Regina Spektor

Thursday, March 9, 2017

State Theatre, Portland, Maine

This night gets a mixed review, but it’s not Regina’s fault. I met up with my concert friend Bob (six years as concert buddies and going strong!) at Empire for dinner, but couldn’t find parking after a long search and ended up late to dinner, so succumbed to paying $16 in a nearby parking lot (ugh). My fortune cookie had no fortune, which concerned me. Bob and I arrived at State Theatre before doors opened to stake out a good spot for my first-ever Regina Spektor show. We ended up third row center, in a pocket of real Regina fans. It turns out, we were lucky to be exactly where we ended up, because there were a lot of disrespectful people in the crowd.


Getting a fortune cookie without a fortune kind of freaked me out.

There was no show opener, and we were told Regina was going on right at 8 PM. She went on a little after 8:30 instead, and people were restless and some had time to get drunk at the bar by then. It really negatively affected the show experience. Regina was a delight–her vocals and piano were spot on, her audience interaction on point, and she was humble and adorable. At one point, she sweetly told us that “every time you guys start clapping, I turn around to see who’s behind me.” She joked that she shouldn’t have worn jeans because “Portland is a delicious city” and she’d overindulged. Sadly, the crowd was a NIGHTMARE. Drunk, loud people talked over her the entire night. The interruptions were so frequent and loud that Regina stopped mid song to ask very politely for people to talk a bit quieter because it was hard for her to concentrate with all the noise. Have I ever witnessed a performer ask a crowd to be quiet because they were being so loud? I don’t think so. It was so sad. She handled it like a champ, but it persisted. I talked to other friends who were at the show later, and we agreed that a seated show for a singer-songwriter and her piano would probably have created a better listening environment than the sold out standing show we attended.

Regina forgot the lyrics to her last song, “Us,” but the crowd helped her find her way (the ones who were actually listening, that is). She played a generous four song encore, including “Fidelity” and “Samson, which were thrilling to hear live for the first time. This should have been a great show. Regina was engaging, sweet, and talented, but the crowd was AWFUL. Good luck booking her in Portland again! Concert etiquette tip–don’t be the drunk person yelling all through a show–it makes you a jerk!

My friend Aimsel Ponti’s take on the night.





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3 responses to “Regina Spektor

  1. Casey

    Stumbled upon your blog thanks to Port City. Great stuff!

    I wanted to agree with you on this particular show and the audience. I was up in the balcony and throughout Regina’s performance, I kept thinking, man does it sound like lots of people are talking. But I figured maybe it was just me. When she had to stop mid-song and tell people to basically zip it, I felt embarrassed for Portland.

    A similar thing happened months ago when I saw Tallest Man On Earth; he had to ask repeatedly for people to be quieter.

    I just don’t get it and it is super frustrating. It’s like, this concert isn’t the soundtrack to your inane conversation. Portland, you’re better than this.

    • Hi, Casey! Thanks for your thoughtful comment (and for reading!). I agree, there was far too much talking at this show. It was sad. I was second row center, and struggled to hear her at times. Concert etiquette is not a strong suit for folks these days! Yesterday’s post is all about that. I hope you are well! Any good shows coming up for you? B

      • You’re spot on with all your points in your latest post about crowd etiquette. Maybe it is a generational thing. When I go to shows, I noticed that a decent chunk of the younger crowd is more about taking photos and videos, talking, etc rather than enjoying the moment. But that could also just be cranky old man Casey talkin’. I went to the Whitney show the other night but bailed after about 1.5 songs just because I couldn’t hand with the crowd. C’est la vie.

        Concerts coming up for me in the immediate future are G. Love (saw him once in ’95 so am looking forward to seeing him 20+ years later) and Valerie June down in Portsmouth. Hamilton Leithauser, Broken Social Scene, David Crosby, and Henry Jamison down the road. What is on your docket?

        Also, I just read your Wind and the Wave review and think I saw you at that show. Decent show despite the small crowd, which always makes me feel bad. I thoroughly enjoyed The Native Sibling, though! Justin Kawika Young was cool, too. I was talking to him after, telling him he was ruining it for every dude ever. Like a 6’4″ built handsome Hawaiian who could sing AND play guitar who does a medley of Boyz II Men jams? C’mon!

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