Review and photos by Joshua Maloni
YouTube came to life Thursday, as Lindsey Stirling expertly paired her wildly popular videos with a live stage performance that would make Marvel Studios jealous.
Online content that has been viewed more than 2.3 billion times came rip-roaring into the Artpark Mainstage Theater with lights, images and sounds projecting from a two-story video wall. In front, Stirling did what she does best: perform a world-class violin concert while dancing - sometimes on one leg, and often while running, jumping and kicking.
Stirling's backdrop was impressive, and the light show it projected into the audience was exhilarating. The violinist also had her own backing band and dancers contributing to the live performances.
The musician burst onto the stage to perform "The Arena." Then, just as she did last time at Artpark, she fought off zombies in a graveyard during "Moon Trance." As always, one tombstone was reserved for former "America's Got Talent" judge Piers Morgan, who doubted Stirling's star power. ... Just a few years before she wrote a best-selling book, nabbed national TV gigs and finished second on "Dancing with the Stars."
Nice call, Piers.
With so many "toys" to play with, as Stirling called them in a preshow interview, it's no wonder she looked like a child on Christmas morning. Stirling couldn't stand still, traversing every part of the stage. She was left, she was right, she was on a platform in the middle. Just as this writer wondered if Stirling would, perhaps, jump out of a helicopter, the singer ascended two stories up where she played "Take Flight" from the top of the theater.
The first set also included a performance of Stirling's hit "Shatter Me" and her "Video Game Medley." Stirling gave a shout-out to her gamer fans and recalled how a pair of elf ears and a trip into the forest propelled her into stardom.
A brief but humorous break took place after Stirling's rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." A roadie was "forced" to hold a sign explaining the musical break while Stirling's backing band performed "Feeling Good."
The rollercoaster of a show took another loop as Stirling returned to perform her hits "Roundtable Rival" and "Crystallize."
A story about overcoming self-doubt and anorexia was followed by a newer Stirling song, "First Light." In the YouTube video for this song, the singer demonstrates her "Dancing with the Stars" training.
Stirling announced she would return to Western New York - to Buffalo - on Dec. 15 for a charity concert benefitting the Ronald McDonald House.
As the 90-minute set was drawing to a close, Stirling performed a somewhat-psychedelic "Carol of the Bells," and then she and her troop performed a rousing rendition of "Don't Let This Feeling Fade."
A roughly 15-minute encore saw Stirling mash together "Beyond the Veil" and the theme song from "The Phantom of the Opera."
The Mainstage Theater, meanwhile, was shooting out lights, flashing images, reverberating Stirling's violin and her band's EDM, and just seemed like a whole different venue. It was certainly a show unlike any other at Artpark.
Stirling put on a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining concert. This one-woman army has envisioned - and now brought to life - a spectacle one might expect from the likes of KISS or U2. If her winter show is anything like this, it would behoove music fans to snatch up a ticket or two ASAP.