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Stirling at Rio Theatre (Vancouver BC) November 17, 2012
A Vivoscene Concert Review by Brian Miller
Lindsey Stirling, the dubstep violinist/dancer extraordinaire delighted hundreds of fans in a sold-out concert appearance at the Rio Theatre, Vancouver, British Columbia last night (November 17, 2012). She took pride in announcing she was an independent unsigned artist, though with her widespread popularity and unique performance it’s hard to believe that a major record company hasn’t snapped her up. She combines her classical violin training with some very current house beats, and somehow manages the formidably inspiring feat of playing very precisely and very energetically while moon-walking, bowing, stepping, gliding, dancing and twisting herself into positions that only ballerinas and yoga practitioners can achieve. And, as if that weren’t quite enough, the non-stop contact and connection she makes with the audience would render most other musicians green with envy.
Quite the phenomenon the twenty-six year old Lindsey is. In fact, even if you are of the many millions who have seen her on YouTube, we’ll go so far as to say you haven’t really seen Lindsey Stirling at all until you’ve seen her in person. Yes, the vids are dazzling, and yes, her new CD is well worth repeated listening, but this young lady is a very special performer, displaying a joy and vitality onstage that had every one of the several hundred members of the audience waving arms, dancing, and shouting appreciation. And speaking of the audience, they were mostly in their late twenties or early thirties, equally male and female, and hardly the demographic for a crossover classical artist. You would think. Until you see Lindsey perform, that is, She conquers all doubters in a matter of moments.
A few years back Nigel Kennedy tried this sort of thing, and was moderately successful, notably with his recordings of music by Jimi Hendrix and The Doors though he now seems to have settled himself in the jazz world. Then there is Emilie Autumn, who in more recent years has done some admirable, but definitely downbeat, shredding on the violin. The abrasiveness of Kennedy and the problematic personal life of E.A. (as Emilie is known) have and will keep both of them out of the mainstream, despite their considerable talents. Lindsey, on the other hand, possesses an almost universal appeal that will bring her fans of all ages, and of all musical stripes.
In her Vancouver concert she combined classical, street beats and hoe-down into performances of songs taken from such disparate sources as game themes (Skyrim and Zelda) and Rihanna’s “We Found Love”, as well as Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad”. She also performed several of her own compositions, notably her most successful piece “Crystallize”, as well as her first important breakthrough “Transcendence”. Videos accompany many of her pieces, and they are spectacularly effective: the haunting ice caverns in Colorado’s Silverthorne Ice Castles were featured in “Crystallize”. “We Found Love”, shot in Kenya during Lindsey’s recent trip there, was uplifting and surprising, notably for Lindsey’s own vocals; she turns out to be a very accomplished singer! Also worthy of note was her rendition of a Lord Of The Rings medley. Lindsey introduced that particular piece by saying “I’ve always been a nerd and I’m proud of it. My favourite book is the one my father read to me when I was a kid.” The crowd went wild when she started the Rings number.
The concert closed with the audience pleading for an encore. Lindsey returned with her band (on synth/keys and drums) in costume and with the three of them masked, they performed a powerful seven-minute excerpt from Phantom Of The Opera.
Opening acts The Vibrant Sound and the electro-folk group von Grey (four very young sisters aged 17, 16, 14 and 12 out of Atlanta) were competent and complemented Lindsey well. All in all, a great evening and a sterling performance (pun intended) from the vivacious and adorable Lindsey.