Monday, September 14, 2009

Regina Spektor @ The State Theater in Minneapolis

Regina Spektor kicked off her American tour in Minneapolis on Friday night and I was privileged to attend (many thanks to Stephen from Big Hassle Media for wrangling those tickets). Before I start the review though, I must say one thing:

Regina fans, don't do drugs. Especially if you plan to attend one of her concerts and managed to get seats in the first two rows. Because you'll stand up, dance as if you have invisible glowsticks that you need to twirl as high as you can above your head, sing drunkenly loudly, and try to drop it like its hot even though Regina is singing "Lacrimosa." Oh yeah, and you'll make everyone hate you. And quite possibly refer to you as the idiotic crimped-hair brunette with a red shirt that looks like a bear tried to maul her who is alongside a vapid Kate Gosselin look-a-like with a tacky outfit. I don't know, that might happen. I've never taken drugs prior to a concert, so of course this is all merely speculation, but you will detract much of Regina's performance for those who have the misfortune of being at the same concert and sitting within a mile of you, so just don't do it.

Ok, to the concert. Regina graced the stage in a cute tessellation dress with red mary jane pumps, grinning ear to ear, and sat down to the Steinway grand piano to start things off with a bouncy "The Calculation" with a cello, violin and drums in tow. Regina's voice carried strong and true but with a noticeable edge of apprehension. Regina commented on how she was nervous given the fact that it was her first show in a while and she was kicking off her states tour. She did make a few mistakes here and there throughout the concert, but the audience was quick to let her know she was still awesome in their eyes. She was personable with the audience in her usual cute quirky-bashful way, and made sure to tell us that she thought Minnesota had the best beds in the world (she was sleeping a solid 12 hours every night).

The concert was as good as expected, because you receive nothing less from Regina Spektor, but I was bit let down that the first 9 songs (save for "Ode to Divorce") all came from Far, and every one was played alongside the additional instruments. I know Far is her most recent release, but at the same time, I wasn't expecting that many songs from one album nor in that sort of concentration. It saddened me to hear her say "That's an old one, some of you may not know it" after performing "Ode to Divorce," as if Soviet Kitsch was her unknown or forgotten album. For "Dance Anthem of the 80s," Regina stepped away from the grand piano to a Yamaha synthesizer, where she pressed various buttons to mimic the album's version and gave us all a much welcomed "SOLO."

The infamous seafoam electric guitar was brought out for Regina's guitar songs, "Bobbing for Apples" and "That Time", where Regina let loose and got wonderfully lost in her vocals while rocking it out with energetic strums. I know there's been some past debate on how many songs Regina can play on the guitar, but until I see evidence otherwise, those are the only two songs she's got. Regina returned back to the grand piano for a quieter, more intimate set of piano-only pieces consisting of Apres Moi, Poor Little Rich Boy, Lacrimosa and Man of A Thousand Faces. Although some may say that the song choice brought the concert down from the high energetic tone in which it had started, I think Regina is at her best when she is left with her piano and the freedoms of performing by herself, and I was certainly enjoying it more. The second half of the concert felt more relaxed and true. "Apres Moi" was beautifully expressive, especially when Regina softly and prophetically spoke the lyrics "Be afraid of the lame, they're inherit your legs, Be afraid of the old, they're inherit your souls," etc over the piano line. "Lacrimosa" was also exceptionally beautiful, but unfortunately I was not able to fully appreciate it due to the spectacle of dancing drunk girls in front of me. I wish Regina had gone into more of her older songs where her creativity really has moments to shine. I am quite shocked that she did not play "Ghost of Corporate Future" or "Consequence of Sounds," as those are what I consider to be classic Regina concert choices. I still dream of the day I get to hear "Rejazz," "Loveology" or "Baby Jesus" live.

The encore was one I was slightly dreading, as I knew it was going to pander to many in the audience who were only familiar with her radio-played numbers. Regina did play the standard "Sampson" and "Fidelity" alongside "Us" and "Hotel Song," but added some nice touches, like during "Sampson" when the backdrop behind Regina became a night sky and the entire theater audience was speckled with star-like lights. Regina performed a double encore number of "Love You're A Whore," a Country-esque song that is slightly raunchy (see photo, left, for her "harder! harder!"), quirky and fun. She let loose during that song, rocking back and forth and belting it all into the microphone. It was a fantastic and uplifting way to end the evening, and I think all would agree. Plus, Regina made this face:

Setlist: The Calculation, One More Time With Feeling, Eet, Machine, Two Birds, Laughing With, Ode to Divorce, Blue Lips, On the Radio, Dance Anthem of the 80s, Bobbing for Apples, That Time, Apres Moi, Poor Little Rich Boy, Lacrimosa, Man of a Thousand Faces. ENCORE: Sampson, Us, Hotel Song, Fidelity, Love You're A Whore

More Pictures...
Regina Spektor


Jump said...

So you have to tell what was said to you, so the rest of us who don't do drugs can laugh.

Lise said...

I didn't say anything about talking with these girls. I'm serious in my thinking that they were on drugs. And judging by the comments section of the Star Tribune's review, I was not the only one who was annoyed...