After the rain comes the rainbow—tonight the rainbow was Lindsey Stirling’s sublime performance at Wolf Trap following this afternoon’s thunder and hailstorms. With her own effervescent style, she won the sold-out audience completely over as she danced and played her violin, fluidly giving a performance all her own unique style.
Stirling is a violinist and dancer, famous for her choreographed violin performances. After competing in America’s Got Talent in 2010, she became a YouTube sensation, with her videos garnering more than 6 million subscribers and more than a billion views. She has performed in sold-out venues throughout the country and internationally, and continues to sell out wherever she goes. Tonight’s concert, with a sold-out house and overflowing lawn, was no exception. The crowd was ready to be amazed, and Stirling delivered.
After opener Olivia Somerlyn warmed up the crowd with her ear-catching pop tunes (including her single “Parachute,” written with Nick Jonas), throaty voice, and some crowd choreography, Stirling entered and owned the stage. From her very first song, Stirling’s fluid, melodic violin playing coupled with her energetic, athletic, beautiful choreography made it clear that this was no typical violin performance!
Stirling’s joy in her music is clear, and infectious. Her effervescence and energy help her connect with the crowd, drawing numerous yelled professions of love from the audience! The intense feeling and emotion behind her music, clear from her playing alone, although she talked a bit about the meanings her music has and how she draws a lot of her inspiration from her life and experiences, also contribute to the success of the concert. Stirling perhaps hits the message of needing to believe in yourself and your own power to effect good in the world a bit hard, but if she does hit it on the nose a bit, it’s because she believes it is needed, and as she pours forth her belief for love, for hope, for gratitude, for courage, in song (such as her hit “Transcendence, the audience comes to believe it to.
Yet Stirling never forgets that she is there to entertain, and if her concert is nothing else, it is supremely entertaining. With songs telling the story of searching for buried treasure on the high seas (“Master of Tides”) or of a fight with zombies in the “Stirling Cemetery” titled “Moon Dance” (with one tombstone bearing the name of Piers Morgan, the judge from “America’s Got Talent” who told her she wasn’t good enough to play the violin and dance at the same time—the audience laughed loudly at that little joke), the crowd was always entertained and wowed as Stirling told stories through her music and her dance. Likewise, the lighting and projections that accompanied the songs and helped convey their meaning and stories were also very well done—projections that made it seem like Stirling was dancing in a water bubble or “Shadows” in which she danced and played with and against her shadow—always helped to enhance the music and Stirling, never overshadow or overwhelm her.
Stirling’s backup dancers Malece Miller, Amy Yakima, Addie Byers, and Ashley Gonzales were also excellent, with their dancing and acrobatics surrounding and uplifting Stirling, such as in the moving final piece “Shatter Me” where they were twirling ballerinas who once “set free” by Stirling, joined her in enthusiastic dancing and even some tumbling, all enhancing the releasing effect of the piece. Likewise, Stirling’s band—Jason Gaviati and Drew Steen—were fantastic, especially in the acoustic piece “Swag” when it was just the three of them playing and the music was allowed to stand for itself.
However one of the highlights of the night was “Roundtable Rival” in which Stirling on violin and Gaviati on keytar faced off in music and dance, with the audience (via text votes!) deciding the winner. Cell phone screens lit up all over Wolf Trap as each audience member was voting for their pick and cheering in time with the music (for the curious, Stirling won, but by a slim margin!)
After tonight, Stirling moves on to the next stop on her world tour, but leaves an indelible impression in her wake. Between her zest for life, as well as her passion for her music and dancing, I never knew a violin concert could be so much fun. If only every summer thunderstorm could have as pleasant an ending!
Running time: 2 hours, with no intermission.
Lindsey Stirling’s Music Box Tour played for one night only at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap-1645 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future performances and Information: Call (877) 965-3872, or check their calendar of events.