Live Review: Regina Spektor

9 July 2018 | 12:46 pm | Michael Prebeg

"Fans couldn't have asked anything more of this one-off performance."

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An overhead announcement confirms that there is no support act tonight. Regina Spektor needs no introduction for this special solo performance as she takes her seat at the grand piano. "I'm excited and I feel the world moving," she confesses in a state of heavy jet lag.

Despite her spaced-out, altered state, she assures us it's a totally professional operation as one of the stage crew hands the setlist to her. It's clear that no matter what kind of state Spektor's in, the music flows out of her so instinctively and effortlessly with each and every piano chord and vocal note.

It's been about six years since Spektor last played a live show in our city, so it's a real treat for any longtime fans in the house to see her play in this incredible, intimate setting. There's no fancy lighting or visual displays, this is Spektor at her most vulnerable, yet comfortable. Her comedic banter makes us laugh and breaks the ice between the awkward silences.

She's already got a few songs in mind ready to play and some even requested by fans earlier that she's tried to practice as much as possible. She's also open to suggestions from the audience, who shout out some of their favourite tracks from her catalogue of music. One in particular is a song called Prisoners, boasting her unique staccato vocals. Another is an audience request (Machine), which usually has a lot of electronic sounds. Tonight Spektor's only got the piano and her voice so she improvises with her quirky vocal tones, piano taps and hand-claps.

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Spektor then moves to a keyboard stage right and uses one hand to play the keys while in the other she holds a drumstick to tap the wooden chair beside her to keep beat during Poor Little Rich Boy. She continues to show off her multi-instrumental talents by picking up her blue guitar for a few acoustic jams. Silly Eye-Color Generalizations is performed a capella for a stripped-back rendition that showcases her unwavering vocal range with jazzy tones and an impeccable sense of rhythm.

Loveology is another impromptu audience request and Spektor asks us to get lost with her in the mist of the dark and hazy stage for the heartfelt song with a breathtaking soprano falsetto. We continue to get swept away by her unique songwriting narratives as she shares an old song that she reveals she only remembers how to play from watching a recording that someone filmed of her singing in a New York bar a long time ago.

As she rounds out her performance, Spektor continues to wow the audience with Apres Moi, featuring Russian lyrics, and an impressive cover of John Lennon's Real Love. The audience gives a standing ovation and claps until she returns for an encore. "Thank you for bearing with my surrealness today," she exclaims, before leaving us with one of her most popular songs, Samson. Fans couldn't have asked anything more of this one-off performance, which celebrated everything to love about this fantastically strange and whimsical musician.