Carnival of Madness Tour 2012

Prairie Capital Convention Center, Springfield, IL

Words/Photos by Concertchk

The Carnival of Madness Tour rolled into Springfield Illinois last night (07/31/12) and what a show is was. It was five bands, new songs and a ton of nerves all adding up for a truly memorable evening. The trek featured Evanescence, Chevelle, Halestorm, New Medicine and Cavo. As you probably know by reading my past confessions, I have seen all of these bands with the exception of Cavo numerous times. Yet since this was only 90 minutes away from home I figured why not check them out again?  As usual I got there early but thankfully the wait was not too bad with doors set to open at 5:30.  There are two sets of doors to the Prairie Capital Convention Center, and I was first in line at one of the doors which gave me time to make friends as I waited for two of my friends to show up. The venue was recently remodeled and was the perfect place for a show like this. Plenty of seats for shoes who want them and a big open floor for those who love to get down and dirty in the pit.   Once doors did open I ran past things like the official Chevelle gray Chevelle automobile in order to get to the rail (and yes I made it right in front of the stage) I was ready for the Carnival of Madness to begin.

New Medicine went on first, and as usual they put on a great performance. They seemed rushed probably as a result of the RV issues they tweeted about earlier in the day. They didn’t play all of the songs one would want to hear, but the songs they did play  included “War”, “Little Sister”, “Laid”, “Race you to the Bottom”, and “Rich Kids.” Granted I feel that their set could have been a bit longer, they did a good job for the amount of time they had and I look forward to seeing them again down the road.

Cavo was next and I didn’t know what to expect as I am not very familiar with their music. Personally I feel that they should have played first, but perhaps since New Medicine had transportation issues the lineup was altered?  Cavo is a small band from St. Louis Missouri, and they are very popular down there in the clubs.  From where I was, I was unable to make out a word the lead singer was singing. I did recognize their one semi-hit “Champagne” but I wasn’t very impressed.  If it would have been in a different setting perhaps I would have enjoyed it more, but on this particular night it simply wasn’t happening.

Halestorm was up next and of course Lzzy and crew kicked a hole in the roof. Lzzy Hale worked the vocal pipes for a good performance as she led the group through songs from their latest album “Strange Case of Halestorm.” Highlights included “Love Bites, So Do I”, “Freak Like Me”, “Rock Show” “I Miss the Misery”, “American Boys”, and “Here’s to Us.” One of the highlights came from the group’s first album as they played an incredible version of “Familiar Taste of Poison”. Perhaps most impressive is that Lzzy does all this decked out in four inch heels. As always, Halestorm came and destroyed.

Up next was Chevelle. One of my favorites, I was delighted as the boys made their set feel like a carnival. The stage featured a back drop that looked like the old time red and gold circus colors, with their name on it.  Then above that was a screen of a bunch of dare I say creepy carnie types looking in. They also they managed to put a huge bull statue on stage which was rather awesome. Compared to how they normally stand on stage, they switched the places of Pete and Dean, and also put Sam to the side. This was a GREAT set up, as they were the only band out of all five that made you feel like you were actually at the Carnival. As always, Chevelle rocked musically and you could tell they were nervous for some reason unknown to me. Pete’s foot was shaking trying to hit the guitar pedals and there was just a weird almost indescribable feeling in the air.  As a huge fan, the performance was epic as always. The three piece performed songs off of their current album “Hats Off To The Bull” such as “Face To The Floor”, “The Meddler” and of course the title track. They also made sure to bust out the big guns from yesteryear including “The Red,” “Sleep Apnea” and “Jars.” Always a great time with these guys and I can’t wait to be front row for them again in the not so distant future.

Evanescence performed last, being the co-headliner on this tour. I would have thought Amy Lee and crew could have at least did some sort of Carnival theme but apparently not., The outfit she wore was close to the same thing as what she wore when I saw the band a few months ago. I wanted circus garb but instead we got the same outfit with different colored tights. As far as performance goes Evanescence did well, Amy’s voice sounded really good echoing through the Prairie Capital Convention Center, and the band behind her sounded solid. With a lack of stage banter, the group mainly stuck to songs from their latest self-titled release.  Songs such as “What You Want,” “My Heart Is Broken,” “The Other Side.” and “The Change” made it into the set. Have no fear, there were classic Evanescence hits including “Call Me When You’re Sober,” “My Immortal,” Bring Me To Life” and “Going Under.” The band even performed a new song which I believe is called “Disappear.” In a rare moment of talking to the ground, Amy Lee informed us that we would be a guinea pig which was fine with the crowd. Even with an assistant bringing throat spray and water to Lee (I can understand the need to keep the vocals well  taken care of with all this dry August heat) the group sounded much better than the last time I saw them and were a perfect way to close out the evening.

Overall the Carnival of Madness opening night wasn’t bad. While I feel there could have been more done to make it feel like a Carnival there is always room for improvement. At least Chevelle came through on that theme.  Perhaps there will be more theatrics later down the road when I catch this tour in both Milwaukee and Bridgeview Illinois.

Concert goer, Network Engineer, Midwest dweller.
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