BY TER STAFF
Highland Park’s Ravinia Festival brings a consistent and diverse lineup of performers to the Chicago-area festival on a yearly basis. The festival will host a classical music recital one night, a famous musical the next and then a concert from one of the biggest artists on the radio to cap off the packed weekend. Ravinia easily has something for everyone throughout its summer months, making it a staple of a memorable Chicago summer.
That’s why there was no better venue for Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence’s new summer tour, which kicked off this past month and which is backed by a full orchestra. Mashing a live orchestra and big name performers, Ravinia was the perfect setting for the entertaining co-headliners.
Kicking things off on Tuesday night was violinist Lindsey Stirling. Giving new life to the 400-year-old instrument, Stirling famously combines the violin with dance and performance art, while mixing in popular genres into her recordings. You may know her from her stints on America’s Got Talent or Dancing With The Stars, but those in attendance last night will know her best for stealing the show at Ravinia.
With no vocals in the large majority of her tracks, one could understandably expect the majority of her songs to sound relatively similar. However that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Not only did each song that Stirling perform sound different and unique, but the performance art that Stirling used throughout the duration of her set helped tell a story, when lyrics could not.
Stirling also found ways to mix things up throughout her set, including a special surprise visit from Evanescence’s Amy Lee for a performance of ‘Shatter Me’, giving fans a sneak peak of the night’s headlining act.
Stirling also didn’t shy away from showing off her personality with her set. Early in the performance the stage was filled with various tombstones, including one dedicated to Piers Morgan, a judge on Stirling’s season of America’s Got Talent. Morgan did not shy away from critiquing Lindsey’s mixes of dance and violin, but who is laughing now? A subtle jab at one of her most famous haters, Stirling definitely had us laughing with her shade.
Another highlight of Stirling’s performance was when she took the time to tell the story of her first time in Chicago. Having heard about the Windy City’s famous deep dish pizza, Stirling walked over thirty blocks to grab a slice many years ago. However, after being told that there would be an hour wait and that she would need to order a whole pie, Stirling took to the streets to find a random stranger to share the pizza. Finally finding a hungry stranger to take her up on her offer, the two enjoyed the pizza and Stirling revealed that she still texts the man to this day when she finds her way back to Chicago. The funniest part being that this man, who refers to Lindsey as “pizza girl”, still has no idea what she does for a living.
The between song stories weren’t always as funny though, as the violinist also shared some inspiring words with her audience. Leading into her track ‘First Light’, Stirling spoke about how people have the power to take control of their own happiness. Sharing her struggles of depression and anorexia, Stirling likened taking care of your mind to exercising any other muscle in your body. It takes many reps, but with time you can strengthen your mind like any other muscle.
And while her personality was definitely on display throughout the night, it was Lindsey Stirling’s unbelievable ability to shred on the violin while dancing her butt off that left the crowd in awe. Everyone in attendance left with a new found respect for violin players, especially one like Stirling who can multi-task like none other. You may be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, but try spinning and jumping across the stage while flawlessly killing it on the violin.
Following Lindsey Stirling’s portion of the night, it was time for the Amy Lee-led Evanescence to greet their Illinois fans. Opening with their 2017 track ‘Overture’, Lee got the performance started with a minute-long piano solo. Soon after, Lee made the short walk to her mic stand and instantly showcased her amazing and unique vocals, sounding no different than when Evanescence first emerged in 2003 with their debut album, Fallen.
Throughout the night the band performed creative takes on some of their biggest songs from their entire discography. Backed by the live orchestra, the performance made fans appreciate the sounds of live instruments, especially in a day of age where rappers and singers aren’t back by much more than a Macbook.
While no section of the set shined over the others, Evanescence’s performance was consistently good from beginning to end. Two highlights though, included Amy Lee inviting Stirling back to the stage for ‘Hi-Lo’ and of course the band’s performance of their mega single, ‘Bring Me To Life’, which surprisingly took place only seven tracks into the seventeen track performance. Instead Evanescence chose to end the concert with ‘Imperfection’, the second single from their newest album, but an equally great song to end the night with.
Although we are sure that Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence’s tour is remarkable no matter what city or venue you catch it in, the unique tour seemed right at home at Ravinia. The unique splicing of a live orchestra and popular music is a combination that deserves to be witnessed by everyone, so make sure you catch the tour in a city near you!
Check out our photos from last night’s performance below.