YouTube act Lindsey Stirling has taken her dazzling violin performance art on the road in a tour that manages to be even more entertaining that her YouTube videos.
At first glance, as a classical violinist, Lindsey Stirling sounds likes she’d belong in a formal symphony hall. And while her violin technique is on par with the best concertmasters, her style is more akin to what you’d get at a Katy Perry show (of course, with better intonation). Stirling mixes her classic violin skills with modern beats and pop samplings, while weaving her sound into a theatrical performance interpreted through ballet.
For her Austin stop, Lindsey Stirling performed to a pack house on the outdoor stage at Stubbs. A band, two dancers and a video screen backed her up, but all eyes were on her. Stirling played a set of original songs, along with a few covers. A little John Legend tune got the audience singing along with her violin playing, but my favorite cover was a Legend of Zelda medley from early in her career. She donned a more elfish attire for that number and danced around the stage as if she was in the video game. She was truly hypnotizing to watch, especially when her dances brought out long, flowy sheets to envelop her in. One of my favorite songs involved a pirate story line where she discovered a gold violin “treasure” at the end of story and her dancers bounced around as if they were pirates.
Lindsey mostly focused on packing as many songs as she could into her set and without a singer, she could have gotten away without ever talking to the audience. However, I’m glad she took opportunities to banter with the crowd and even offer up some vulnerability. Playing a July show outdoors in Austin meant it was sticky and hot, but Lindsey took the heat in stride, joking that her sweat was just tears of joy. Other times, she appeared to really conjur up tears when she emotionally thanked the audience and played a personal song from a darker, self-doubting time in her life. It’s hard to imagine the beautiful, talented and charismatic Stirling could have ever suffered through low self esteem, but her openess about her problems and overcoming them was truly inspirational and a good reminder to all her fans that she’s as human as the rest of us.
The crowd eagerly lapped up each of Stirling’s songs, which is really spectacular considering just how different her sound is from a typical show. It’s really awe-inspiring to see Stirling bring a new style and genre of music to people who might not typically listen to instrumental music and I look forward to continuing this tradition for many years to come.