Regina Spektor was a staggering gift at Hamer Hall

Regina Spektor was utterly delightful as she offered up her brand of quirky, sincere and profound songwriting to Hamer Hall. 

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bandAnna photography

Peppering the night with various playful and spirited moments, alongside others more sombre and heart wrenching, it was a beautifully put together show from a truly masterful artist.
What was so endearing was the air of loveable awkwardness, even comedy, throughout. This was the case from the outset, as Spektor dotted onto the stage apparently dazed and unfocused, before she sat down and said a soft “hello.” sipped on some water and remarked that she’d forgotten her set list. Her youthful innocence and playful humour was immediately infectious, and the audience latched on with ease.
Though she began quietly, Spektor grasped the crowd’s attention in full force when she opened with ‘Folding Chair’. Ears instantly pricked as she went from such a shy and hesitant introduction to performing this upbeat track with gusto, yielding her adored trademark vocals with absolute perfection.
She moved across her catalogue throughout the near two-hour performance, taking on early tracks such as ‘Prisoners’ and ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ from 2002’s Songs, ‘Us’ from Soviet Kitsch (2004) and ‘Blue Lips’, ‘Wallet’ and ‘Machine’ from Far (2009).
For her rendition of ‘Poor Little Rich Boy’, Spektor moved from the grand piano to an unassuming electric organ, which she played with one hand alongside creating a sensational beat with a chair and a drumstick in the other.
Continuing on the organ, Spektor played ‘Ballad Of A Politician’. She prefaced the song by wryly saying, “Isn’t it just lovely how politics always attracts the kindest people, who are so tender and really have our best interests at heart?” The remark offered a perfect moment of tongue-in-cheek comedy, while not sugar-coating the brazen message Spektor was about to deliver.
A slew of tracks from her most recent record, Remember Us To Life also came, including the cheerful and peppy ‘Older and Taller’ and the deeply emotional ‘Grand Hotel’, ‘The Light’ and ‘Obsolete’. It’s been nearly two decades since Spektor started gracing the world with her music, and with each passing song she continues to showcase just how intelligent, engaged and moving she is. Spektor is gifted at creating a space for people to share feelings of being lost, looking or misunderstood – and being as raw and vulnerable as she was in her delivery, she had the room feeling intensely intimate.
Continuing this theme, ‘Loveology’ – an unrecorded track that’s done the rounds on Youtube and at other live performances – proved a particular highlight. This was probably more so because Spektor performed it after an impassioned audience member cried out for it, which highlighted once more the warmth and closeness of the space that she had powerfully created.
Elsewhere in the set, Spektor also offered up her classic ‘Eet’ and a soulful piano cover of John Lennon’s ‘Real Love’, as well as a piece of a cappella with ‘My Man’ and a playful moment strumming the guitar along to ‘Bobbing For Apples’.
It’s hard to fully encapsulate just how special it was to experience Spektor’s live delivery, though it might be more easily imagined by mentioning this: When Spektor closed with ‘Us’, she received a standing ovation and cries for an encore. After a tense few minutes, she shyly returned to the stage and obeyed pleas to play one of her most adored songs, ‘Samson’, with her performance garnering an even more rapturous ovation from the full house. Regina Spektor is no doubt one of those rare talents, precious and fragile, that the world truly needs.
Highlight: ‘Loveology’.
Lowlight: The show started 30 minutes late.
Crowd Favourite: ‘Samson’.