SYDNEY, Australia — The warm night in Sydney was the perfect backdrop for the sun-drenched tunes from Regina Spektor's most recent effort, Far. The cathedral-like Sydney Opera House only added to the ambience.
The Brooklyn songstress took the stage Wednesday night (April 28), greeting the mostly female sold-out crowd, which rejoiced at the first notes of "Calculation" (the opening track on Far). Although the singer/songwriter was far from home, the audience proved to be more than familiar with her material. Fans shouted requests and "I love yous" between songs but were silent whenever Spektor, on piano, marched through a track.
The set continued with more selections from her 2009 album, including "Eet" and a peppier version of "Folding Chair." By the third song, the crowd had grown giddy, waiting for Spektor to address them directly. During a quiet moment, spontaneous giggling erupted and seemed to spread. Regina responded: "I feel like I have some lipstick on my nose."
The singer reached back into her catalog for "Ode to Divorce," an oldie that highlighted the concert hall's brilliant acoustics. Spektor's voice sounded so close, it was as if you were sitting beside her on the piano bench. She followed that up with the frantic "Machine" and "Laughing With," which drew extra cheers.
The remainder of the evening was peppered with crowd favorites and a back-and-forth with the audience. After the crowd clapped along to "Better," a fan begged, "Tell us a story, Regina!" That drew a clever response from Spektor: "I am. I'm telling stories all night long!" While she spent most of the night at the keys, Regina finally got up for "Dance Anthem of the 80s" (also from Far), strapping on a guitar as she recalled "The Simpsons" episode where Homer goes to rock-and-roll summer camp.
As the nearly two-hour show drew to a close, Regina told the crowd, "It's so amazing to play here, and it's so amazing not to play by yourself," referring to the devoted fans who came to see her.
In case anyone wasn't sufficiently impressed, Spektor returned for a five-song encore. Fans showed they had her back, filling in when Regina forgot a few of the lyrics to "Samson." That exchange brought to mind the words from "Eet," sung earlier in the evening: "It's like forgetting the words to your favorite song/ You can't believe it, you were always singing along."
What do you think of Regina's most recent album, Far? Tell us in the comments!