BY EMILY BLOMQUIST ’18
“I love Paris in the rain! I love Northampton in the rain!” sang singer-songwriter Regina Spektor in Smith College’s John M. Greene Hall last Tuesday night. Northampton is just one stop of many on the native Muscovite’s fall 2017 U.S. tour dubbed a “A Very Special Solo Performance.”
Despite performing with only a teal guitar and two pianos, Spektor wowed the audience with her raw vocal talent and musical ingenuity. While some artists may have struggled without additional musicians or electronics, Spektor thrived. She banged on the body of her steinway piano in multiple tracks, including “Flyin,” a song she wrote in college. During “Poor Little Rich Boy” she used a chair as a drum, beating her sticks against its wooden surface.
While Spektor is known for collaborating with other artists, she admitted that “There’s something magic that happens when you’re just by yourself and completely free. You’re only sort of tuning to your own rhythms, to your own desires and thoughts. And I wanted to experience that again,” in an interview with the Arizona Sun.
Spektor at times epitomized the trope of the overly quirky indie singer, but then at others broke this mold with spunky, curse ridden lyrics. It was nothing short of bewildering to hear the singer speak to the audience, apologizing for forgetting “how to talk to people,” and then advising audience members to “keep doing your shit.” These mannerisms carry into Spektor’s songs, which range from thoughtful melodies that dip and soar, to eccentric ballads about washing machines and old meatballs wrapped in tinfoil.
It is this unique charm that captivates Spektor fans and had them quietly singing along and laughing uproariously to her tracks. At times one couldn’t help but wonder if they’d walked into a comedy club instead of a concert.
Even when Spektor touched on more serious topics, such as politics, she infused her songs and dialogue with humor. This was particularly evident in “A Ballad of a Politician,” which she dedicated to bettering the ratio of “morons” to “actual public servants” in the world.
Spektor disclosed to the audience that the objective of the concert was “not to burp.” It was comments like these that made Spektor feel more like a friend than famous performer. While her songs may grace the stages of Broadway and the screens of our televisions, she’s still a woman that deals with basic gastrointestinal issues and isn’t afraid to share them, sometimes even in a song.