Regina Spektor at the Beacon Theatre (06/17/09)
Photos: Jon Klemm
Regina Spektor’s new record Far came out on June 23 (last week) and she played a big pre-record release show at the Beacon Theater on June 17, her first and only US date before heading out on a European Festival tour.
Regina Spektor at the Beacon Theatre (June 17, 2009)
Regina Spektor is talented, cute and charming and that’s a good thing. In fact, she’s so charming that she suffered no ill-will from the audience after starting her off her Beacon Theatre set with no less than seven unfamiliar tunes. As you might expect, her eighth song of the night, the bouncy and beloved “On The Radio”, was greeted with a rapturous applause of recognition. On the whole, the evening was pretty heavily weighted on new and unreleased material (see the setlist here) with a total of 11 songs from the Far album proper or the deluxe edition, and maybe only six or so truly recognizable tunes.
Aside from the Beacon gig being her biggest headlining engagement to date (festivals aside), it was a night of firsts in a couple of other ways. It was the first time many fans got to hear the new songs, it was the first time Regina played the new music before a live audience (Planned Parenthood gig aside), and it was also the first time she played with her new string quartet (at least I think so). Having said that, I wasn’t surprised that there were a few “opening-night jitters” type moments in the show; she flubbed the lyrics for “Consequence of Sound” and on one occasion, she wasn’t quite sure how to initiate the cues she specifically came up with for the show. I’m sure this stuff will disappear in time, and I really don’t think it ruined anyone’s evening, but when the scale of the gig is a little higher, you kind of expect these things not to happen.
It was my first Regina show, and despite my quibbles, I’d have to say that I had a pretty good time (after all, it’s so hard not to like her). As for the new tunes, I was pretty impressed with “Folding Chair”, “The Calculation”, “Eet”, “Laughing With” and “Human of the Year”. “Blue Lips” and “Machine” on the other hand, would not make a list of my favorite cuts off of the new album. Though I also wasn’t so familiar with the older and unreleased tunes like “Consequence of Sound”, “Lucky Penny” and “Poor Little Rich Boy”, I thought they were nice additions to the set as well. On the flip side, I felt the unreleased “Holocaust Deniers” fell a little flat (it made me a little uncomfortable in fact, but that may have been the point). I’ll say one thing though, Regina Spektor is not afraid of taking risks with her song choices, when you’ve got fan favorites like “Better” and “Hotel Song” in your back pocket, its pretty ballsy (for lack of a better word) to go with an unknown tune like “Holocaust Deniers” to just about close out your set.
More pictures from the Beacon and the video of “Laughing With” from Letterman after the jump.
PS Much like I predicted, she ended the night by saying, “hope to see you back in the fall.”
PPS NYCTaper has audio of this show over here.