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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Regina Spektor- Live in London.

The Russian born American anti-folk singer-songwriter and pianist Regina Spektor has provided her ever expanding audience with a double disc CD and DVD from her performance at the Hammersmith Apollo, London. Listening to the CD and watching the DVD, one is able to grasp Spektor’s monumental ability to galvanise her fervent crowd with powerful vocals, meaningful, witty lyrics and dark yet enthralling piano playing. Despite appearing to have a rather awkward and uncomfortable stage presence, the deafening cheers between each of her songs signals the appreciation and gratitude of the English public towards the charmingly, endearing singer.

Spektor appropriately begins proceedings with the popular, upbeat ‘On the radio’ where she seems to provide a breathless narrative on youth, life and love. To fit such broad subjects areas into a three minute dialogue might be difficult for some singers, but not for this talented artist who successfully manages to encapsulate the listener. Next up is the strangely named ‘EET’ where Spektor comments on the difficulties involved when losing and disconnecting from something which was once special. This is demonstrated by the despair that comes with the incredulity of ‘forgetting the words to your favourite song’.

As the performance smoothly progresses, Spektor comes into her own with the authoritative ‘Apres Moi’ where she tells the entrapped audience to ‘be afraid of the lame, the old and the cold’, before singing in her native Russian. Now, Spektor’s lyrics can be difficult to decipher at the best of times, but it proves almost impossible to understand verses which are quoted from a Boris Pasternak (the chap who wrote Dr Zhivago, for those interested) poem.

Leaving aside my grasp of Russian linguistics, Spektor successfully throws aside her sweet exterior and singing voice with ‘Bobbing for Apples’. To a rapturous response from her surprised audience, Spektor declares how she’s ‘dating Jack Daniels’ before emphatically, and almost proudly, asserting that ‘someone next to is f***ing to one of MY songs’.

As the gig reaches its climax, Spektor plays the atmospheric, universally popular ‘Us’ to a delighted crowd. The song builds up beautifully, just as the performance itself, and finishes with the Soviet born artist repeatedly singing ‘it’s contagious’. It certainly seems that Spektor’s complex song writing, enchanting singing, and masterful instrument playing are contagious for her engrossed listeners. 

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