Thursday, November 8, 2012

Regina Spektor, last night at the Music Hall

Posted By on Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Regina on Colbert.
  • Regina on Colbert.
The Music Hall, inside Municipal Auditorium, is one of Kansas City's loveliest, richest, oldest (built in 1935), and most underutilized music venues. I've seen musical theater performed in the space, but last night was the first time I've seen a modern concert there. Regina Spektor was in town, and the environs suited her well.

Jack Dishel (currently of Only Son, formerly of the Moldy Peaches), opened the show. He also happens to be Regina Spektor's husband. His pleasant folk rock was a bit sleepy, particularly because the theater is so dark once the lights go down and the doors are closed. He performed solo under just a spotlight, with recorded backup.

Spektor began her set with a solo, sans backing band. The crowd was reverent and quiet, though as the evening progressed, a few members of the audience began to make requests, shouting them over and over, louder each time. Spektor, who has a surprisingly timid demeanor onstage when not performing, handled it as politely as a performer can, simply saying, "I can't understand what you're saying" and "Save your voice."

Despite those few minor issues (including a front-row audience member with a glowing, full-sized iPad; for the love of God, please spare my sanity and leave the computer at home), Spektor proved her worth as a performer. She is a gifted vocalist but also an accomplished pianist, and her talent on that instrument helped me get lost in a few of the songs, and this was a really pleasant surprise. She occasionally suffers from Christina Aguilera-itis (wayyyy over the top with the vocal exercises), but those tricks sound better live than on her records.

Spektor's classical training was evident throughout her set, which included material principally from her three most recent studio albums, including the newest, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats. A highlight was an evocative, three-song series of "All the Rowboats," "Blue Lips" and "The Prayer of Francois Villon" (sung beautifully in Russian). Her encore included "Us," "Fidelity" and the oft-requested "Samson," and then it was time to go home. But we hope that we'll be back to the Music Hall soon, and that so will Spektor.

Set list:

Ain't No Cover
The Calculation
On the Radio
Small Town Moon
Ode to Divorce
Patron Saint
How
All the Rowboats
Blue Lips
The Prayer of Francois Villon
Call Them Brothers
Dance Anthem of the '80s
Better
Don't Leave Me
Firewood
Oh Marcello
Ballad of a Politician
Sailor Song
Open
The Party

Encore:

Us
Fidelity
Hotel Song
Samson

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