Chihuahua ballet. Tiny instruments. Dancing violin players.
Not things you would expect at a typical concert, even in the wild world of 2018.
But that’s Lindsey Stirling for you. Last night my family went out to see the electric violinist/dancer’s last stop for the Wanderland 2018 tour (supporting Warmer in the Winter, which I reviewed last month) at the Performing Arts Center in North Charleston.
All I can say after seeing a show like that is:
“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals” – William Shakespeare
You get my drift.
From the expert dance choreography and the moving stories to the humor and the breadth of musical styles, Stirling brought together a show that was at once the best of Christmas and the best of her unique contribution to music.
It made me want to work harder: everyone on that stage was giving it their best, from the dancers to no-hit wonder “Errrriccc Jaaccckssson!” to band members Kit Nolan and Drew Steen. And Lindsey played and entertained her heart out (including an encore performance), despite being sick enough to make me actually concerned for her continued wellbeing. These are hardworking folks – don’t let all the light and glitz (though there was plenty to go around, and it was great) – fool you.
This show reflects what I hope to be the best of the present and the best of the future of music. Lindsey is one of the first artists from YouTube to really hit it big, and she is carrying forward the torch of innovation well.
The songs blended old (carols like We Three Kings and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen) with delightful originals like Christmas C’Mon and Lindsey’s electronic modern style in songs like Crystallize (as an exception to the rule of playing album-only songs, this early Stirling song got the crowd going).
Stirling tied it all together with constant entertainment that had positivity, kindness, visual glamour, skill, a sense of humor and heartbreaking beauty. Rarely do you see an artist share deeply personal anecdotes, deploying amazing ballroom dance skills, playing a mean violin, joking ably with bandmates, and rocking amazing visuals and costumes – all at the same time. There was something old and new about this – like a throwback to the innocence of the 50s or a throw-forward to an age where we can be and do whatever the hell we want to be. Stirling is both.
God bless you, Lindsey Stirling. You did good, kid. Go get some soup now and get better.