Regina Spektor Might Be An Alien
Watching Regina Spektor sing — and taking her talent, her perfectionism and her humility into account — you might think that she is an alien.
I’d seen her perform at Radio City Musical Hall and Central Park Summerstage with a band. Now, at College Street Music Hall, she was alone.
Born to a Russian-Jewish family in 1980, her success story is of someone who came to America as a child, and became a star as an adult. She told the crowd that when she immigrated to the United States, she was asked if she would fight for America; she said yes. Now, the fight is for love and tolerance, she said.
During the concert, Spektor played the piano, a keyboard or a guitar — and for a few songs, she went a cappella. For “Flying,” she banged her fists on the piano. For another song, she incredibly played a keyboard with her left hand, and played a drumstick on a wooden chair with her right. And, of course, she invited her husband on stage to beat box, while she sang. They also performed a Tom Petty cover, “Yer So Bad.” Spektor had been friends with the recently deceased music legend, and had opened for him before.
Spektor seamlessly transitioned from chest voice to falsetto, and on her last song, “Samson,” there was no sign of her voice getting tired. She also showed versatility in both her delivery and her lyrics. Her words range from the simple or nonsensical, to the robustly profound. In “Loveology,” she offered, “Let’s go the movies/ I will sing you a song about nothing at all.” Then there’s “Ballad of A Politician,” with: “A man inside a room is shaking hands with other men/ This is how it happens/ a carefully laid plan.” That song is all the more poignant in today’s political climate.
Spektor did her patent animal noises in “Folding Chairs,” and evoked a maternal nurturing in “Eet.” There were a few times that she unleashed a fury, in which her voice could knock down a wall, such as when she sang in Russian on “Apres Moi.”
Spektor is the rare artist who has humor, humility and a jaw dropping natural ability. We are lucky she’s on this planet.