By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
It is not even Thanksgiving yet, and already, people are getting ready for the Holiday seasons. It is around this time where decorations start to get hung, turkeys are being cooked, and more importantly to me, music is being played. Usually, I would be putting on my Christmas albums from Twisted Sister and Tarja. Last year, violinist sensation Lindsey Stirling put out one of the best Christmas albums I have ever heard in 2017, Warmer in the Winter. Her spin on Christmas songs with classical, electronic, pop, and dub-step has made her America’s Sweetheart in a Winter Wonderland. Christmas has come early to the Toyota Center in Ontario, Calif., as Stirling embarked on another Warmer in the Winter Christmas tour. Since Rabit and I missed it a couple of years ago when she came to Los Angeles, we decided Ontario was the next best place to hear her spread Christmas magic.
Just before the show began, 4 dancers dressed as soldiers entertained the crowd with their comedy and dancing. During the segment, they pulled a couple onto the stage and gave them an electric violin. While the male was being whimsical, the female guest took the violin and played a beautiful melody, revealing herself to being Lindsey Stirling in disguise. Changing into her first costume, she wowed the fans with the first number, “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Not only did she bring down the house with her incredible violin playing capabilities, but she danced gracefully with her 4 dancers. With her drummer and pianist/keyboardist backing her up, winter had come with such a snowy passion. Each new song she performed was filled with Christmas joy from “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” to “Christmas C’mon” (featuring Becky G), “Warmer in the Winter” and “I Saw Three Ships.” The crowd loved every second of Stirling.
There was one point during the show where she showed us a video of her disguised as a Target employee secretly giving away her deluxe version of Warmer in the Winter, and we were all laughing our asses off. Stirling looked like a female version of Garth Algar from Wayne’s World. After “I Saw Three Ships,” she brought her drummer and pianist to the front where they played a mini set with tiny toy instruments, continuing to show her sense of humor. Surprisingly, they performed flawless on those small instruments. Not only did she bring humor to the show, but she would also get serious and deliver us messages of hope, comfort, and Christmas spirit. Stirling is a ray of light in that dark venue.
She then went into Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and her version of “What Child Is This?” Then, she went on to play the title track off her new album from this year, Artemis. She told us to close our eyes and envision the music in our minds. I did so, feeling free and joyful. Stirling would continue the night an array of Christmas classics like “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Carol of the Bells,” “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and the ever popular, “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.” After a quick breather, she returned to the stage to throw one last Yule tide log on the fire with “I Wonder As I Wander,” where she sang marvelously. I never took her to be a singer, but she did it with elegance and poise.
Full Lindsey Stirling gallery below:
Between the violin-playing, dancing, and occasional singing, Stirling was the total package that brought renewed Christmas spirit in So Cal. She had warmth and splendor that would make the Grinch’s heart grow tenfold. She may not have won America’s Got Talent, but she has won America’s heart and soul with her astonishing music. In the audience as well was my mom, Momma Rock, who is always filled with Christmas spirit. It may be warm out here right now, but it did feel like Christmas in Ontario. To Lindsey Stirling, I salute you. Hark the Herald Angel sings