I'm not usually blown away by talent but last night Regina Spektor did just that. She played a small venue at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland to a standing crowd full of mostly young women. It took a long time for her to finally come on stage, and when she did her first performance left no doubt that we were all in for a fantastic show.
It took a bit of research but I was able to discover a You Tube clip of the song she opened with, Ain't No Cover, which she performed a cappela while tapping her microphone softly to mimic a heartbeat.
Her band wasn't with her, which if you believe this review, made us all lucky! When she got up from her piano to play "That Time" she told us all a story about her green guitar and then she forgot the lyrics! She brushed it off demurely and then got rolling on the third attempt. I think it only heightened the anticipation for one of her best songs. Here's a YouTube clip of her telling us about the guitar - we were the first to hear her use it and though it was out of tune she played on, tuning her voice to it.
She played for about 90 minutes and did a four song encore that included a cover of a John Lennon song. She played several songs off of her album Begin to Hope, including Fidelity, On the Radio, Summer In the City, Samson, and Apres Moi. I enjoyed seeing which songs appeared to be her favorites - she belted out Apres Moi so powerfully it was impossible not to feel her passion. She sang Summer in the City very delicately; it was sweet actually.
Regina writes her own lyrics and music and performs them with amazing feats of vocal gymnastics with such gusto, yet diffidence, that it is hard to feel like she is up there just to show off. At one point during "Poor Little Rich Boy" she played three instruments at once, never missing a single beat. Her range is amazing and when you throw in the music, smart lyrics, her passion, you get one hell of a talented individual.