Evanescence-Halestorm Concert Review AZ Federal Theater 11-15-21


Evanescence and Halestorm brought the female powerhouse concert of the year to the Arizona Federal Theatre on November 15, 2021 with special guest Plush who are an exciting new all female rock group.

Kicking off the night was Plush, an impressive new four piece all female band with a core sound that is straight ahead hard rock. Plush are lead singer/guitarist-Moriah Formica, drummer Brooke Colucci, lead guitarist Bella Perron and bassist Ashley Suppa who are all competent musicians presenting songs that are well crafted and definitely kick ass live.

The band introduced the audience to the material off their self titled debut LP that includes “I Hate”, a song that’s been getting rotation on the SiriusXM station, “Octane Show” during their “Test Drive” Indie spotlight program. Although Plush is a new band, you may already be familiar the band’s singer from her numerous Facebook posts performing covers of some of Rock’s greatest vocal legends, including Bon Jovi, Dokken and her brilliant cover of the DIO masterpiece, “Last In Line”. Their set also included a cover of the Heart classic “Barracuda” which is one hell of a song to tackle. Vocally and musically “Barracuda”, is a challenging song to play with it’s monster vocals and cleverly placed odd time signatures; “Barracuda” is a bit trickier to play than it sounds. Plush is definitely a band to keep your eyes and hears tuned in to as you’ll be hearing a lot more from these guys, I guarantee it!

Check out their official video release of I Hate:

Check Plush here!

Halestorm, are Hard Rock Masters with such a dynamic force that when they hit the stage their explosive power shook the entire venue and immediately had the entire AZ Federal Theater on it’s feet!

The band played material from all four of their current studio LP’s including the song Back From The Dead, a song that was released in 2021 and will appear on an LP of the same name that is scheduled for release in 2022. The ten song set was faced paced, with five songs from their 2012 LP, The Strange Of, that included one ballad titled Break In that featured a duet with Evanescence singer Amy Lee.

Halestorm opened their set with the blistering rocker, Back From The Dead with singer Lzzy Hale hitting the stage dressed in a commanding leather coat and cap outfit. Utilizing the sense of dominance that comes from wearing leather further emphasized the song’s lyrics that are an all out declaration to Hale’s success in overcoming her several year battle with depression. The song can also serve as a mantra to anyone who has overcome any kind of internal fight; be it depression, the pandemic or whatever.

Next up was the song MZ Hyde that started with a massive burst of impressive strobe lighting that punctuated the song throughout. MZ Hyde was an onslaught of impressive lighting with the entire stage going dark at one point to leave singer Hale bathed in a cascade of light from either side of the stage. These stunning lights left Hale in a spectacular V-shaped pattern; that quickly transformed into a single spot on drummer Arejay, an impressive light show indeed!

For the song Break In, Hale sat at her grand piano to deliver the song that was originally recorded as a duet with Evanescence singer Amy Lee. Lee walked on to the stage to join Hale who was already showered in an incredible display of lighted cell phones throughout the entire venue. The impassioned performance had everyone in the audience swaying back and forth as a collective entity throughout the song until the song’s climactic end, where Lee joined Hale on the piano bench to finish the song in an emotional embrace of gratitude.

Guitarist Joe Hottinger put on a ferocious guitar solo during the song Amen that had singer Hale at one point, on the ground at Hottinger’s feet with her guitar in hand. The two guitarists engaged in a fiery guitar riff exchange that lead up to a killer and explosive drum solo by Arejay.

As always, Arejay put on an incredible show of lightning fast fills and over the top showmanship that includes his use of “THE BIG STICKS!” near the end of his drum solo. Arejay grabs a hold of a pair of baseball bat size drum sticks that he uses to assault his drum kit which also includes some stick twirling with his left hand which is no easy spin. Even if you’re not a real fan of drum solos or the display of a drummer’s technical abilities, Arejays solo will reach your senses on a sensual level. That is to say, the sight and sound of his performance will grab you and leave with the feeling that you just experienced something that just feels so damn cool; you may want to become a drummer or go home and practice on the drums like never before.

For the conclusion of their set they ripped three fan favorites, Freak Like Me, Uncomfortable and an extended version of I Miss The Misery, where guitarist Hottinger shredded his guitar and the audience with two separate ferocious solos. Hottinger’s first solo was a burning assault that kept climbing in intensity until what sounded like the song’s end but was actually a break for Hale to engage with the audience in a singing call and answer, which let led up to guitar solo #2. The song finished with Hottinger shredding his guitar relentlessly until the song descended into a rubato musical ending that had a bluesy vibe to it. Hale then thanked the Phoenix audience for their continued support with the band making one final rock crescendo flurry end; truly the embodiment of a rock and roll performance!

The Halestorm setlist was:

Evanescence made their long awaited triumphant return to a sold out crowd in Phoenix Arizona on November 15, 2021 in support of their latest LP, The Bitter Truth. This highly anticipated return for a band who had not played in Phoenix since late 2018, had the entire audience on their feet from the moment the lights went out. For this tour, Evanescence brought with them their most elaborate light show to date that was beautifully choreographed for each the eighteen songs of the regular set and two encore songs.

The show started with the pre-recorded song’s, Artifact/The Turn under a vail of blue lighting that created an escalading tension that gave way to a numbered countdown that was projected on a huge screen behind drummer Will Hunt. The lighted countdown of 3,2,1 exploded into the beginning of Broken Pieces Shine which was the first official song of the night and one of nine songs presented from the band’s latest LP “The Bitter Truth”.

Next was the fan favorite, Made of Stone from the band’s 2011 self titled L P which was swiftly followed by Take Cover from their latest LP The Bitter Truth. The band then hit the stage with Going Under , a song that was the second single release from their debut LP Fallen, and was instrumental in the band’s rise to success and was also the first song of the night to have the entire venue singing. They continued blasting through their set with, The Game is Over, Lose Control, and The Change, before singer Amy Lee delivered her first monologue of the evening to introduce the song Lithium. For Lithium, Lee imparted that we’ve all had to deal with personal loss in the past few years and that Lithium was a call to embrace your emotions and face your fears without medicating yourself into a state of oblivious numbness. Towards the middle of the show the band presented a very interesting homemade style movie montage with footage that spanned the band’s long history with many behind the scenes footage that gave the audience a glimpse into the world of the inner workings of a touring rock band; very cool indeed. Additional song highlights included “Call Me When You’re Sober” Imaginary and the Linkin Park cover of Heavy which featured a duet with Lzzy Hale. Evanescence finished their regular set with “Bring Me To Life”, a song that was the catalyst for launching the band onto the world stage and to this day remains the band’s signature song. The encore of My Immortal and Blind Belief completed the band’s 90 minute set that was comprised of a total of 20 song; definitely a set that is longer than on previous tours.

Check out Evanescence here:

The Evanescence set list was: