Live Review

Regina Spektor, Academy, Glasgow

The singer-songwriter charms and dazzles the audience in equal measure.

Regina Spektor has been slowly adapting to being a new style of singer-songwriter over the past four years. When her music was prominently used in indie sensation (500) Days Of Summer, the Russian-born singer and pianist found herself soon playing large venues that didn’t suit her intimate, soulful style. She attracted a wave of fans who wanted to sing along to the few songs she had that fit a more universal style, and this meant that she had to change her style to fit this newfound popularity. Finally it seems, after much experimenting, Regina Spektor has enough new material to make her sound work in a large venue. This was proved for certain as she charms and dazzles the audience at Glasgow’s O2 Academy.

Regina herself has never seemed at home in a large venue. Her particular brand of sweet yet edgy charm doesn’t translate as well without direct interaction, and so the talking in between songs has been largely reduced, allowing the songs to speak for themselves. This isn’t to say however, that she doesn’t attract her fair share of admirers, as she takes the cat calls and marriage proposals from audience members throughout the show with grace. Thankfully, the quality of her performance means these songs speak volumes, as newer album tracks sit comfortably alongside classic hits like ‘Us’ and ‘Samson’. The strength of her performance is so powerful in fact that the audience, who have previously been mostly quiet and appreciative until this point, are driven into a frenzy of stomps, claps and hollering at the idea that the show may be over.

There are a few token gems thrown in for older fans too, as ‘Ode To Divorce’ and ‘Sailor Song’ draw loud cheers from the crowd. In previous years, Regina Spektor’s performances in large venues have felt like patchwork bridging the gap between the oddball singer performing in New York bars and the slightly restrained oddball singer performing on the worldwide stage. Now though, the show is a well-oiled machine that still manages to feel personal thanks to the perfect performance of the singer-songwriter at its heart. No matter the stage, Regina Spektor’s performances will always have the blessing and the curse of a charismatic but flawed artist, however now more than ever she seems to be coming to grips with making that balance work.

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