To say that Regina Spektor is a master of her craft would be an egregious understatement. Producing prodigious, consistent waves throughout the alternative folk scene since the release of her 2006 debut Begin to Hope, Spektor has proven ageless, from her sparkling vocals to her piano prowess.
The Warfield’s energy was palpable on March 5 as audience members young and old funneled into their seats. Since the performance was initially postponed when the singer contracted “a bad case of COVID” in the fall of last year, anticipation for the concert grew exponentially. The audience –– brimming with smiles and a few tipsy giggles –– fell silent as the lights dimmed and Spektor cheerfully entered onto the stage.
Spektor’s carefree presence permeated the room as she stood front and center, microphone in hand. Donning a colorful patchwork dress and a beaming grin, Spektor began to sing “Ain’t No Cover,” backed solely by her own percussive taps on the mic. The musician’s voice dominated the theater, confidently delivering the simplistic, yet heart-wrenching lines, “The sun is setting/ The day is done/ Good night, my lover/ Good night my son.” Regardless of the song’s “deep cut” status, the concert’s opener entranced super fans and casual listeners alike –– a perfect introduction for the night to come.
At the piano, Spektor impressed to an even higher degree. Transitioning into the upbeat, fan-favorite “Folding Chair,” the musician bounced on her piano bench while effortlessly belting the iconic lyrics, “I’ve got a perfect body/ But sometimes I forget/ I’ve got a perfect body/ ‘Cause my eyelashes catch my sweat.” Here, Spektor showcased her unbelievably clear vocals, which have only improved over the last 15 years.
In fact, the night’s vocal performance was so impressive that it became easy to forget the musician’s astonishing piano skills. Boasting her archetypal bursts of arpeggios during each song, Spektor was an entrancing one-woman show.
Dispersed throughout the effervescent setlist were Spektor’s hilarious, profanity-filled anecdotes and song lead-ins. Telling the audience about the San Francisco bookstore she had visited the day prior, Spektor recalled coming face-to-face with a self-described “f— you kind of book” in the children’s section. Its title: “Regina’s Not a Little Dinosaur.” Inspired by a mix of inspiration and spite, Spektor transitioned into her unreleased song, “Reginasaurus.” As she sang the addictive lines “If I was a dinosaur/ I’d be a Reginasaurus” and “If I was a philosophy/ I’d be Registentianalism,” the audience couldn’t help but giggle at the jazzy, childlike tune.
Even among a few errs throughout the night, Spektor proved over and over her comfortability on the stage. For example, when slipping on the words to “Prisoners,” Spektor whispered into the mic, “I f—ed this up the other night too…why do I write so many words?” She later responded to a drunken audience member’s hyper-niche request: “That song has so many words! I’m trying to cut down on words. I’m on a word diet.” In moments that would throw off even the most seasoned professionals, Spektor knew precisely how to joyfully wrangle the audience back into her court.
Throughout the performance, Spektor graced The Warfield with songs old and new, popular and unfamiliar, with not one dull moment in between. Performing “Poor Little Rich Boy,” using a wooden chair from backstage as a drum, “Bobbing for Apples” on the electric guitar and “Two Birds” per another audience request, Spektor facilitated a magical set for everyone packed inside the auditorium.
Ending the set with “Fidelity,” followed by an encore of “Samson,” Spektor proved once again that she’s not afraid to play some of her older hits among her newer work. After she received her second standing ovation, Spektor waved goodbye, exiting the stage while the giddy audience cycled out of the theater. The singer’s unparalleled positivity reverberated throughout the crowd as they exited onto Market Street, beginning their trips back home.