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Review: Lindsey Stirling with The Vibrant Sound @ Bluebird Theater
Last night, while New Order rocked the 1stBank center, a new order of a different kind came to The Bluebird theater. Lindsey Stirling stomped into town with her non-traditional violin for a sold out show of around 650 fans of all ages and genders.
At 8:20 the opening act came
on, a quirky and kinetic performance by The Vibrant Sound, performing
as a one-man vocal and acoustic guitar show with a MacBook on backing.
The set was short and enthusiastic, and if not fully understood by the
crowd, at least they seemed to be enjoying it.
After a short break, Lindsey
came on with a bang, opening up with the energetic instrumental "Moon
Trance", dancing about the stage while playing the uptempo strains
and gesturing with her bow for punctuation.
followed, giving another chance for her keyboard player and drummer
to show their chops, but the attention was always on the whirling and
fiddling Lindsey. Sporting torn fishnet stockings, a single argyle sock
and sparkly tennis shoes, her feet were always on the move, dancing
left and right, bowing and stepping.
The band ripped through "Shadows"
and "Electric Daisy Violin" in short order, before Lindsey
gave the drummer and keyboardist a breather and took center stage solo.
A self-professed nerd, her dabblings in game themes (Zelda and Skyrim)
have made her popular with the gaming crowd. With a cappella performer
Peter Hollens joining in by video screen, she executed their Skyrim
duet on the darkened stage.
Welcoming the rest of her
band back, she cooled off with the mellow "River Flows in You (Yiruma)"
before introducing Lindsey’s take on Rihanna’s “We
Found Love” set to a video of her dancing and performing for and
with locals in "Kenya". This is one of the few songs where
Stirling contributes her own vocals, and she can definitely hold her
own. Courtesy of a few tweaks to the lyrics, the attitude of the song
is 180 degrees from the original, and is uplifting and hopeful.
The next number, the Lord
of the Rings Medley is a mash-up of different melodies from Howard Shore’s
fantastic themes from the popular movies. Stirling is obviously a fan
of epic fantasy, having also covered the theme from HBO’s Game
of Thrones (also with Peter Hollens), but she didn’t break out
that song at The Bluebird.
Taking a turn in a whole
different direction, she went "Bad", pulling on a sequined
glove and sunglasses to highlight Michael Jackson in a whirlwind tour
of the late artist’s musical career (or at least the parts Stirling
learned to dance to as a kid). The crowd welcomed this trip to a familiar
beat, clapping along.
The autobiographical and
very new "Zi Zi’s Journey" (Zi Zi was a childhood nickname)
followed, transitioning to the immensely popular YouTube hit "Crystallize"
(featuring the music video shot here in Colorado at the Silverthorne
Ice Castles). "Crystallize" was one of my introductions to
dubstep, and it led me to expand my musical frontiers as a result, beyond
it just being a powerful and energetic song of its own.
The final song of the main
set was "Transcendence", a song with overtones (and video)
about overcoming stereotypes projected by the world around in order
to realize your own potential. A fitting riff to close with on the first
concert tour of a self-made musician exploring her own genres.
I had intentionally not read
or viewed anyone’s accounts or videos of the show in order for
it to be fresh to my ears. It was therefore a genuine and welcome surprise
when the band returned for the single-song encore wearing masks, and
launched into a powerful rendition of The Phantom of the Opera. This
song fit right in below the leering masks of the Bluebird’s own
theatre decor. This was an intense note to go out on, and for the performers
it must have been seven grueling minutes of going to eleven.
The merch table was offering
the usual posters and stickers, and had a new offering -- Lindsey Stirling,
a 12-track album released in September comprised of all-original compositions,
seven of which were performed in the show. Other notable Stirling tracks
(including covers and Christmas songs) are available from a smattering
of sources including iTunes and her own website. iTunes also has the
digital copy of the album for $12.