Words by Lynsey Cameron
Image by Claire Thomson
Not many artists can open a set with an acapella piece from a relatively unknown live EP but Regina Spektor is not like many artists.
Using her mic as an impromptu bass drum, she owns Glasgow’s o2 Academy with ease before taking to the piano with astounding grace. The Russian born songstress has come a long way from her self distributed debut album in 2001, having featured in many TV and film soundtracks including 500 Days of Summer and also performing for President Obama in 2010.
Poster girl for New York’s anti-folk scene, the What We Saw From the Cheap Seats tour features support from her husband Jack Dishel under his musical pseudonym, Only Son. An uncharacteristic merge of private and public Spektor, the pair treat the crowd to a duet with album track Call Them Brothers.
Songs such as this create their own sense of awe while fan favourite On The Radio prompts accompaniment from the crowd, albeit at a very formal and sensible volume. How, an instant classic, places the room into a palpable silence. A package of unadulterated emotion, the track and its live performance show off not only Spektor’s incredible vocal range but also her extraordinary grasp of the human condition, one of her truest talents.
This empathetic and unashamed lyricism has given her iconic status amongst her fans. Cries of ‘I love you Regina’ can be heard throughout the night, all of which are acknowledged with an endearing honesty by Regina herself. Her shy, almost whispering voice is a world away from that which dominates the room during songs such as Blue Lips and Oh Marcello.
Current single You’ve Got Time, soundtrack to the Netflix sensation Orange Is The New Black, breaks the tone with a punkish sound reminiscent of fellow New Yorker Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs).
Spektor rouses the crowd into a chorus of Mary Ann’s a bitch with the largely acappela crowd pleaser Sailor Song before leading us into the heart wrenching encore. A compilation of her most popular tracks, Spektor leaves us mouthing along to every word. The show draws to an unassuming close with the beautiful Samson and the haunting feeling that we may never see something like it again.
Regina Spektor. o2 Academy. 20th August 2013.