written by: Charissa Che
It was almost 9PM – an hour after the show was advertised to start, and Regina Spektor was nowhere to be found last Friday, March 31 at The Saltair. Every hint of motion from a stagehand; any “woot” from crowd member; anytime the waiting music died down, was mistaken for the headliner. “This is the longest I’ve ever had to wait for a show,” moaned one girl, in between professing to her friend that “Honestly, I don’t know how I’ll react when she comes out. I might burst out crying. Literally.”
In time, Spektor finally emerged. Wearing her trademark big brown curls and red lipstick, she beamed widely at us. “I feel like I should start the show by apologizing,” she says, explaining that usually, if she and her crew were late for a show, it was due to a band member being AWOL, technical difficulties, or the weather. This time, though, she just got carried away soaking up the nature around her. “It’s so f-king beautiful! It’s like, there’s a mountain there, and there’s another mountain over there…How do you guys get anything done here?”
Everyone laughed (including the aforementioned disgruntled girl); all seemed to be forgiven. Spektor, in her trademark anomalous way, alternated between the bouncy pop hits from Begin to Hope and Soviet Kitsch and the more winding, discordant material off of Far and onwards, at times singing sweetly, at others, whisper-shrieking, all with an intoxicating grin on her face. Off her latest album Remember us to Life, “Small Bill$” was a particular hit live.
She was certainly a sight to behold, pounding away at that Steinway with equal parts charm and power. But perhaps due to her repertoire largely comprising of ballads and more reflective, singer-songwriter tracks, there were inevitably lulls during her performance. On the balcony level, a gaggle of young 20-somethings who seemed to have just discovered alcohol had their shirts off and whimsically danced in circles around each other. Older attendees excused themselves to get their vape on outside. Near the back of the main floor crowd, one girl snapped loudly to her friend, “If people are gonna just stand here and talk, they need to just get out!” (To be fair though, she spent the whole time making a show of how angry off she was at other people’s existence.)
And because the show started late, it ended late. The encore was worth waiting for: memories of record shopping in Lower Manhattan at (the now-defunct) J&R during lunch breaks as a college freshman flooded back when she started playing “Fidelity.” And of course, there was “Us,” the best track off the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack that everyone in the room recognized.
To view more photos from the show, go here.