Regina Spektor took Balboa Theatre through the best moments of her discography with a solo set on Monday, October 23rd.
“Have you ever been sick?” said Spektor after she took her place behind her grand piano. “I’m really fucking sick.”
She then launched into her set, which featured some of the most popular songs from her discography. There were the experimental anti-folk songs from the beginning of her career, “Musicbox” and “That Time,” the more accessible indie-pop tunes like “Fidelity,” and new songs like “Grand Hotel” from last year’s release, Remember Us To Life.
Despite many breaks to blow her nose, sip her tea, and cough, Spektor didn’t sound sick during her performance. Her voice was clear and hit every note. She was energetic enough to relay the emotion in her music by belting and making clear distinctions between loud and soft dynamics. Usually when you’re suffering from a cold you aren’t the chattiest person; Spektor, however, engaged with the crowd between every song, usually talking about how she was sick. She credited adrenaline as helping her get through the night, stating “adrenaline is a wonderful thing.”
Three instruments were used – four if you count the chair and drumstick used for percussion during “Poor Little Rich Boy.” She played the majority of her show on a grand piano but also took our her turquoise hollow body guitar for a few tracks. Some songs were played on a keyboard stage left, but she finished the performance back at the grand. It’s clear that Spektor is a classically trained pianist (she studied at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College) when listening to her masterfully play complicated accompaniments. It wasn’t obvious how advanced her guitar picking skills are after watching her play the simple parts to “Bobbing for Apples” and “That Time” – she’s more of a magnificent pianist and singer over everything else.
The only mishaps happened when trying to play “Sailor Song” and “Eet.” Several moments into “Sailor Song” Spektor stopped. “I can’t remember how to play it…” She stared at her piano for a few seconds then decided to move on to “Eet.” Funnily enough, the lyrics begin as “It’s like forgetting the words to your favorite song.” Spektor again messed up but recuperated and finished the song.
Spektor stepped back out to play two songs for an encore: “On the Radio” and “Samson.” During “Samson,” you could hear many in the audience quietly singing along to the chorus. It was a touching moment to end the show on.