I just went to a Lindsey Stirling show, and I don’t plan to make that mistake again. The music wasn’t bad, but the problem was that she felt the need to inject her personal philosophy between songs. I’ve been to shows where artists talk a bunch between songs, and sometimes that can be cool. (Rasputina does this in a very entertaining way.) In this case, it was not.
Stirling, if you don’t know her, is an adorable little pixie of a violinist and dancer with some dubstep flavor. Apparently she was on America’s Got Talent, but I found her on youtube and she has a bunch of cool songs and videos. I remain impressed by the fact that she can dance as much as she does while playing a violin. Though after attending the show, I’m not convinced the music isn’t recorded separately and not actually being played live. Regardless, she’s a great showman and there were lights and cool costumes and dancing galore.
At first, the talking and little videos (presumably to accommodate costume changes, of which there were several) in between songs went on a bit more than I would have preferred, but it wasn’t offensive. At some point, she talked about needing more girls around her on tour, so now she has these two great female-led openers*, and all her back-up dancers (who were quite talented) are women. Then there was a weird “funny” video skit where she called her two male band members her “girls” and it got mildly homophobic. Annoying, but pretty common. I can ignore it. She’s a big fan of over-the-top, often corny skits and videos. Sometimes they’re cute.
Moving on, things started getting weird. She started talking about she had been depressed a few years ago (note the past tense), and realized she was focusing on all the negativity in her life. Ok. So then she started practicing positive thinking and now she’s SO MUCH BETTER. Mmk. Bearddamnheroes, at this point, turns to me and says, “Seems like an odd message.” I mean, yeah, that’s cool if affirmations and shit worked for her (though her whole tone almost made me wonder if she’s putting on an “EVERYTHING IS PERFECT NOW” persona and is on her way to a breakdown). But let’s just get back to the music, shall we?
It was downhill from there. Soon after, we got a little video of ice crystals. Oh cool, it’s going to be the intro to Crystallize.
Except then a soothing documentary-style voice starts telling us all about how “scientists” have discovered that if you tell water nice positive things while it freezes, it forms beautiful symmetric crystals, but if you tell it mean negative things, it forms “ugly, meaningless shapes.” Scientific proof that positive language influences the world around us. Oh no. What is this shit. No. No no no. What? I had to look it up after the show, to find out if she was just spinning a fairy tale of her own invention, or if this was actually based in some hack’s “experiment”. Turns out, yep, “Dr.” Masaru Emoto (who has a doctorate from the “Open University for Alternative Medicine” in India) claims he did experiments showing this, only it never made it past peer review anywhere, and the small amount of data he’s shown is basically textbook poor design and manipulation. I highly doubt you can find a single actual scientist supporting these results. Shocking, that the “data” for this claim didn’t come from a reliable source.
From this point, I had trouble enjoying the rest of the show, much as I tried to push all this to the back of my mind and just enjoy the music. As a kicker, she ended on what is one of her most popular songs, which features guest artist Lzzy Hale singing (not a typo, for some reason there’s no vowel in her first name).
Only that singer isn’t on tour with her. I expected one of the singers from the openers to be featured, but nope, they just used a recording of the voice. Weird.
Overall, I walked out of the concert with a vague disappointed and confused feeling. And a little bit of anger over the spreading of pseudoscience, because I’m sure a good portion of that audience is going to repeat that “fact” about crystals. I mean, it’s not the worst message; positive thinking and treating people with kindness are good things. But the spread of crap “science” annoys and offends me on principle. The scientific process is not getting the proper respect from our culture and media, and it only seems to be getting worse. Shit like this can’t help.
And now I don’t know if I can listen to her music in the same way.
*Incidentally, one of the openers was pretty good.