March 12, 2017

Regina Spektor played Radio City Music Hall

Regina Spektor was in grand form Saturday evening for a show at the legendary Radio City in support of last year's Remember Us to Life.

Regina Spektor has always existed in a time bubble for me. I learned about her first hand by seeing her open for The Strokes and Kings of Leon in Vegas on New Year's Eve 2003. I was 15 and there with my uncle, but I felt like the coolest person in the world. She was so nervous that she got drunk before she took the stage, she had a hard time finishing songs, and kept repeating the phrase "what happens in Vegas stays here, right?" Sorry for betraying you, Regina. Soviet Kitsch would come out the following summer and when I made the connection that this was indeed the same person, I was floored by how much I loved the album. It was sultry, brisk, and so different than anything I was listening to at the time. The record hit me just when my interest in all things downtown New York were really taking over. As the Strokes rose to the occasion and battled it out against The Hives, Vines, and White Stripes for the of "saviors of rock," Spektor rode behind of their wave of effortless cool. She had the same fire as Fiona Apple and was hip with the CBGB revival and upcoming rise of Williamsburg. Begin to Hope marked a distinct change in her songwriting as she embraced her pop sensibilities and, in turn, crafted one of the most underrated pop records of the past fifteen years. Her key sense for indie charm as well as radio-friendly choruses saw her expand her audience past the dives of the Bowery and into soccer vans across the country. Not long after, sometime around the release of Far in 2009, I fell off the Regina train and never got back on. To be honest, I wasn't too sure if she had released a new record since then and only knew that she had at least composed the theme to Netflix smash "Orange is the New Black." Even so, I knew passing up the chance to see her in the gem that is Radio City would be a mistake so I didn't hesitate at Saturday's opportunity. Seeing her now, it's clear just how beloved she is and how well she's matured as an artist since her early days. She covered a wide range of her career during the show, and paid tribute to Leonard Cohen with a touching cover of "Chelsea Hotel #2." Ending her main set with "Us" felt like a truly special moment and one I've waited to see for a long time. The encore was full of life as well and she finished out the evening with a beautiful rendition of "Samson." It was a charming evening and Spektor did a pristine job filling the historic room.

Set list:

01 "On the Radio"
02 "Grand Hotel"
03 "Older and Taller"
04 "Blue Lips"
05 "Tornadoland"
06 "Bleeding Heart"
07 "The Light"
08 "Après Moi"
09 "Chelsea Hotel #2" [Leonard Cohen cover]
10 "Ballad of a Politician"
11 "Sailor Song"
12 "You've Got Time"
13 "The Trapper and the Furrier"
14 "Black and White"
15 "Sellers of Flowers"
16 "Obsolete"
17 "Small Bill$"
18 "Better"
19 "Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)"
20 "Us"
21 "The Visit"
22 "Fidelity"
23 "Hotel Song"
24 "Samson"

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