Lindsey Stirling has been on tour with Evanescence this summer and is currently doing a short run of solo headlining shows. On August 4th, at Jacobs Pavilion in Cleveland, Ohio, she took the stage along with opening act The Federal Empire.
I first discovered Lindsey Stirling back in 2014 when I came across her music video covering songs from the video game series Dragon Age. She instantly captivated me with her violin playing. I'm usually one to focus on lyrics, so for something instrumental to evoke such an emotional response really surprised me. Ever since that video, I've been hooked on her original music. I've wanted to see her live for quite a while now and I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to photographer her!
The Federal Empire started out the night, hyping up the crowd with their energetic music I can only describe as a perfect mix of Americana, pop, and alternative rock. The trio from California, consisting of Chad Wolf, McKay Stevens, and Marcus Bently, put on a great show. Despite the crowd still slowly making their way into the venue, The Federal Empire gave it their all and the audience was very impressed. I enjoyed their set immensely and so did everyone around me! I highly recommend checking them out!
Lindsey Stirling was next, and you could feel everyone's excitement as soon as the venue went dark. Her set began with a compilation of videos, including music videos and clips from her time on America's Got Talent, on the five screens that spread across the stage. As the videos ended and the venue went dark once again, Lindsey appeared, and the crowd went wild.
She began strong with her song "The Arena". Everything about this show absolutely blew me away from the beginning. The lighting and other visual effects were beautiful. Her four dancers, who joined her on stage mid-way through the first song and many times throughout the night, were very talented and really added to the theatrical aspect of the show. The choreography was breathtaking. Lindsey looked so natural dancing around the stage while playing her violin.
This was more than just a performance, it was an experience. The show included everything from elaborate costume changes, to a rising platform, and even a magic trick. The screens lining the stage played a wide variety of stunning visuals combined with clips from her various music videos that really helped bring the show to life and tell a story.
Lindsey's performance of every song was incredible. She kept the energy going throughout the whole show. A few songs in, she performed a medley of songs from video games such as Dragon Age, Assassin's Creed, The Legend of Zelda, and Skyrim. She dedicated it to all her gamer friends in the audience who "put her on the map" and made releasing those covers a defining moment in her life.
After the medley, she slowed it down with an acoustic song. Prefaced with, "I've decided if I think something was a magical moment, rather than question it, accept it, believe it," she began an emotional cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" that immediately won over the crowd.
Next, she played many of her most beloved originals. The one that stuck out most in my mind would have to be "Roundtable Rival." My favorite part of this song was when she "dueled" back and forth with her guitarist, Kit Nolan. This song brought so much energy and the crowd couldn't help but dance along to the music.
Another memorable moment of the show was a speech she gave before her song "First Light." She talked a bit about her past struggles with depression, anorexia, and how she still gets nervous before going on stage, and how filling herself with good really helped to overcome those things. The quote that really impacted me was "You can't take darkness out of a dark room, but you can fill it with light."
The show was soon coming to a close. As she ended her song "Don't Let This Feeling Fade," the crowd erupted into applause and did not stop until she came back on for the encore. The final songs were "Beyond the Veil" and a beautiful medley of songs from "Phantom of the Opera" that left the crowd amazed. This show is not something you want to miss. Lindsey Stirling is on tour until mid-September, so if you have the chance to go see her, do it!
Words and photos by Kayla Kreller.