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LondonNet: London Music Guide
LondonNet Gig Review

Regina Spektor

The Astoria
16 February 2007


Regina Spektor at Amazon >>

I have to make a confession. I'm not sure I've ever been more excited for a concert than I was for seeing Regina Spektor. This is important – I promise – because I feel like my expectations will weigh quite heavily on this review. I just want to be clear, though, that she was absolutely delightful live. I only criticise because I love.

The set kicked off with exactly the sort of thing that has endeared Regina Spektor to so many. She strolled out onto the stage alone, picked up a microphone toward the side of the stage, and launched into Ain't No Cover. The only musical accompaniment was the sound of her tapping upon the microphone like the beat of a heart. The song captured the full Ella Fitzgerald bravado that her voice is capable of.

Following the solo performance, Regina sat down at her immense grand piano and moved into Summer in the City, an absolute highlight from last year's Begin to Hope. The first half of the set cruised from here, as she jumped from old songs to new, from album tracks to unreleased ones, from piano to guitar. All the while, though she was not as talkative as she reportedly has been, she charmed every last member of the crowd – especially a gentleman next to me who shouted his adoration in her other language of Russian. She giggled and demurely responded in kind. It was precious.

However, things did not stay as mind-blowingly wonderful. After the last of two solo guitar songs, Regina moved back toward the piano as a drummer, bassist and guitarist all made their respective ways to the stage. And with their addition, whatever the proverbial ‘it' that the show started with, it was gone. In recordings, the addition of the band was welcome. Begin to Hope retained what had made her successful, but used the band as an accent. On stage, unfortunately, every time they joined in it drowned out the delicate sound emanating from the piano. I went to see Regina Spektor to see Regina Spektor, not to hear a drummer over everything else.

When she came out for her encore, the magic was briefly recaptured as she played her two best songs, Us and Samson, along with the soulful Field Below solo at the piano. But sadly, the band filled things out for the final two songs (a country song called Love, You're a Whore and finally Hotel Song) of the five-song encore. It was like eating the most delicious meal of your life, and then capping it off with a handful of mud.

Setlist:
1. Ain't No Cover
2. Summer in the City
3. Baby Jesus
4. The Flowers
5. Human of the Year
6. Poor Little Rich Boy
7. Bobbing for Apples
8. That Time
9. On the Radio
10. Sailor Song
11. Aprés Moi
12. Better
13. Carbon Monoxide
14. Fidelity
15. Your Honor
Encore:
16. Field Below
17. Us
18. Samson
19. Love, You're a Whore
20. Hotel Song

- Kevin Garnett

Regina Spektor at Amazon >>