On Friday the 14th of December Regina Spektor left an adoring crowd absolutely lost for words after blowing them away with two or so hours of her beautiful folky yet classical music.
Before Spektor’s jaw dropping performance Jack Dishel, alternatively known as ‘Only Son’ took to the stage as her support. It wasn’t until after the show that I uncovered that the two (Dishel and Spektor) are in fact married which certainly seemed to make sense. His music was also folky but it seemed to be a little more pop influenced. He opened with “You Stayed At Home” and it became evident very quickly that he had an absolutely lovely voice, however as the set progressed it became tiresome as his songs didn’t really set him apart from anything else.
It was absolutely shocking when Dishel introduced his iPod band to the crowd as he played some songs to backing tracks. Seriously, how hard is it to have a band back you or just play acoustically? It was so strange to hear a full band when all you could see was one guy on stage only lit by a single spotlight. One thing that can be said for Dishel is that he is a very charming character and certainly knew how to make the crowd laugh. His biggest crowd response was for his song “Magic” which was a slightly more upbeat indie acoustic song. Only Son thanked Melbourne humbly and finished his set.
Spektor certainly had a broad fandom in terms of age but most people seemed to be above the age of 18. The crowd lost it as she made a smiley entrance before arriving centre stage to do a lovely a Capella song called “Ain’t No Cover”, before going to the piano and getting straight on with her set where for her next song, she performed her hit “Radio” which the crowd went crazy for.
Spektor is not only one of the most gifted vocalists in her scene but her ability to write music of this persuasion is remarkable and I look forward to the day when someone comes forward who can do it better than she does because at this point, her music is untouchable. Whenever she would sing or play, the crowd were so silent you could have heard a pin drop.
Throughout her set a definite pattern emerged in Spektor’s behaviour. She’d perform a song, when she’d finished she would take a sip from her water bottle and either make a small comment for example the name of the next song or a little anecdote. Oddly she didn’t really communicate with the crowd at all, but this did not detriment her show. If anything, it only added to the mesmerising and alluring performance she gave. Even when a fan came to the front of the stage to give Spektor a painting she had done of her, Spektor’s response was minimal and did not come across as rude but just shy or timid.
Her performance of the song “Blue Lips” from her 2009 album “Far” was absolutely daunting and sent shivers down the spines of every single audience member. Spektor who was born in Moscow did a cover of a Russian song called “The Prayer” which was entirely in Russian and it was just as well performed as all of her other songs. A three-piece band consisting of a drummer, a cellist and a keyboard player accompanied Spektor. And they were absolutely fantastic players. They did a great job of backing her.
She left the stage for a few minutes and the crowd waited and cheered for her return for the encore. She performed “Us”, made popular from the film ‘500 Days Of Summer.” She then sang one of her earlier and definitely cuter songs, “Fidelity”. Then finally, she ended on the song that the whole crowd had been waiting for all night “Samson” which had the whole room was singing . Except for when she stopped in the middle of the song because she heard what she described as a ‘velcro ghost’. She then attempted to carry on with the song but must have been so caught up in the ghost’s presence that she forgot the lyrics to her most well known hit. But the performer laughed it off and carried on with the song.
Although when performing Regina Spektor was a far more timid personality and did not do a lot of talking, it felt as though it made the show better because her music is so beautiful that it really just spoke for itself. The Italian translation of her name truly serves her well because she certainly is the queen of indie folk.
Regina’s final Australian show is December 19 in Perth.