rockers the first time around, the new settings bring out the intense emotion in Lee’s delivery and shed new light on the band’s skillful songwriting.
The album was so well-received by fans that Evanescence has spent much of the past two years playing shows accompanied by local orchestras, and they’ll be bringing the “Synthesis” show to the Heritage Park Amphitheatre in Simpsonville on Tuesday, Aug. 14.
“I’m loving it,” Lee says of the orchestral performances. “I feel completely in my element now. I was nervous at first, but I’m very secure in it now and I feel the ability to explore that space.”
That initial nervousness sprung from the fact that Evanescence typically has time to try out only four songs with the orchestra before going onstage, meaning that everyone’s playing the vast majority of the set together for the first time in front of thousands of people.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Lee says, “because I always like to rehearse and be prepared and have the entire show down. But this doesn’t work that way. It’s something I would’ve been scared to commit to five or six years ago, but I’m so glad.”
The show also carries over the electronic percussion elements from the “Synthesis” album, which Lee says makes this different from the typical “rock band plays with orchestra” kind of show.
“We pulled the big drums and big rock element back and changed it completely,” she says. “It’s really based on the orchestra and electronic programming in the places there used to be a rock-band sound, so I don’t even know what other shows I would compare this to.”
For this tour, Evanescence will be accompanied by violinist Lindsey Stirling, who will open the show and share some stage time with Lee. Stirling, whose music blends classical influences with electronic dance music styles like dubstep, appears on “Hi-Lo,” a track from “Synthesis,” and Lee’s admiration for her is obvious.
“She’s this incredible violinist who can shred in the classical style, but she’s in the contemporary world,” Lee says. “It’s just amazing that we’re able to do this together; I think it’s going to be beautiful.”
Stirling is equally thrilled to be on this tour, largely because she’s been a fan of Evanescence for 17 of her 31 years.
“I had a poster of them up on my wall when I was in high school,” Stirling says. “Amy’s been an inspiration to me for years. Even when I started writing my own music, I kind of took a page from their book, because there was such a great use of contrast; this edgy rock sound combined with classical undertones, with this beautiful soaring voice over it. I’d never heard anything like it before. So when I started making my own music, they were a huge inspiration to me.”
Evanescence, w/ Lindsey Stirling
Where: Heritage Park Amphitheatre, 861 SE Main St., Simpsonville
When: Tuesday, Aug. 14, 7 p.m.
Info: 864-296-6601, heritageparkamphitheatre.com