“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Only 10 minutes before Regina Spektor’s show at Le Poisson Rouge was supposed to start, the singer was yelling rapid fire into the mic. “I have to get all the fucks out before we go on air,” she told the crowd.
Spektor wanted to make sure she censored herself for last night’s show, which would be streaming live on NPR. Influenced by jazz, classical and everything whimsical, the singer is easily the darling of public radio. She even used the downtime between songs to create her own radio spots for anyone listening in his or her car.
“Drive carefully, stay awake and don’t go to McDonald’s! You’re listening to NPR.”
The show began with new music from her recently released sixth album, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats. She showed off some vocal acrobatics on “Open,” letting everyone get a good look at her tonsils. Spektor borrowed from Nina Simone for “Oh Marcello” and went Parisian for the quirky “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas).” And, of course, she threw in a rousing bit of mouth trumpet whenever she got the chance.
When the crowd got a little rowdy during “All the Rowboats” she stopped to remark, “It’s comforting to know even when you’re playing for NPR, people will talk through your set. Just like the good ol’ days!” She then tugged at the crowd’s heartstrings with “The Party,” getting a good chuckle with the lines, “You’re like a parade through the town/You leave such a mess, but you’re so fun.”
Spektor only came out from behind her baby grand once, to perform side by side with Only Son frontman (and her husband) Jack Dishel for their song “Call Them Brothers.” Then it was back to the days of yore, performing “Better,” “On The Radio” and “Fidelity” from Begin to Hope. She ended things with the biblical love song “Samson,” a curtsy, and not even one f-bomb.