Regina Spektor Show Review

Posted December 7, 2007 in

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Regina Spektor 11.02.07 @ In The Venue

Relaxing is not the first word that jumps to anyone’s mind when describing your typical show at In The Venue. But, then again, Regina Spektor has proved time and time again that she is anything but the typical performer.

With a stage set with nothing but over-sized light bulbs and tangled strings of white Christmas lights, those familiar with Spektor must have felt like they’d walked right onto the set for one of her videos. Bringing with her only one amp, her electric guitar, a full-length Steinway grand, and one chair complete with a drumstick, the stage looked larger than ever and gave Miss Spektor all the room she’d need for her performance.

The biggest surprise of the evening was opening act, Only Son. Hailing from New York, one-man-band Jack Dishel came on with only his guitar and a cup of whiskey, starting right into a set of songs so warm and soothing they’d make Death Cab For Cutie swoon. He even whipped out his iPod, and after a small argument between the two (“Thanks a lot, Jack.” “What do you mean, iPod? What’s wrong—?” “I dunno, it just doesn’t sound like you want to play with me very much.”), Dishel continued on to surpass anyone’s expectations from an opening act.

He was more than pleased by the warm reception. “I’m really liking Salt Lake. You folks have a lot of piss and vinegar,” he said, pausing to drink before adding, “and I’m sure that’d offend you if you didn’t know what that meant.” Finishing the last of his songs (and his whiskey), Jack’s iPod grew paranoid and demanded they leave. With a final song, and an introduction, (“You guys have no idea what kind of a show [Regina] is about to inflict on you.”), the crowd prepared for their headlining act.

Though it isn’t unusual for a crowd to get restless between performers, what happened between Only Son’s departure and Spektor’s arrival was a complete joke. Audience members pushing each other, high school girls trying start a circle pit; those in the front found themselves being elbowed and groped more than you’d see at a metal show. (I should know: I attended the HIM show the following night.) Unfortunately, though the pushing and shoving died down once Spektor took to the stage, the rowdy tone remained and interfered with the music more than once throughout the night.

“I’m just a quiet girl with a piano,” she implored between songs, “and I’ve got ADD … I can’t focus on what I’m doing and your talking, so please? Shut the fuck up?”

Those familiar enough with Spektor’s less-than-conventional style understand that within her songs, the silence is just as important as the music itself. It was clear she didn’t want to say anything, but enough was enough. Far more than she should have needed to, she asked the crowd to keep it down. “This is a beautiful city, and there are a lot of beautiful places you can go. So, please, go talk there.” Nearing the end of the show, fans also began to rally against the noise, one girl shouting during a pause that the bar and outdoor patio were intended for talking. Regina simply smiled at the attentive crowd at the foot of the stage to thank them. “I feel like we’re in this together.”

When Spektor took what appeared to be a final bow, the audience feared the worst: after the hour-long struggle against the chatterboxes, she was leaving the stage without performing two of her most popular songs: Fidelity and Samson. A handful of people began to leave, but it wasn’t long before Spektor returned to the stage with Dishel in tow. Not only were the two awaited tracks performed, but Dishel joined her on ‘Hotel Song,’ beat boxing while she (and the audience) sang along. With a final round of applause for the both of them, the show came to a close.

All white noise and mosh-attempts aside, the show was beyond anyone’s expectations. Jack Dishel was right; Salt Lake concertgoers were not prepared for the performance Spektor inflicted on them. Hopefully Salt Lake didn’t inflict too much of a bad impression in return. But seriously folks, take note and shut the fuck up.

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