Culture / The Saint

Regina Spektor astonishes in Grand Rapids

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Story by Mason Glanville, Saint Reporter
Photo courtesy of NPR

On Nov. 4, the very eccentric singer Regina Spektor performed a sold-out concert to a thrilled audience at 20 Monroe Live. The performance was solo, and her once in a generation musical talent filled the venue with breathtaking sound.

Spektor performed a rich set, with selections ranging from some of her earliest albums up to her most recent full release, “Remember Us to Life.” Among songs she performed were hits like “Us” and “Eet” and more subtle gems like “Apres Moi” (one of my favorites). As an encore, she tore hearts out with a perfect “Samson.” Spektor also performed some new, never released work, like “Reginasaurus,” to the great approval of the audience.

Musically, Spektor was unstoppable. Her leaping vocal range and truly astonishing instrumental ability seemed right at home in the full venue. Her Steinway baby grand piano was the centerpiece on stage, visually stunning under a single spotlight, but during the show she also played the electric keyboard, guitar and percussion. Some of her most dynamic numbers were delivered with just her titanic voice and no accompaniment. There is no denying the sheer power of Regina Spektor’s highly developed ability.

Forming immediate rapport with the audience, Spektor was not shy of her political leanings during the show. She made sure note of how she felt about the modern political climate, even dedicating the song “Ballad of a Politician” to “Getting those f——- out, fast.”

With her sweet and loving presence on stage, Spektor, a Russian Jewish immigrant, poignantly indicated the absurdity of the current presidential administration’s feelings toward immigrants.

Perhaps the most astonishing detail from the night, however, is that Spektor was sick with acute bronchitis during her performance. This did not interrupt her musicality, even though she was soft-spoken and frequently paused to cough or catch her breath. If anything, her ability to overcome sickness and deliver a high quality show underlined the authenticity of her personality and musical talents.

All in all, Spektor offered everything fans look for in a performance: wit, skill, quirkiness and most of all, incredible music. Regina Spektor is truly a gem of our times and I look forward to seeing her in concert again in the future.

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