Category: regina spektor

Remember that time

I have seen dozens of concerts in my life. In fact, I have seen nearly all of my favourite bands in concert. There was the Something Corporate concert, when Jes’ dad drove us to Montreal and I got to touch Andrew and I shouted for Konstantine and the crowd got quiet for nine and a half minutes. There was the Bright Eyes concert, hundreds of emo kids staring at the stage with a hunger in their eyes as if hoping somehow they’d find meaning. There was Death Cab for Cutie, where we stood in the mosh pit and watched people cry. Green Day, the day I almost died when I got moshed away. Good Charlotte on a rainy day, when we loved Good Charlotte because we were young and angry and we had signs that said I love you, Benji. There was Sarah Slean and a piano, a free show and only a few dozen other people there and I sat in the front row by myself and smiled like an idiot. Amy Millan at the Roisin Dubh in Galway, where she asked me to sign Calendar Girl with her but I was too drunk and I’ll regret it forever. All American Rejects, Jimmy Eat World, Our Lady Peace, Barenaked Ladies, Emily Haines, Tegan and Sara, Brand New. Somehow, it has worked out that I got to see my most important bands at the times I loved them most.

You went into the kitchen cupboard
Got yourself another hour
And you gave half of it to me

With those words, the Regina Spektor concert that I’d taken the train to Manchester to see started. A girl, a piano, a cello, a violin and a drummer. And about 3000 people of all types, all clearly in love with Regina, maybe even more than myself.

It was amazing to hear her live. She was perfect, exactly like the recordings. She played some of my favourite songs, and my absolute favourite song. But she didn’t talk. Not except to say “Thank you. Thanks very much.” I think at one point she said “Hello, Manchester.”

I’m not used to this. I wasn’t expecting this. Regina, shy? The girl who sings Mary Ann and Remember That Time? Her songs are so personal, so raw and so weird sometimes, I thought she would be the same playful, outgoing person on stage.

After the concert we went outside to be fan girls and wait by her tour bus. The girls standing there said she’d already come out and gone into her bus. She didn’t stop to talk to them because she was cold, she said. It was cold. I know, I had to wait an hour and a half to get in before the show. And then I waited another hour outside that bus to get an autograph.

The British girl said she’d seen the last two shows and was going to tomorrow’s as well. Chandra and I huddled closer, we could no longer feel our toes. The crowds slowly died out, caught the bus or a taxi and went home. Only about twenty of us stuck it out. I thought for sure she’d come out and say hi when there were only a few of us.

After over an hour, we watched the tour bus drive away, and I never got my autograph.

I was cold and disappointed. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance to see a Regina concert again. Her music means so much to me, it would have been amazing if she’d bothered even just to come out and wave. Tell us that she was too cold, but thanks for coming. Thanks for paying for her warm tour bus while we freeze our asses off outside.

Don’t get me wrong, the concert was amazing. Her music is beautiful. But there’s more to a performance than singing well or playing a piano. There’s an aspect of connecting with your fans. It’s the reason they spend so much money to see you. It’s the reason you have a job at all.

I hope she was just having a bad day, because I definitely lost a little bit of my love for Regina in Manchester last week.

Wordology

I’ve been listening to Regina Spektor’s Loveology on repeat today.

Porcupine-ology, antler-ology,
Car-ology, bus-ology,
Train-ology, plane-ology,
Mama-ology, papa-ology,
You-ology, me-ology, love-ology,
Kiss-ology, stay-ology, please-ology…

I’m sorry-ology,
Forgive me-ology,
Love-ology, love-ology…

I started thinking: what is the most powerful word in the English language? I mean, surely words have so much power - ask Plato, Ovid, Descartes, Marx. One word can represent so much to so many people. Words are dangerous and words can be our salvation. And words… their millions of different meanings that aren’t defined in a dictionary, that grow with a person and all they absorb from the culture around them… that’s what makes the difference between simply studying and truly understanding a language. That’s what I love about words, their very fluid nature.

How about faith? What does it mean? Religion? Taking chances? Trust? Leap of faith. Blind faith. It’s such a charged word - powerful for being misunderstood as much as understood.

What about please? Please stay, please don’t go, please help. Please.

Love? Surely one of the most loaded words in our vocabulary. We squeal I love you! from excitement to near strangers but hesitate at using the word with a partner. Because it means more then just affection, it means commitment. But that’s not in the dictionary definition at all.

Peace? If you’re living somewhere where war is a constant reality, surely peace is powerful. I mean, Augustus gained control of the entire Roman Empire with the words pax Romana - the Roman peace.

Or is war more powerful? Hate? Fear? Does power come from consequence? How about terrorism? That’s a word our media is happy to throw around in the last couple of decades, completely changing the meaning of words like insurgent and democracy.

Hate is constantly perpetrated by words. The first step to racism, homophobia, sexism and any bigotry is the creation of a word that separates one group from another. Just think about the power behind those words. Can any of them be matched by peace or equality or acceptance?

When I got my first tattoo I chose a word, because, for me, words are eternal. You can’t tire of a word because it’s meaning to you is always changing. Because it represents so much. I can think of at least five different things that the word imagine means to me right now, and a handful of others that it’s meant to me in the past.

I asked for a thesaurus for my birthday one year. I used to pick a word at random and just write about it. In poetry form, usually. Eventually, I would find a way to bring my exploration of the word back to the way I was feeling that day. It wasn’t hard, because it’s all in how you interpret it.

So, I ask you, what do you think is the most powerful word in the English language?

Far

You know when you love an artist, but you haven’t liked them long enough that you’ve been around for a new CD release? You download/buy/steal everything that they did up until that point and anxiously await the new.

And then somehow their new stuff just isn’t good enough to live up to your expectations?

It’s happened to me so many times and so I was worried about the new Regina Spektor CD, Far. What if I hated it? Regina Spektor, to me, is God.

Luckily, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed. It came out yesterday and it’s just as wonderful as I wanted it to be.

Man of a Thousand Faces

Listening to Regina Spektor is an intense experience for me. Like reading a good book, it takes me time to think about it and process it. I once listened to Braille on repeat for an entire day. I’ve been known to put Samson on repeat too.

So far, my favourite of her new songs are Calculations and One More Time with Feeling. But I rediscover Regina songs, new and old, all the time.

Hold on, one more time with feeling.
Try it again, breathing’s just a rhythm.
Say it in your mind until you know that the words are right,
This is why we fight.

The sound of heaven shaking…

I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning - not because it’s so early, but because it was raining. I love lying in bed when it’s raining outside. Not in a “I don’t want to go out” way, but in a listening to the soothing rhythm of the rain drops and remembering way.

When I lived in Ireland, it rained almost everyday. I used to lie in bed far too late in the mornings, listening to the rain against the huge window over my bed. I was only there four months, and I only had one suitcase. Ireland didn’t always feel like home. But it did when it rained. I love rain. Those days rainy days you’re always saving for.

And it was raining cats and dogs out side of her window
And she knew they were destined to become
Sacred road kill on the way
And she was listening to the sound of heavens shaking
Thinking about puddles, puddles and mistakes…

everything must come and go…

Have I ever mentioned how much I adore Regina Spektor?

Again the sun was never called
And darkness spreads over the snow
Like ancient bruises
I’m awake and feel the ache
I’m awake and feel the ache
But I wish I’d see a field below
.