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Meeting Amy Lee and Evanescence

On September 1, 2007 I was lucky enough to meet Amy Lee Hartzler and the rest of Evanescence. It almost didn’t happen but thanks to the incredible effort on behalf of the band management, both on the road and back in the office, I was able to go backstage and spend some time talking with the band.

Amy Lee Evanescence

(click the picture for a larger image)

I spent the two weeks leading up to the concert contacting Wind Up records and eventually band management, asking for a chance to meet Amy Lee since I was attending the Family Values concert. The folks at Wind Up were exceptionally friendly and eager to help but actually getting back stage is handled by band management, not the label. Well, with some digging, I was able to get a message to Andy, the band manager. A few days later I hadn’t heard anything so I figured he was super busy and was probably used to requests from everybody and his brother to meet the band (even though we *are* the #1 Amy Lee fansite on the internet).

Fast forward to Saturday around 3:00pm. The concert was starting soon but it was a 45 minute drive away and to be honest, I wasn’t too interested in hearing some of the opening acts. I knew it would be a long day in the sun so I figured I’d get there around 5:00 to get a good spot on the lawn and well in advance of Evanescence performing. My cell phone rings and I hear “Hi Dave, this is Andy, the manager of Evanescence”. Well, to say he was super cool is the understatement of the century. He had contacted the road manager, Andrew, and set it all up. The catch - I had a little over an hour to get to the venue to get backstage. I called my friends who I was supposed to drive with, explained the situation to them and they said “Why are you talking to us, get your butt in the car and get to the concert!”. So, after breaking just about every speeding law in the state, I pulled into VIP parking and raced in. The challenge was about to begin.

Whenever I attend a show at Shoreline Amphitheater, I always get lawn seats. They’re the cheap seats but for an all day concert, it’s great to be able to throw down a beach blanket, lay out, soak up some sun and really get into the concert. Plus, the mosh pit and other die hard fans hang on the lawn so it's the place to be. The problem – in order to get to the door where Andrew was supposed to meet me, I had to get into the premium seats section. No problem, I thought, I’ll just explain the situation to the security guard and he’ll let me in. Call that naivety in the extreme. “But I’m supposed to get back stage” is something I think security guards at concerts here almost as often as “Where’s the beer, dude?”. So after 20 minutes of pleading, cajoling, and offering to name my first born after him, no luck.

Well, band management to the rescue (again!). Andrew came on up, showed his “This pass gets me everywhere I need to go” pass and brought me and my two friends (who were now there) backstage. Ten of us were lined up in front of the tour bus and given simple instructions about when to take pictures, etc. About 15 minutes later, Amy Lee and the rest of the band walk up and start walking down the line signing autographs. I chatted with her for a couple of minutes, telling her about the site and how I was setting up a feature where users could direct a portion of online sales to her epilepsy charity, OutOfTheDarkness.com (click here to help out for free) and she was genuinely touched that we were doing that and that she really appreciated the support. She proceeded down the line and then everybody lined up for pictures. Once that was over, Amy Lee and the other members of Evanescence stood around and chatted with us for a few minutes and took off to get ready. Andrew led us back to the concert and we headed back up to the lawn.

So what did I take away from it? Well, I have to say that Amy Lee is one of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met. She has a down to earth attitude and demeanor that makes you feel like you’ve been best friends forever and she’s just thrilled to see you. The rest of the band has picked up on this and also made us, complete strangers, feel completely at ease. A lot of celebrities can’t be bothered to talk to the "little people" and I have to say, Evanescence was the complete opposite. I expected them to be cool and they exceeded that expectation a thousand fold. Band management, both Andy back in the office and Andrew on the road were also the ultimate example of a band and management that takes care of their fans. Before I met Amy Lee, I loved the music because, well, it’s awesome! Now I can add that they’re genuinely cool people to the list of reasons to follow them.

One final note: anybody who meets Amy Lee may think, based on her down to earth attitude and gentle demeanor that she might not rock out – they couldn’t be more wrong. She came out on stage and rocked as hard as anybody I’ve ever seen. She was headbanging her hair around to "Bring Me to Life" only to cruise over to the piano a few seconds later to pound out the melody to "Lithium".

Bottom line, the girl is cool and dang she can rock!