September 5, 2015

Something Awesome III- Lindsey Stirling Live in Portland, OR, 2015

Lindsey Stirling performing at Keller Auditorium on September 4, 2015!

There are those moments that will stick with you forever, and even though you haven't lived forever and you can't look back on them with enough distance yet to really say with certainty that this is true, there's just something about these moments that capture you so much that you just instinctively know that they'll be with you always. It's a feeling that crops up in both sporadic bursts and in such rare instances that to experience the feeling is almost as memorable as the event itself.

I've now seen Lindsey Stirling live in concert twice, and with this second experience I am very tempted to say that this is probably the one that'll stick with me. While my first time seeing her on stage was a dream come true and meeting her was about the best thing that could've happened and something that I will obviously remember and cherish always, this second time had an affect on me that both surprised and moved me. If you read last year's Overview, you'll know that I'd kind of fallen out of sync with what Lindsey was doing creatively. I was not and still am not a fan of where she's ended up with her career. As I stated last year, I feel like she's shelled out her passion and unique identity to make way for advertisement and promotion, something that I believe is directly in opposition and contrast to what Lindsey is about.

Well, after a day of reflecting on yesterday's Portland concert experience, I'm happy to say that this concert pretty much rejuvenated my admiration and love for this former idol of mine. There are a number of reasons for this. First, I hadn't been listening to Lindsey Stirling's music for a good while, so seeing her again with this fresh perspective made me appreciate the music in a kind of renewed way; it reminded me of why I loved it so much. Moreover, the passion and the creativity on display last night was almost palpable and took me back to what I loved about Lindsey in the first place.

Keller Auditorium!
Going from playing in a tiny venue with an open bar in the corner to this... that's amazing!

As I sat there watching the concert unfold, I of course couldn't help but compare it to my first time seeing her. Quality-wise, it's night and day. Lindsey Stirling has improved so much both as an entertainer on stage and most especially as a violinist. She stays in tune and has firm bow contact with the string; her power doesn't wane when in higher positions anymore, and her confidence is so much more evident now. This really impressed me, because it showed that even with all this success and fame, she's not above improving herself and her sound. That's very important to me and really does ring true to who Lindsey is as a person insofar as we can infer from her videos and blogs and whatnot. Her skills as a violinist were on display last night and development and growth was evident in spades.

Indeed, what made this show so amazing to me were actually the quieter slower moments. She performed this beautiful acoustic layered version of her "Song of the Caged Bird" piece and it was just absolutely beautiful to behold. Her emotions during that piece in particular were palpable and moving. Likewise, her rendition of "Transcendence", one of my old favorites, was so moving, thanks in no small part to the speech she gave before it, talking about how we all have the potential in us to be happy and affect each other positively so long as we remember to love ourselves. Cheesy perhaps, but as Lindsey herself has battled anorexia and depression, one can't help but feel these words coming from her are genuine.

Lindsey Stirling performs "Shadows"

Lindsey Stirling performs "Elements"

Being that this was kind of a catch-all tour, she included several hits from both albums, and all of the stuff she decided to take from her second album Shatter Me was performed very well here. In fact, so good were the live performances of these tracks that I'm now convinced that Shatter Me was meant to be performed live. In concert, gone were the heavy synthetic overtones and techno beats, instead showcasing Lindsey's own violin playing that I felt didn't get to shine as much on her second album. The fun energy that Lindsey is known for was on full throttle here. And maybe it was just being able to be in the room with her performing these or being able to see her that put me in a mind to accept these pieces as good, but no matter the reason, Lindsey Stirling's live performance of selected tracks from Shatter Me made that album come to life in ways that the perfected studio release couldn't hope to capture. It really was an amazing experience hearing those pieces live.

One of her biggest fan demographics is the gaming community, and to honor them and excite the rest of us, she decided to eschew playing just one of her video game medleys and instead created a whole video game video-and-music medley culled from her covers of the Zelda, Dragon Age, Assassin's Creed, Skyrim, and Halo game music! It was a truly epic experience!

When the music didn't capture my attention, the visuals certainly did. Lindsey's YouTube centrism was nicely conveyed on the stage this time around. Instead of a tiny screen in the background of the stage as was the case in 2012, now Lindsey had a full holographic and projector display covering the entire stage! It was a great setup, allowing her to interact with multiple shadow puppets of herself when she performed "Shadows", and gave her some awesome space and oceanic themes when playing "Stars Align" and "Elements" and "Crystallize" respectively.

The fit and finish of this concert was damn good, but that's not to say that it was flawless. The stage lights and strobe effects were dialed up to eleven, and while I don't have epilepsy, even I was closing my eyes just to avoid being temporarily blinded. This actually had a negative effect in terms of seeing Lindsey up on stage too, as the lights were pointed directly at the audience some of the time meaning that Lindsey was obscured up there. Luckily, the music was engaging and captivating enough to keep this from becoming too big of a problem.

Bottom line, this concert was great. I had a great time before the show with my friend who went with me too. We actually ended up eating at this super swank restaurant on accident... I don't know why we decided to stay there, but we did and oh my god the food was amazing. But the concert itself was more than just a fun night. It reinvigorated my appreciation for Lindsey Stirling as an artist and gave me a new appreciation for her music! The level of improvement that Lindsey showed as a violinist was astonishing, and the quality of the venue, effects, and overall enthusiasm was a big win. This experience was one that I won't soon forget!

Got me a poster! It is the only decoration in my dorm room.