Waiting to go into the venue on Wednesday night, fans of Regina Spektor surrounded me. I mean FANS. The young man behind me flew in from Kansas City just for the show. The teenage girls ahead of me in dresses and quirky shoes (just like Spektor wears) were reciting her lyrics like Shakespeare. When I entered the Fillmore Auditorium, a shiny black Steinway & Sons grand piano stood center stage. The sold out crowd started to chant her name. There was no opener. Just her.
Regina Spektor began studying classical piano when she was six. At the age of nine, her education was interrupted briefly while she migrated with her family to the United States from the former Soviet Union. Spektor later added her beautiful voice and original lyrics to her classical piano playing. She has been a unique presence in popular music for over a decade.
|Regina Spektor – All photos by the
Rock and Roll Princess
Dressed in a simple black dress and bright orange and red shoes, Regina Spektor took the stage with an infectious smile. She sat down at the grand piano to perform a remarkable evening of music. It was like being at a giant piano recital with a loud adoring audience. Her angelic voice and outstanding piano playing came together to form a brilliant sound.
Her lyrics were sometimes philosophical. For example, Older And Taller state, “Enjoy your youth/Sounds like a threat.” At times, the verses were about mythological places. Case in point, Grand Hotel describes, “Somewhere below the grand hotel/There is a tunnel that leads straight to hell/But no one comes up for the souls anymore/They come for some comfort and for the dance floor.” Other songs detail her personal life. For instance, Fidelity describes, “I hear in my mind/All of these voices/I hear in my mind/All of this music/And it breaks my heart.”
|Regina Spektor and Yoed Nir|
Regina Spektor’s backing band added more dynamics to the sound. Yoed Nir, an Israeli born cellist who has played on over 500 albums, was a perfect match to Spektor’s classical piano playing. Brad Whitely on the keyboard allowed her to occasionally leave the 88 keys and dance while rapping to her song Small Bill$. Mathias Kunzil played the drums reminding the audience it was a rock concert after all.
|Regina Spektor demonstrating free speech|
Regina Spektor got political and discussed her opinion about the new presidential administration. An audience member later complained on Twitter about her “ranting politics” making him and his fiancé leave the show early. Spektor replied, “You sound like a lovely person. If your fiancé is half as lovely as you = perfect match. PS This refugee believes in free speech & love too.” Spektor used her impassioned dialogue as an introduction to the song, Ballad of a Politician. Surprisingly the song was written in 2012.
The majority of the set list was from her newest album Remember Us to Life inspired partially by the birth of her son. Surprisingly a large portion of the audience knew all the words. At one point, Spektor caught the audience singing and broke into laughter making her restart a verse. The sound of jail bars slamming shut queued the start of the theme song You’ve Got Time from Netflix’s Orange is the New Black (Yes. I know you have heard that song while bing watching that women prison series). Regina Spektor apologized for having her back to the audience for the majority of the show. She pointed to the piano and explained, “But I have this thing.”
|Right before Spektor Curtsied|
Near the end of the night Regina Spektor played the closing track from Remember Us to Life appropriately titled The Visit singing, “I’m so glad that you stop in/And I had some things to say/But now they’ve been forgotten/They’ll get said a different way.” She closed with audience favorite’s Fidelity, Hotel Song and Samson from her 2006 break-though album Begin to Hope.
Before Spektor walked off the stage, she curtsied to the audience like she probably did during her numerous years of piano recitals.
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one in the bright orange and red quirky shoes.