EVANESCENCE AND THE SICK PUPPIES, David O. McKay Center, Utah Valley State College, Friday

Amy Lee is intense.

It's been well publicized that many of the songs written by the Evanescence lead singer deal with personal trials and tribulations in her life.

And when it comes time to deliver those songs live in concert, she sings with such emotion and intensity that it's like someone surrounded the stage with pictures of her ex-boyfriends, bandmates and anyone else who was the inspiration for those songs.

Friday night in Orem, Lee pumped her fist, twirled her body and used her powerful voice to belt out 90 minutes of music covering Evanescence's first three albums.

Wearing a purple tank, black skirt and black boots, Lee seemed to stumble a bit out of the starting blocks, mostly because of a weak vocal mix, but firmly owned the crowd by the fourth song, "Going Under."

"We've never come here and not been completely motivated by you guys," she said. "For some reason, you guys go off every time. Maybe it's something in the water."

Lee's voice was CD quality as her melodic tones combined with the dual crunching guitars of Troy McLawhorn and Terry Balsamo on songs such as "Call Me When You're Sober" (one of the best and most intense songs of the night), "Whisper," "Haunted" and "Imaginary."

The audience of a couple thousand fans had arms shaking in unison for "Bring Me to Life," the band's first breakthrough hit. Although the song is done now with strictly Lee's vocals (the male singing parts of "Wake me up!" "Can't wake up!" have been taken out) it was still one of the highlights of the set.

Lee, who studied classical piano for nine years, also had several chances to show off her playing abilities. A baby grand piano was brought on stage for "Missing" ("By request for a lot of old-school Evanescence fans," she said), "Lithium" and the current single "Good Enough," a song Lee played solo and without any drum or guitar backing. It's also one of the few "life isn't so bad" songs Lee was inspired to write by the man who would later become her husband.

The piano was brought back onstage for crowd favorite "My Immortal."

"Everyone complained we took it out of the set. So you better sing along because I'm not doing it myself," the good-natured Lee chided the crowd before starting the song.

The crowd, a really diverse mix of young and old fans who also seemed to have very different musical tastes outside of their joint liking of Evanescence, responded with a loud sing-along in a glowing sea of cell phones.

The band ended the main set with "Lacrymosa" followed by "Understanding" and "Your Star" for the encore. Overall a satisfying concert from a woman who doesn't shortchange anyone by not giving each song 110 percent.

The rocking, YouTube phenom trio Sick Puppies started off bland and sounded like countless groups destined to go nowhere. But after playing samples of songs by artists such as Muse, the Puppies showed their bark and launched into some decent songs of their own.

By the end, wound-up frontman Shimon Moore had the entire arena pogo-sticking in unison.

Julien-K is the side project of Orgy's Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck. Their synthesizer, techno-heavy set was a cross between Depeche Mode and, well, Orgy. Despite the one man who appeared to get into an argument with lead singer Shuck at the end, most of the fans seemed to really enjoy their set. Although their sound was vastly different from Evanescence, these guys have the potential to make some noise in the music scene.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com