Live Review: Regina Spektor

10 July 2018 | 11:00 am | Cate Summers

"It was evident that there would be no bells and whistles in this intimate performance — just Spektor and her instrument of choice."

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It has been a long wait between live performances in Sydney for Regina Spektor, with the quirky songstress last gracing our shores in 2012. Anticipation was palpable on Monday night at the Sydney Opera House, with the venue packed-out in a very special concert-in-the-round set-up.

Spektor prefaced the performance with news that she was "a fraction of a human being" due to jet lag. Now jet lag can be a bitch but Spektor's spaced-out state last night — giggling to herself and having charming if not slightly incoherent conversations with the audience — suggested that maybe something more than jet lag was at play.

However, once she got down to the nitty-gritty of performing, Spektor seemed to shed that space-cadet persona and delivered an impressive array of songs from her backlog of albums that showcased her musical talents. Starting things off with Folding Chair, it was evident that there would be no bells and whistles in this intimate performance — just Spektor and her instrument of choice, whether that be her piano, guitar or the oddly transfixing combination of a single drumstick whacked against a wooden chair in Poor Little Rich Boy.

Spektor dusted off some older tracks from her discography including Prisoners and Ode To Divorce alongside fan favourites including Better and That Time. Feeling sorry for the audience members she was "shunning" while playing piano, Spektor enlightened them to an a capella version of Silly Eye-Color Generalizations.

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In a night of song highlights there were a few of dips. In her rendition of John Lennon's Real Love, Spektor had a momentary memory lapse, forgetting the composition of the piece a handful of times. While she dealt with this in a very charming way, it did result in the well-loved cover lacking something live. And while everyone loves a bit of good stage banter, the airy chit-chat between every song definitely stacked up time-wise and staggered the momentum Spektor managed to build up when performing.

Having been lucky enough to see Spektor six years ago when she was last touring, this performance just didn't measure up to the last — largely because when she wasn't performing, Spektor seemed to be in a world of her own, which was charming until it became a bit awkward and then a bit tiresome. A truly great performer, Spektor was pretty much spot-on in the delivery of her songs, I'd just suggest maybe a day or two break between her flight and concert next time.