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CONCERT REVIEW - LINDSEY STIRLING WITH DJ MAKO @ PACIFIC AMPITHEATRE, COSTA MESA, CA (07/21.22)

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Orange County, CA has been celebrating its existence with a county fair for 132 years. When I heard this fact, it literally blew my mind, as I could not even fathom that this county, I have lived in for the last 15+ years, has been around this long. With a county fair that has been around for this long, they have had many different things to offer on display each year. One thing that I have always enjoyed at the fair is the Alaskan Pig Racing. But second to that, is that our fairgrounds have a massive Amphitheatre that brings in some amazing artists to perform every year. One of these artists, who has made multiple appearances at our fair, is the hip hop violinist Lindsey Stirling. This was my second time seeing her at the fair specifically, and this had to be the most magical performance of hers that I’ve been fortunate enough to see. Opening for her was vocalist and DJ Mako, who they recently put out a song together. It was time to head down to the county fair to experience some magic.

Lindsey Stirling shows are always very interesting, because you never really know what type of opening Act she could have. There are no other artists who call themselves “Hip Hop Violinist.” So this opens the door for a lot of different options of opening acts that could be brought out. This night, we got vocalist and DJ Mako. Mako was there to get the party started, playing a slew of remixes covers and some original tracks that kept the mood of the arena very light and playful. As people were funneling into the venue, Mako would call people out to start dancing and join in with the fun. They even had a camera shooting out into the audience so people could see themselves on screen and motivate them to get up and dance. Mako even came out from behind his DJ tables a couple times to sing live vocals on the track, and he does have a fantastic singing voice that I would enjoy hearing more of. It was amazing to see how many people were standing up in their seats dancing to the tunes and showing love to- the DJ.

Finally, it was time to be brought into the magical world that Lindsey Stirling likes to create. Lindsey truly is a performer more than anything else. Throughout the hour and fifteen-minute set she is hitting choreography in time with four backing dancers, dancing and flowing across the stage from side to side, going through multiple costume changes, smiling at individual people in the crowd, bending and posing in acrobatic positions, giving inspiring and uplifting talks to the audience, and all the while playing chart topping complex melodies and tunes on her violin. It is just awe inspiring to see how much effort this woman puts into a show, just to give her fans a memorable experience. And it’s a memorable experience that gets people coming back time after time, as this was my fourth time seeing her myself.

Even with just a bare stage, only backed by Drew Steen on drums and Ryan Rivero on keys & guitar, Lindsey finds a way to use every inch of the stage. Lindsey is backed by four of superbly talented dancers who help elevate the music being played, as well as tell stories throughout each song they are a part of. One song is “Master of Tides” in which the dancers help Lindsey tell the story of a sea captain sailing through the ocean, and then dealing with a mutiny. Lindsey also got to talk about how special is was to perform her new song “Lose You Now” with Mako himself who is the featured vocalist on the track. Lindsey loves working with artists who have inspired her, having performed “Shatter Me” featuring Lzzy Hale projected on the screen behind her, and “Love Goes On and On” featuring Amy Lee on the screen behind her. Other songs played that night included “Artemis,” “Darkside,” “Masquerade,” “Crystalize,” “Underground,” “Roundtable Rival,” “First Light,” and ending the night with her mashup song “Beyond the Veil/Phantom of the Opera Melody.”

During set change waiting for Lindsey, I ended up talking to a few people around me and learned that I sat next to fans who have seen her 10+ times over the last decade. Getting to talk to them and hear how much her music and story has inspired them truly makes you realize just how touching of an artist Lindsey Stirling is. Though Lindsey has been performing and hip hop dancing for over a decade, her on stage presence does not seem to be slowing down one bit. She still performs with the same wonder and magic in her eyes as when she first hit the America’s Got Talent stage over 10 years ago. It truly is a magical time when you go to a Lindsey Stirling concert, and it is something I highly recommend to anyone who is a fan of performance art. Even if you are not a fan of electronic or dance pop music, Lindsey Stirling puts on a theatrical show filled with beautiful visuals, costumes, and music that can not be ignored. 

 

Matt Martinez

Photojournalist - Orange County

Website: www.instagram.com/red_hareimages Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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