One could be forgiven for being sceptical about a dancing violinist, but my jaw dropped during Lindsey Stirling’s opening number, and the electric violinist, composer and performer hardly slowed during her entire 90-minute show, in a packed Vicar Street last Wednesday night. The audience was a wide sample from society. Ages ranging from nine to a 79-year-old, (I asked!).
Stirling, in a blue neon body suit with pink and green stars sewn upon it, commanded the stage, twirling and playing from one corner to the other. The lights that accompanied her made it seem as if a music video was happening before our eyes.
People in the audience shook their heads in time as she mixed hip-hop, pop and classical music, executing technically challenging material. Not once did she seem to tire. A human energizer bunny on the stage!
Most of the crowd’s favourites were songs that Stirling explained before playing. She talked about her song for the Disney movie “Pete’s Dragon” called “Something Wild”. “Back when I first tried to be a musician, every door that I knocked on was slammed in my face,” she told the audience. “I had this voice calling me that wouldn’t let me give up. And I think everybody has that voice.”
(In 2010, Stirling did not make it past the quarterfinals on “America’s Got Talent,” Piers Morgan saying that her playing “sounded like a bag of cats”. The audience responded with loud Boos to this)
Her style is atonal, using lots of surprising, nonharmonic chords. And her choreography underscores that quirkiness. Each performance was different, most with a frenzy of movement, but occasionally slowing down, for more sombre performance.
Stirling’s song that received the loudest cheers from the crowd was “Roundtable Rival.” She and guitarist Kit Nolan duelled in a battle with fast fingers and high energy.
She wanted to connect with the audience, and admitted that she would lay herself bare in front of us. She did not hold back once. “I was a depressed, ugly girl with anorexia,” she said amidst shouts of support from the audience. “But I redefined myself … No matter who you are today – whatever you think you are – you can become the kind of person you want to be.”