Regina Spektor’s piano-driven music was the perfect fit for Central Park Summer Stage’s outdoor concert series, something that Spektor charmingly remarked upon several times as she played last night, and reiterated on Instagram after the show: “Last night was as dreamy as playing in Central Park on a perfect summer night could have been... thank you for all the love and fun and magic! I'll never forget the magic garden."
After Spektor played her opener, “Folding Chair,” under an overcast, just-stopped-drizzling sky, she told the audience, “I’ve never played Central Park before. This is my favorite place on Earth. Thank you for coming out tonight! This is where I come to feel human again. This is the best place.”
A few minutes later, after playing her song “Eet” — which begins with the lyrics, “It’s like forgetting the words to your favorite song” — she fittingly forgot the lyrics to her next song, “Grand Hotel,” which she recovered with a quick, cute apology (“I was just listening to the cameras and I forgot the words. I have the worst concentration!”) before finishing.
The rest of the night went off flawlessly, with Spektor alternating songs from her newest album, 2016’s Remember Us To Life, with hits from her back catalogue, concentrating on perhaps her two best-loved albums, 2009’s Far and 2006’s Begin To Hope. The crowd cheered especially loudly for the divisive Orange Is The New Black theme song, "You've Got Time."
Spektor accompanied herself on the piano the majority of the night, switching to guitar for two songs after warning the audience, “This is a fake out — a picture of this makes it seem like I know how to play guitar, but I don’t know how to play guitar. I only know the few songs I’ve written, so tune these two songs out if they really suck.” Of course, she played the two songs — “Bobbing for Apples” and “That Time” — perfectly.
Though the crowd was packed — and more fans lingered on the lawn outside Summer Stage’s designated area for the chance to hear Spektor, even if they couldn’t see her — Spektor cultivated an intimate feeling, at one point saying, “Don’t you think this should be a weekly thing? We just get together. It’s so much nicer not to be alone here.”
As the night went on, darkness fell, more drinks were imbibed, and the scent of weed filled the air, the audience began singing along more and more — including attempting to imitate Spektor’s famous vocal acrobatics. For the encore, Spektor chose three of the songs that first made her famous to US audiences, all from her album Begin To Hope: “Fidelity,” “Hotel Song,” and “Samson.” It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten whole years since Spektor became a star (and sixteen since her first album!). We hope she has an even longer musical career ahead of her.
Photos by Kristen Blush; follow her on Instagram and visit her website at kristenblush.com.
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Erika W. Smith is BUST's digital editorial director. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @erikawynn and email her at email@example.com.