Regina Spektor at Rady Shell

In a delightful double bill at the gorgeous Rady Shell on the San Diego Bay, two accomplished musicians presented songs across from their deep songbooks. The headliner Norah Jones and her consummate band performed an array of tracks across her storied career. The delivery was lush and comfortable.

Spektor’s opening set by contrast was more angular. Accompanying herself on piano, she dipped into songs from her acclaimed new album Home, before and after.

With recent appearances on NPR, Stephen Colbert and the New Yorker Radio Hour, Spektor’s album had only just been released by the time she took the stage in San Diego. Nonetheless, she assayed the older and newer songs with aplomb.

Having left Moscow with her family at an early age, she addressed the elephant in the room and acknowledged the pain underway in Ukraine.

Of her new songs, “Spacetime Fairytale” hit home:

My mind is full of melodies
They search for homes inside of me
Like begging, pleading refugees
But I can’t find the time

I know there’s no such thing as time
I know there’s no such thing as mine
I try to calm and still the rising tide

Pages burn but words return
Just watch the flames and you will learn
Pages burn but words return
Just watch the flames and you will learn

A dozen years ago no less a master of song than Peter Gabriel selected one of Spektor’s songs for his Scratch My Back album of covers, putting her in the company of Paul Simon, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Lou Reed, Neil Young and Randy Newman.

As for being back on the road, Spektor recently stated:

Q: Concerts are such an important part of how you connect with an audience. What has the absence from live performance been like for you?

A: I just miss it so much. It’s been too long, and I’m dreaming of these shows.

Spektor’s tour continues through early October, concluding with a return to SoCal at Disney Concert Hall. Dates here.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.