The holidays are fast approaching, which means its once’s again time for Lindsey Stirling’s annual “Warmer in the Winter” tour. I was fortunate to be able to cover this tour last year on its second outing and was absolutely blown away by the entire show, so much so that I went out of my way and traveled to a neighboring city to cover it once again this year.
As an interesting point, for anyone that has seen this show once before, it is not an exact replica of last year’s tour. While the overall show remains consistent, rest assured that you’ll definitely catch a few new songs and some different performances this year.
While fans were seated and waiting for the show to begin, Stirling’s dancers wandered among the aisles, interacting with fans, posing, taking the odd photo and just generally priming everyone up for the show to come. At one point, they grabbed a couple from the audience and brought them on stage. As if to demonstrate the difficulty of Stirling’s violin performance, they had each of the fans attempt the violin. First, the gentleman on stage gave it a shot, unsuccessfully, before he passed it on to the girl next to him. She as well gave it a shot, making sounds that didn’t the least bit sound like music. As some may have expected, however, this was just cute game of deception, as the girl made a second attempt, with considerably better results. She continued playing, as the dancers on stage helped her remove the shroud, she wore onto the stage to reveal Lindsey Stirling!
The first segment of the show kicked off with a barrage of upbeat and poppy holiday tunes, including Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” followed by “Christmas C’mon,” a Lindsey Stirling original. Next up, we got some additional covers including “Let It Snow! Let it Snow! Let It Snow!” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” The stage was adorned with oversized presents, while all of Stirling’s dancers were dressed as toy soldiers.
The next song up was a stand-out for me as she performed “I Saw Three Ships / God Rest ‘Ye Merry Gentlemen” to an incredible video backdrop of ships sailing the seas. Following this was the first big moment of levity where Stirling gathered her band as they performed a medley of songs on children’s instruments sitting at the front of the stage including “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Feliz Navidad,” “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” and “Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
The show took a solemn turn about mid-way through, as Stirling performed a moving rendition of “Hallelujah.” Here, she performed two of her songs that you wouldn’t know from her Warmer in the Winter album, “Crystallize,” from her self-titled debut album, and “Between Twilight,” from this year’s album, Artemis. Stirling took a few moments during this point to speak about her faith, her father and the strength she’s drawn from both at times in her life, including a particular story about her Dancing with the Stars finale.
Holly jolly songs returned with “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and “Santa Baby” featuring a rare vocal performance from Lindsey herself. Impressively, a violin was lowered to center stage several times during the performance, allowing Stirling to play when necessary, but also free up her hands to sing and dance throughout the majority of the tune.
She rounded out the show with a series of well-known classics including “We Three Gentlemen,” “Carol of the Bells” and ended the main set with a bombastic cover of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” Naturally, the crowd was left cheering for more, and Stirling delivered. She returned to the stage, appearing deep into the stage, dimly lit in shadow, as she opened up “I Wonder as I Wander.” As the song kicked into high gear, the lights came up, including another brilliant use of the video wall behind the stage, as Stirling’s black dress (and those of her dancers) were instantly changed over to white.
As the show ended and the seats emptied, there was little doubt that everyone was going home happy tonight. As I mentioned in my review of this show last year, I’ll be happy to continue making this an annual tradition, so long as Lindsey Stirling does the same. Much the way the Trans-Siberian Orchestra tours the country around the holidays, this show is truly something special. It’s intimate, personal and incredibly heartfelt from start to finish. There are few holiday experiences that leave me feeling as genuinely satisfied as Stirling’s holiday tour. If you have the chance to see this tour in your town this year, go check it out. At minimum, grab her album, Warmer in the Winter and keep and cross your fingers that this show comes back around next year!