Lindsey Stirling / Kiesza @ Toyota Music Factory, Irving, TX

Words and photos by Scott Rowe
Lindsey Stirling swirled, leaped, whipped...well, she did just about everything at the Pavilion at the Toyota Music Factory. The YouTube phenom released her latest album, Artemis, back in 2019 and had planned to tour the States the following year but COVID put a pause on her performances, along with the world's. To put it simply, having live music back was an absolute blessing and is something I will not take for granted any longer. I have been fortunate to see countless artists in an abundant settings, and I don't think I ever imagined a world with no live music. With Lindsey's set at Toyota Music Factory, it was a welcomed hug from an old friend, one I will cherish more as time goes on.

Opening for Ms. Stirling was Kiesa Rae Ellestad, known onstage simply as Kiesza. The fiery, redhead from Canada set the tone for the show, displaying a dose of pop magic that got the crowd moving. Flanked by her guitarist and drummer, Kiesza showcased her natural ability to run the stage with her whip-styled microphone or with her keytar (that's abbreviated keyboard-guitar). Returning to the stage after four years of rehab following a devastating car crash, Kiesza looked and sounded the part of a pop star. Here's to her bombastic return to the stage and to many years of stardom. As the lights faded for Lindsey Stirling, it was quite apparent that her set would be quite contrasted to that of Kiesza's. While there's nothing wrong with that, it was something of note.

Lindsey's performance began with the song, "Artemis", off of her latest album of the same namesake, as well as the name of the current tour. Lindsey commands the stage with her violin, gracefully dancing across and back solo, before she's joined by four dancers. Their movements are seamless as they glide with the music, fronted by Lindsey's trusty violin. Her backing band does an exceptional job in bringing the percussion alive, something every artist should do and not leave it to a backing track. To reiterate: live drummers > backing track.

Stirling's set was one of character. An actual show, not just a concert. It was a performance of the highest order. She is as good a violin player as she is a dancer, and she puts on a masterclass in both during her time onstage. But what's even more impressive is her humility and love for her fans. Stopping to discuss her thoughts on the time away from the stage and not being able to share with the world her new album, her gifts, it hit home as many were missing the very exact thing. While having a discussion with another photographer, he mentioned that she is 100% authentic, saying she would sit with her tour crew for lunches and exchange pleasantries with all around her.

Lindsey's set was a collection of tales, ahem, songs, proclaimed by violin, expressed by dance and projected by amazing visuals. And it was fun. From the crowd getting to choose the next part of the act to an amazing Disney medley, Lindsey looked like she was enjoying it as much as the crowd was. It was an overall fantastic concert, one that I will definitely remember as we return to a new normal, a new normal that hopefully reminds us of the great things we missed out in the past year.

Photos of the show are below:

Lindsey Stirling
Lindsey Stirling / Kiesza @ Toyota Music Factory, Irving, TX Lindsey Stirling / Kiesza @ Toyota Music Factory, Irving, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on July 31, 2021 Rating: 5
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