While live stream concerts are now a sign of the times, more and more artists have decided to take on the challenge of creating this virtual experience. Extremely talented violinist, dancer and performer Lindsey Stirling took on this virtual challenge. She presented a show that was just the kind of holiday spectacular that people need right now. Fans gathered from across the country to watch such a fantastical experience. This show was a little different, it was more of a few performances that were filmed and then edited, but that did not make it any less entertaining to watch. As Lindsey said, “if you can’t bring the people to the show, you have to bring the show to the people.”
The show opened on a set and Lindsey had eloquent costumes and set designs as well as dancers all around her as she glided through the opening of her performance. It was well rehearsed and almost made people feel like they were running through Macy’s on 34th Street in New York City. She ran through the set (which was decorated like several different rooms) and danced alongside a very talented team of dancers while playing “All I Want For Christmas” from the 2018 album Warmer In The Winter. It was clear that from this opening number alone, that this show was going to be something special.
The show felt kind of like a very personal documentary, made specifically for fans to enjoy with hints of Christmas. Someone had posted in the chat, “now THIS feels like Christmas!” as she kicked off the performance. There was footage of setting up the extravagant sets, the beautiful lights, the dancers leaping into place and of course, masks and people spreading out to keep things COVID-19 friendly!
After some fun and friendly banter b-roll footage of Lindsey talking with her team, she performed “Christmas C’mon” (Warmer In The Winter, 2018). Stirling and her dancers were joined by a young and talented performer, Lauren Frawley. Normally, the song features Becky G, but Frawley stepped in (as a fan explained in the chat). The costumes were incredibly detailed and eye catching, they complimented the fun and excitement happening perfectly. The energy was unmatched.
A fun surprise that Stirling set up was for her and her dancers to go around caroling and performing for fans. It was another way to really bring the performance to the people. The effort she made to bring joy to people was awe inspiring. The care and thoughtfulness of performing for others, by quite literally just knocking on their doors, just to bring a smile to their faces, was something that made this show feel even more personal and special. The fans loved this surprise, some were even moved to tears.
As the performance went on, there was footage of many different things but a stand out moment was when Stirling was opening up about very personal experiences with her father. She explained to the audience how she’s always believed in angels. Her father faced some incredible struggles, and when he had passed away, she prayed for some kind of connection to him again. Just on the brink of giving up after praying relentlessly, she met a man, seemingly who had come from nowhere, who had known her father. They shared experiences and stories and wonderful things about her father—this was the sign she was looking for and the angel she had believed in. Fans in the chat were commenting about how they were moved to tears by her story. This was the transition into the song “Angels We Have Heard On High” (Warmer In The Winter, 2018). She was back in the studio and the lights were different colors of blue with clouds hanging all around. It felt like a dream, and it followed the very vulnerable and emotional story she had just shared perfectly. Fans agreed that it felt “magical.” Fans began to open up with one another about their personal struggles and their own individual battles. It was an experience like no other to be physically so far from people, but feel so connected to them all at once.
As if that wasn’t a very beautiful experience, what followed was just as amazing. Stirling had footage of rehearsals of herself learning how to perform by hair hanging. Hair hang is an aerial circus-esque type of movement and dance where individuals are suspended only by their hair. Once again, she shared vulnerable stories of how difficult and anxiety inducing this experience was for her. There were several times where she cried, and talked about wanting to give up. But through the power of her own words and telling herself she could get through it, she did. She opened up to the fans that sometimes performing isn’t always an easy thing and connected it to the audience with “for those of you watching, I’m sure you’re going through your own kind of pain… but joy can be found and gratitude can be discovered by our losses.” This was a very resonating message. Following this footage and story, she performed her 2012 song “Crystalize” from her self titled album Lindsey Stirling, being completely suspended by her hair. It was amazing, it was graceful and it looked so effortless. Her countless hours of rehearsing mixed with the commitment and the pain, had paid off for such a beautiful and distinct performance.
A standout comment from the chat read, “Lindsey, this is why you’re such a role model to us. You push through even when things are tough, you show us it’s ok to be vulnerable and you treat yourself and others with compassion. Thank you for sharing your passion, talent, heart, and art with all of us.” Not only did this comment sum up this one singular bit of footage and performance, but it also was the undertone of the show. Showing others and reminding them to choose joy, was such an amazing underlying theme throughout the whole show.
The rest of the show took on an elegant mix of beautiful set designs, exuberantly talented dancers and gorgeous costumes. People could tell that many long rehearsal hours were spent on this performance to truly create the masterpiece that was live streamed to the fans. The set design for “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” (Warmer In The Winter, 2018) took on a very Chicago tone. There were colors of red, black and gold and warm lighting that bounced off of the dancers.
Closing the show, Stirling performed “I Wonder As I Wander” (Warmer In The Winter, 2018). This was a very powerful and artistic performance. She began singing with simple, yet strong vocals. She danced eloquently throughout the room and played her violin, all while being blindfolded. The choreography was very modern and contemporary. There was black and dark dust that the dancers kicked up and used to create even more creative patterns and marks on their costumes. Halfway through the song, the dancers ripped Stirling’s blindfold away and started kicking up white dust. It was executed with ease and charm. It was so captivating from start to finish.
This stream was very different from most virtual concert experiences. It was vulnerable, it was personal and it felt like a movie created specifically for fans to enjoy. Whether viewers celebrate Christmas or not, there was something for everyone to enjoy with this display of compassion and kindness that was brought to the screen. Lindsey Stirling brought a kind and energizing performance to her fans and gave them hope. Hope goes a long way these days, and it was clear the fans’ spirits were lifted.
Photo Credit: Sharon Alagna