Anywhere but Home is a live chronicle of where Evanescence have been since the spring 2003 release and subsequent sextuple-platinum reign of their debut album, Fallen. Recorded at a tour stop in Paris, the set includes all their hits, as well as a previously unreleased studio track ("Missing"). While it's a fine holdover until the recording of a proper studio follow-up, Home also reasserts Amy Lee's position at Evanescence's center. Throughout the band's rise, there was the drama -- co-founder Ben Moody's contentious departure, the are-they-or-aren't-they Christian rock debates -- but there was always the singular force of Lee, whose powerful vocals, strident public persona, and striking fashion sense broke down the doors of the alternative metal boys club. Appropriately, Lee is the star of Anywhere but Home. Her voice has an impressively raw quality live, and her banter with the fawning Parisian crowd is always engaging. The mix also favors her (as well as the prominent use of keys/synthesizers), which unfortunately lessens the effect of John LeCompt and Terry Balsamo's guitars and Rocky Gray's impressive drumming. Still, "Going Under" surges nicely into its anthemic chorus, and when the guitars do show up (like on "Everybody's Fool"), Lee matches their power easily. She takes a softer approach for the arch piano ballad "My Immortal," which becomes a singalong moment for 5,000 souls, and that song leads nicely into an extended vocal intro for the breakthrough hit (and Home standout) "Bring Me to Life." (Evanescence's cover of Korn's "Thoughtless" will be another fan highlight.) The album closes, as does Fallen, with the swirling, vaguely Eastern-tinged metal melodies of "Whisper," and Lee's throaty vocal endures even as the synths and processed choir effects threaten to engulf her.
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus