Last Night: Regina Spektor Comes Out of Her Shell @ the Paramount

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Regina Spektor performed at the Paramount on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009.
Listening to Regina Spektor is an experience very much like listening to a precocious child--incredibly endearing, with the potential of getting a tad annoying. The Soviet-born, New York-bred songstress crams her piano pop melodies with eccentric lyrics and vocal techniques. Her fifth studio album, Far, is no exception. On it, Spektor sings about finding a wallet with as much passion as she does about the power of God. I've always preferred her playful persona, which shines more on infectious songs like "Dance Anthem of the '80s," more so than it does on say, "Laughing With" or "Blue Lips." But I appreciate her entire body of work.

Last night, the singer performed a near two-hour set pulling mostly from her current record, accompanied by a three-piece band featuring a cellist, violinist, and drummer. She greeted the crowd with a shy smile, but rarely interacted with them, except to mumble quiet thanks between songs like "Folding Chair and "Eet." It took someone in the Paramount shrieking, "I want to have your babies!" for her to finally laugh and loosen up.

'Gina heads - as SW's Mike Seely affectionately refers to Spektor's fans - are an intense bunch. They don't drink very much. They don't whisper to each other during songs. And they most certainly don't whip out their obnoxious iPhones to snap photos. They do however, deliver flowers to the singer onstage. And in a nod to her background, they shout in Russian. (A visibly pleased Spektor responded accordingly, although with what, I can't say.) 'Gina heads are the most respectful fans I've ever encountered in my life. Seriously, they make other artists' fans look like Neanderthals.

Spektor indulged them with well-established favorites like "On the Radio" and later, during the encore, "Samson" and "Hotel Song." She sounds exactly the same live--if not better--than she does on her recordings. And she clearly gets into the zone, as evidenced as she smoothly transitioned between playing the piano, keyboard, and guitar throughout the evening. It just takes awhile for the girl to open up and relax. But by evening's end, she clearly had, as she strummed her guitar to "Bobbing for Apples" and sang, with a mischievous glint in her eye, "Someone next door's fucking to one of my songs."

That "someone" likely not a Regina fan--because they'd be too polite to do something like that.

 
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