NEW YORK — Regina Spektor has a cold — or as she calls it, “a nondescript New York disease.” The singer is onstage at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York headlining a benefit concert for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, or HIAS, which helped resettle her family in New York more than 20 years ago.
Though the crowd, which includes Spektor’s parents, calls out words of encouragement, Spektor is struggling. She gulps water between songs, suppresses little coughs and refers more than once to the mysterious Russian health tonic she downed in an effort to ready herself for the performance.
“It was one of those things where anyone in their sane mind would have canceled,” Spektor says later. “It was just such an important show for me. Everybody had been working on it for so long, all the HIAS people, and all the tickets were sold out. It was just a cause that was so important to me.”