November 15th, 2011

vintage me: camhoor

Evanescence at the Hammersmith Apollo, 4/11/2011

Despite being of an age at which I prefer to stand near the back of the concert hall than the front, and at which I remember to bring earplugs so I don’t have tinnitus for three days afterward, I managed to rock out at the Evanescence show. Mostly because Amy Lee’s voice is just that epic.

They started off with songs from their new album. I hadn’t heard it before the show and judging from the response of my fellow back-row denizens, neither had they. See: Don’t care about having new music right away like I used to. See also: Old. The front-row crowd, on the other hand, already knew every word. By the time they played an older Evanescence song (Going Under), we were all bursting to sing along. Without the sound cranked up to maximum volume, there was a real danger that the whole show could have descended into bad karaoke.

Amy Lee didn’t say much during the show. The band kept plowing forward with song after song, although there were two charming audience interactions. The first was when she said, “Thank you for still believing in rock. Rock believes in you.” The second was when she said she was going to play a song she hadn’t rehearsed in months because it was her husband’s birthday. The first notes of Good Enough were almost overwhelmed by cheering. On the other hand, it was the only one of her glorious, haunting piano numbers (Lithium, My Immortal) that didn’t get drowned out by the band when the overpumped sound system kicked in. Despite being slightly unhappy with this, I still managed to get the shivers during Bring Me To Life.

Feeling quite satisfied and with a new glow-in-the dark tee tucked into my handbag, I hopped onto the Tube at the same time as a girl and her parents, who were probably in their late forties. She was about twelve, and they had just bought her tour swag. They had her model her new t-shirt and hoodie for them. She was asleep contentedly on her father’s shoulder by the time we arrived at Kings Cross. For some reason, witnessing that felt like fitting closure to the night.

Except it wasn’t.

I managed to board the last fast train to Cambridge at Kings Cross. It was packed, as it always is on a Friday night. A woman sat down next to me, and we exchanged smiles as we settled into comfortable positions. I overheard her book a taxi from Royston and then she went to sleep while I became absorbed in my Kindle.

Forty minutes later, I was startled out of Gulliver's Travels by the sound of a whistle. I peered out at the station platform. We were at Royston. I looked at the woman next to me. She was asleep, and I mean really passed out - mouth open, leaning off the seat. I shook her arm gently. “Excuse me,” I said. She didn’t react. “Excuse me!” I insisted more loudly. Still nothing. I shook her arm hard. Finally, she opened her eyes. “We’re at Royston,” I said. “Get off the train, quick! We’re about to leave.”

She stared at me, bemused. “We can’t be at Royston,” she muttered. “We are,” I replied. “Hurry!” She gathered her handbag and stumbled onto the platform. As we pulled away, I watched her standing there, blinking.

The girl across from me smiled. “Well done,” she said. “Too bad she didn’t thank you.”

I smiled back and shrugged. I must say, though, that if I’d woken up late at night on a train because a panda-eyed goth was shaking me and shouting in my face, thanking her wouldn’t be the first reaction I’d have. “I’m never falling asleep on a train again” would be more like it.