Regina Spektor

Venue: Esplanade Theatre, Esplanade, Singapore
Date: 22nd December 2012
Promoter: Greenhorn Productions
Review by: Ken Wong
Special Thanks: Sylvia & the Greenhorn Productions team

Plenty of husband/wife-centred bands have charmed us over the past decade or so, no less Yo La Tengo, Arcade Fire, Tennis and Mates of State. In December, we were treated to another such performance from a less likely source, when Jack Dishel, otherwise known as Only Son, took the Esplanade Theatre stage alongside his solo artiste wife Regina Spektor. The harmonising couple complemented each other on acoustic guitar ballad ‘Call Them Brothers’, a bonus track from the deluxe edition of Spektor’s latest album ‘What We Saw from the Cheap Seats’.

Armed with only his guitar and iPod, former The Moldy Peaches guitarist Dishel had earlier treated the crowd to a near 40-minute set, unusually long for a ‘special guest’. After much hankering from the impatient audience amid an unexplained delay, Spektor eventually made her Singapore debut at 9.20pm, more than an hour later than the concert’s stipulated start time. The show’s tardiness was quickly forgotten when the Moscow-born singer-songwriter opened with a breathless a cappella rendition of ‘Ain’t No Cover’. From ‘Far’ highlight ‘The Calculation’ to the stupendous encore featuring classics like ‘Fidelity’ and ‘Samson’, Spektor was in imperious form throughout the 90-minute concert, showing off her incredible vocal chops and piano-playing prowess.

Warm, bubbly and with a penchant for reaching for her water bottle after every track, the 32-year-old possessed an almost childlike wonder, with funny anecdotes and sheepish grins aplenty between the rapturous applause. Blending her signature lip-buzzing and beat-boxing with her eclectic music style, Spektor capped off a brilliant year of gigs in Singapore with an irrepressible display, joining the likes of M83, Passion Pit and Sigur Rós as some of 2012’s standout live performers.