Lindsey Stirling’s Christmas Show exudes comfort, joy and a little something special
Lindsey Stirling’s annual Christmas tour, lined with ribbons and rhinestones, could be considered a glittering spectacle. However, such a devaluation would ignore the violin virtuoso’s masterful blend of avant-garde and authentic.
After appearing on “America’s Got Talent” in 2010, Stirling gained attention for her vivid violin and dance skills. She has since released five studio albums and amassed 13.1 million subscribers on Youtube and 2.9 million followers on TIC Tac. Fresh off her Artemis tour, who shared a name with her 2019 album and concluded in september, Stirling created “The Lindsey Stirling Christmas Program.” The fourth of its kind, this holiday tour featuring music, dance, aerial performances, comedy and more came to the Palace Theater on Wednesday.
“She wanted a ‘wow’ factor,” said Jennifer Stirling, sister and assistant to Lindsey Stirling. “She’s always on the lookout for something a little new.”
Lindsey Stirling has certainly succeeded in adding touches of novelty to nostalgic Christmas compositions. Some instrumentals, such as “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Sleigh Ride”, were played in a more traditional way while incorporating a light, contemporary pop sound. Others, like “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”, were performed in a hardened and courageous manner.
The costumes added to that moxie feeling as Stirling and his dancers donned classic, crisp, white ballet tutus. Subtly sprinkled with sequins, the costume pieces collided with the pounding music to generate an evocative visual. Each set of costumes was equally colorful and expressive.
Four dancers supported Stirling on stage: Addie Byers, Taylor Gagliano, Jessica Richens and Kailyn Rogers. Their movement was both dynamic and cohesive, complementing every track they entered without becoming awkward. Stirling, Gagliano and Rogers used aerial hoops throughout the concert, forming strong lines and delicate shapes depending on the mood. In one case, Stirling even hung from the hoop with only her ankles hanging from the edge, shredding her violin the entire time.
Ryan Riveros on keyboards and Drew Steen on drums also accompanied Stirling, enhancing the show’s overall interactivity. During a humorous segment, the three musicians performed a variety of songs on children’s instruments, demonstrating impressive skill. “Hedwig’s Theme” from “Harry Potter“ Charlie Daniels’ film series and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” were both unexpected delights.
Crew members made calculated appearances, often to inject variety into the set list. In a humorous way, tour director Erich Jackson dressed up as a Christmas tree and reluctantly entertained the audience for brief breaks. Paired with Stirling’s spirited personality, his exaggerated growl was oddly refreshing. Stirling’s dog Luna also had a miniature role to play. Led across the stage by another member of the team, she performed an adorable series of twists and jumps.
The lighting was one of the most outstanding qualities of the tour. The stage was often lit up in red or green hues, but colors outside of the typical Christmas palette weren’t overlooked. While playing “Hallelujah”, Stirling was surrounded by opaque golden light with exquisite traces of orange and purple, evoking the image of a dawning dawn. The use of the figure was smart and impactful, and it often seemed like Stirling faded into the colors themselves before emerging in a new position or costume.
Amid all of these events, Stirling managed to anchor the entire show in a humble reality. She described her late father, confessing that he had inspired her to “tell stories through instrumentation”. She spoke candidly about mental health. She encouraged all the young violinists in the audience to continue learning, even if it becomes difficult. These vulnerable moments embodied the essence of Christmas more than any prop or decor.
There’s no denying that Lindsey Stirling’s annual Christmas tour was a feast for the senses. But beyond that, there was a definite substance in sparkle and shine.
“She loves making people laugh and smile and coming home feeling really good about themselves,” said Jennifer Stirling.