This article was first published on Youth Central, September 2013.
27 August 2013, The Corner Hotel, Melbourne.
“Prepare yourself. You are about to enter the Lindsey Stirling experience.”
That was the recorded intro that played over The Corner Hotel’s speakers at a quarter past nine. The crowd let out a huge roar as Stirling’s keyboardist and drummer strolled out, and an even louder one as the YouTuber herself jumped out from literally nowhere and into the stage’s colourful spotlights.
Hailing from the States, Stirling’s blend of non-lyrical, instrumental music can be described as a mixture of dubstep, electronic, hip hop and classical genres. She has a knack for playing a mean violin while dancing like no one’s watching.
Kicking off her second Melbourne show with the upbeat “Anti-Gravity”, the pint-sized YouTuber drew her bow confidently across the strings of her carbon-fiber violin with theatrical smoke billowing around her. She darted left to right and right to left of the stage with fancy footwork executed so swiftly that it looked like she was flying through a band of clouds.
A string of equally fast-tempo tracks from her self-titled debut album including “Stars Align”, “Electric Daisy” and “Shadows” followed. The crowd, mostly in their mid-twenties, were delighted and applauded thunderously when the last notes of each song rang out.
Some might say Stirling’s shows are nothing more than a gimmick, but watching her put so much enthusiasm into performing makes you want to cheer her on. The crowd did just that as she moonwalked while cranking out a short but impressive medley of Michael Jackson songs.
At this point Stirling stepped up to the microphone and said a few heartfelt words about how we all have gifts – in her case playing violin – to share and make the world a brighter place.
Half an hour into the show, the violinist busted out a “Zelda” medley and the “Skyrim” theme, sending video game fanatics in the crowd into a tizzy. A pop-song medley featuring “Just Dance” and “Zizi’s Journey” off her album came next, sparking a dance frenzy in the crowd.
Barely pausing for a split second, Stirling then played the clear favourite of the night, the strong, bass-driven, ghoulish-sounding “Moon Trance”. The staccatos throughout the song made it sound like something off a horror movie soundtrack. The crowd jumped so furiously to this tune that I felt the ground shake beneath my feet.
Again Stirling paused the show, this time profusely thanking the crowd for watching her YouTube videos. She then launched into “Transcendence”, the song culminating in her signature “back-bend” dance move. She executed it with sheer perfection, bending her knees forwards and lowering her back until it was parallel, oh-so-close to the ground while continuing to play her violin, egged on by the crowd clapping to the beat in perfect unison.
The six-minute-long “Phantom of the Opera” medley, with its up and mid-tempo moments, ended the set. Stirling blew the crowd a kiss and she and her band departed the stage. The crowd wanted more, though, and chanted “one more song!” for a solid few minutes.
They obliged, reappearing for an encore in which Stirling wove together a beautifully haunting melody of Evanescence’s “My Immortal” from the strings of her violin. The crowd lapped it up, waving their phones in the air and swaying along. “Crystallise” was the final song of the night, Stirling impressively pirouetting a handful of times during this number.
The show was incredibly energetic from start to finish. No new material was played, but the generous encore made up for it. As Stirling waved the Aussie flag behind her before taking one last bow, from where I was standing at the front of the stage, I saw sweat glistening on her face and neck.
Here’s hoping this dancing violinist returns to Australia’s shores soon for another magnificent performance.
5 out of 5.