Spektor spectacularly stuns spectators at The Tabernacle

The Southerner

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BY RACHEL LIBMAN

A recent Regina Spektor concert at The Tabernacle showcased her new album “What We Saw From The Cheap Seats.”

And that was sort of ironic, because we were seated way up in the highest level where we could barely see her.

What I did see and hear, however, was quite an experience. Regina Spektor eloquently displayed her musical talents, with a strong supporting band playing along with her. Spektor’s ensemble consisted of herself on vocals and piano, drums, a cello, and an electric keyboard player.

The opening act, however, was less than satisfactory. Jack Dishel of Only Son, who evidently is Spektor’s husband, began the show with an acoustic guitar piece. After this song, he started playing with his “band,” aka his iPod. The recorded instruments booming through the speakers connected to his itty-bitty iPod Nano seriously overplayed his own live performance. In fact, I doubt Dishel’s performance would’ve sounded any different if he stopped strumming his guitar. Between each song, he made corny jokes that seemed to irk most of the audience members.

After he left the stage, Regina Spektor, clad in a belted, green tunic, appeared with her band, and sang a short but intense a cappella song that awed the audience.

Then Spektor and her band began with “The Calculations,” a song from her 2009 album, Far. This began with slight drumbeat, joined by her steady piano chord playing. After a couple of measures, the song burst into an array of complimentary sounds as she began singing:

“You went into the kitchen cupboard, got yourself another hour and you gave half of it to me….”

The overall majority of her songs started out in a strong way that aroused the crowd. Her voice throughout was just as it is in her recordings: deep and dynamic.

This concert seemed to be made primarily of strong fans of this musical talent. This was dissatisfactory, though, in the fact that most of her songs were accompanied by many audience members whom, for some reason, decided their own singing would make the performance better.

I must admit I couldn’t help but sing along to some of my all-time favorites, however, I kept the actual sound coming out of my mouth to a minimum. The performance of Spektor and her band was so unique that it made more sense to just listen to her voice and the music.

After every one or two songs, Spektor would smile bashfully and say in a sweet girly voice that contrasted from her singing “Thank you so much!”

I only noticed one mistake, which was in her song “Dance Anthem of the 80s.” This was a fast paced song in which she played the keyboard and was accompanied only by the drums. In one the first measures, she played an extra note when one of her fingers hit two keys on the same beat. Nevertheless, Spektor fluently showed her gifted piano playing through her complicated techniques in many of her songs.

Spektor played all but one of the songs from her new album, which included “The Prayer of Francois Villon.” This song was a cover of a Russian prayer that she told us was one of her favorites while growing up in Moscow. Other than that, she mainly played songs from her two preceding albums, Far and Begin To Hope. She played one piece, “Sailor Song” from her 2004 album Soviet Kitsch, and “Ode To Divorce” from her recorded but not publicly released album, Songs.

It wasn’t until the encore when Spektor played some fan favorites. This began with her first hit featured in the soundtrack to 500 Days of Summer, “Us.” She then played her next big hit, “Fidelity,” followed by “Hotel Song.” After her band left the stage, she ended the concert with an old song “Samson,” a ballad about a first love.

Spektor’s performance overall was very mellifluous, professional, and extraordinary. I would recommend seeing her in another city of if she returns to Atlanta. The concert was well worth the $30 to $36.

 

 

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