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Author Topic: And now for something completely different – Lindsey Stirling – March 20, 2013  (Read 13917 times)
Tipperary's best fiddler
Posts: 3024

Albuquerque 2009. Forever on my mind.

« on: March 21, 2013, 07:50:19 AM »

I love titles with a double meaning.  First, of course, is that this is not a Celtic Woman review.  The second, and more subtle, is a reference to that famous line on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, which ties in with my forum name.  OK, on with the show (a Bugs Bunny reference).  Yes, I'm a little punchy; so sue me.  Cheesy

After the obligatory New England Dunkin' Donuts stop, I arrived in Clifton Park, just north of Albany, around 12:30.  I checked into my hotel and got caught up online.  I had received an email about my M&G for Thursday but not for this one, so I was a little unsure about the schedule.  Since the time for both shows was the same I assumed the M&G arrangements would be the same but I wanted to be early just in case.  After doing my usual reconaissance, I had an early dinner at Ravenswood Pub.  I had skipped lunch and was very hungry so I had the 8 oz. char-broiled burger and the carnivore in me was once again very happy.

In my earlier trip to the venue there was nobody there but by 4pm there were a few people walking around.  I waited until about 4:30, when it looked like a line was forming, before I ventured out into the cold.  I took a handful of Fiddler Crossing signs with me, one for Lindsey to autograph for me and the rest for her and the cast and crew.  When I got to the line I asked if it was the VIP line and when I got an affirmative reply I knew I was in the right place.  My signs as well as my jacket served as a conversation starter while waiting.

A little before 5 Whitney, Lindsey's merchanise manager and assistant, came out to deliver our VIP passes.  As she checked our names on her list she handed us that magical piece of plastic.  I suddenly felt very important.  Smiley  The doors would not open until 5:30 which meant another half hour of standing in the cold.  Finally, the time came.  The venue is a bar and everyone's ID needed checked.  It was the first time in my life that I'd ever been “carded.”  I asked the person checking ID's if he thought I looked like I was under 21 and someone back in the line joked that my ID was probably fake.  I got my ticket scanned next and at last I was inside where it was warm.

The first stop was the merch table, which served two purposes.  The first is that the table is mobbed during the show so it allows easy access and the second is that it gives you the ability to purchase a poster, CD or other item to be autographed if you didn't bring something of your own.  Among the items available are t-shirts (of course), sweatshirts, CDs, posters and keychains.  I picked up a keychain, since I needed a new one, and as I did so someone came by and took them all off the table.  I asked why and he said that a free keychain is part of the VIP package.  I gave the keychain back and bought a t-shirt with the tour dates on the back as a souvenir.

After getting your swag, the next stop is the M&G line.  Each person gets a brief chat with Lindsey, a photo (or several), and one autograph.  Even though there were around 50 or so VIPs, the process was handled efficiently without anyone being overly rushed.  When my turn came I exchanged pleasantries with Lindsey and then presented her with a Fiddler Crossing sign.  She absolutely loved it and when I told her that I had a bunch of them for her she told her assistant at the autograph table that they would put them all over the bus.  After getting a few pictures she autographed my sign and it was the next person's turn.  Being my first time, I wouldn't have had that much to say anyway so the amount of time was more than enough and I was very happy with the way it was handled.

One of the advantages of the VIP package is that, since the show is general admission, you get your choice of location because the doors haven't opened to the public yet.  I said “location” rather than “seat” because most of Lindsey's shows are in standup-only venues.  I staked my claim in the front row just right of center, separated from the stage only by a railing.  To prevent claim-jumpers, though, one must protect their location.  That meant more standing.  Ugh.

After the M&G line was finished, Gavi (keyboardist), Drew (drummer), and Lindsey came on stage.  Lindsey did about 10 minutes of Q&A and fielded several interesting questions.  Then they performed one song from her album that was not on tonight's set list; it was a VIP exclusive.

Speaking of the stage, it was a lot smaller than I expected, only about 25 feet square and about 2 feet high.  The two back corners were occupied by Gavi's keyboard and Drew's drums, leaving a “T” shaped area for Lindsey to move.  There were 12 spotlights on stage, moving ones very much like CW uses, and 8 LED lights, also movable.  At the very back was an LED screen that was used to show various images and videos during the performance.  On the floor across the front of the stage was a row of 24 big woofers.  They also served an extension of the stage and Lindsey could, and did, stand on them.  The normal speakers were suspended overhead about even with the front row.  The speaker configuration made the sound in the front row very bad.  The woofers were driven hard, so hard that the air was moving my pants leg, but the treble was missing because it was all going behind me.  The mix was thus very bass heavy which, combined with the unecessarily loud volume, did not showcase Lindsey's playing as much as I would have liked.  It was still enjoyable, just not what I expected.  I suspect it sounded better in the back of the house, but I was not relinquishing my spot to find out.

My ticket had a time of 7pm on it so I assumed that's when the show would start.  Wrong.  Apparently for general admission that's the time the doors open because as of 6:59 it was still just the VIPs in the building.  That meant more standing, fortunately I had a railing to lean on.  Finally at 8pm the warmup act came on stage.  Their name was VIbrant Sound, a band that Lindsey used to be part of, and they now tour with her.  It consists of two guys, one plays trumpet, the other guitar and they both sing.  They perfomed mostly their own material and it was definitely not my cup of tea.  Every song consisted of booming bass with a little bit of live playing and one guy singing rap-like lyrics.  They all sounded the same because there really wasn't any melody.  I was very happy when they announced their last song and by 8:40 their equipment had been cleared off the stage.  Lindsey time!  Wait, not yet.  There was another long delay, for unknown reasons, and it wasn't until 9 that I finally got to see what I came to see.  By that time I had been standing for 4 1/2 hours.  These old legs would soon be on their last legs.  Smiley

Just before 9 I saw three people dressed in white run past the outside doors; I recognized the fast one as Lindsey.  They were apparently dashing from the dressing room to a secret entrance because they appeared from the opposite side of the stage to thunderous applause and loud screaming.  At long last it really was Lindsey time!  I'm not very good at recognizing instrumentals by title so I'm not sure what all of the songs were but she launched right into her first number.  She did introduce some of her songs and I could identify a few by what was being shown on the LED screen.  The sound was a little better than it was during the VIP performance earlier but still less than ideal.

Lindsey is definitely fun to watch, but the lighting makes that difficult sometimes.  She doesn't play in a bright spotlight like Máiréad does, she's in and out of the lights, which move a lot, and she spends a lot of time either in the shadows or silhouetted against the LED screen.  My position allowed for some great photo opportunities, and I got some excellent shots, but it's hit or miss as the lighting changes constantly.  Her moves are much more choreographed and less spontaneous than Máiréad.  During Shadows, like in the video, she dances with her shadow in perfect synchronization without looking at the screen.  Several times she came to the very front of the stage, standing on the woofers, and was less than a foot from me.  She could have wacked me with her bow with ease if she had wanted to.  Smiley  I was a little shocked the first time she did it since it was quite unexpected.

Her first costime consisted of black leggings and a white coat with a long tail, a coat tail not an animal one.  Wink  She wore a feather “thing” (that's the only term I can think of) in her hair throughout the entire show.  After about 5 or 6 songs a short video was played on the screen while she changed costumes.  This time she wore a short wispy white dress and she was barefoot.  It was reminiscent of Máiréad in Granuaille's Dance on the New Journey DVD.  During this portion of the set she played one of my favorites, Song of the Caged Bird.  I prefer the slower songs to the frantic ones and this one was beautiful to watch.  Her moves during this song were more ballet-like and very appropriate to the music.  It was also the best one to listen to since there was no percussion; that kept the woofers quiet and I could hear her violin much more clearly.  To me it was the best song of the night.

After another group of songs, Lindsey left the stage for her last costume change.  At this point 3 previously selected audience members were brought up for a dance contest.  Dance moves were shown on the screen and the contestants had to dance along while Lindsey played.  The winner was chosen by audence vote and the winner got a free CD.  For her third costume she went back to the black leggings but with a darker jacket.  After a few songs she pulled the hood over her head for the rest of the show.  Unfortunately my camera battery ran out during the dance contest so I don't have any decent pictures of this costume.  I won't make that mistake tomorrow night.

The last song of the set was Transcendence which which was preceded by a very nice introduction.  Part way through this song the bubble machine kicked on and the first several rows got an impromptu bubble bath.  This is the song where she does her famous back bend, but with a dead battery....  Sad  After thunderous applause, and the crowd chanting, “Lindsey, Lindsey, Lindsey,” she returned for a two song encore.  I don't know the title of the first one but she finished with her biggest hit Crystallize.  The screen at the rear showed scenes from the video and real snow started coming down from the ceiling.  It was very cool and a great way to end the show.

Her portion of the show lasted about 90 mintes, so when it was over I had been standing for over 6 hours, something these old bones are not used to.  My ice-cold car seat never felt so good!  Was it worth it?  Absolutely!  Would I do it again?  I will indeed, tomorrow night in Burlington, Vermont.  Would I become a Lindsey groupie?  No.  I do like her music and videos very much, but the live show is not really my cup of tea.  It's too loud, much louder than seems necessary.  Plus I'm not a big fan of standing for long periods of time and the whole “mosh pit” experience doesn't do anything for me.

Am I glad I went?  Unquestionably yes.  Lindsey is a very talented musician and a consummate performer.  She works very hard on stage, by the end of the show she was drenched in sweat.  I am most assuredly not her target audience.  Of course, I knew that going in and it was pretty much what I expected.  I was the oldest person there by a large margin, although I did see a few middle-aged people.  Very few.  It was an experience unlike any I've had before, an experience I would never have even considered a few years ago.  Broadening one's horizons is a good thing.

Lindsey at the Meet & Greet.

The presentation.

The proud new owner.

The stage.  The monitor speakers and extra microhones are for the opening act.

The “venue” and the crowd.




Total Mairead Fanatic!
Posts: 1141

« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2013, 09:07:22 AM »

I've been following her music for several months now, and you're right, Mike. She is highly talented. But the "Dubstep" thing doesn't blow my kilt up either. She seems to be the younger generation's answer to Mairead. But then that's not entirely true either because CW is considered multi-generational. In any case, I found out only yesterday that my daughter is a big Lindsey fan. I was riding with her in her car. Of course, her I-pod was jacked into her car stereo playing genres that make me thankful I have the ability to "tune out" when I need to, when I heard Crystallize come across it. I'd love to get her to a show, but it seems Lindsey isn't hitting our neck of the woods. Oh well, maybe someday. Great review though!

We sing before we learn to talk. We dance before we learn to walk. Music is ingrained into our very souls from birth.
Administrator Emeritus
Posts: 13027

« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 10:57:52 AM »

I had read Scott's review of this show from Texas and yours seems to follow suit in some ways. Clearly her target audience is MUCH younger and you better have some stamina for all that standing. I would not be a fan of a rap opener at all. I'm not wild on bars either. I see she will be in Colorado and one of the venues is a proper sit down one. Sadly I'm out of discretionary funds to go this time. I very much like her music so for me it would be proper venue or nothing and I'll settle for a CD because I do like her music. Some great photos there and sweet that more fiddler crossing signs have made their way to another artist. I can see be the second set photo that she has very strong legs. With a full 90 minutes that might be something that would even wear Mairead out! Have fun tonight and point her toward the two reviews here of her performances so far. Have a great show tonight but bring a folding chair!

An fidléir's mínealaíne i sprite iomlán sin
Capn Davey
I'm a Quater Irish and John McGlynn says thats enough
Tipperary's best fiddler
Posts: 2370

Your Dreams Do Come True!

« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 01:33:36 PM »

Great Review Mike,

Sometimes opening acts are great and other times you can't wait for them to finish. The whole SRO thing isn't to  fun when we get older that's for sure.I tried to get tickets for one of her shows after Alexa started talking about her on facebook but her show here was sold out Sad any way you had a good time that's all that matters

Guardian of the fiddle realm
Posts: 756

« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2013, 07:36:19 PM »

Thanks for the review Mike.  It sounds very much like my own thoughts from my Lindsey show.  I was not happy with the opening act, I was very happy with Lindsey, and I had no use for the mosh pit environment.  Even your evaluation of what kind of a Lindsey fan you consider yourself, sounds very much like my own.  This shouldn't be surprising; you and I think alike on a number of subjects, not just CW.

Where we differ is with regards to the percussion and bass.  Those did not bother me in Lindsey's concert, partly because Roy and I were further back so we got what you might call a "fuller" sound, and partly because I do like some bass-heavy music, including some dance music, if it's done as music and not as noise.  But, that's just me.  Your own mileage may vary.  Enjoy your show tonight and see you next month Mike! Smiley

(It also occurs to me that I never did post my Lindsey review here; I posted it only on Facebook.  In a few days, after both of Mike's reviews have had a fair shake, I shall post mine here as well even though it would be nearly a month out of date by then.)

« Last Edit: March 21, 2013, 07:39:25 PM by Scott » Logged

Fiddlin Pixie
Posts: 61

« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2013, 11:46:00 AM »

Great review Mike,as usual.Thanks for the outstanding pics!
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