Concert Review: We all must love Tegan and Sara…

By James Koslowski

“Sorry, you’re not on the guest list,” mumbles the tall dark figure while shuffling through papers.

“I’m with The Gauntlet,” I plead, “I interviewed Lindy, tonight’s opener.”

“Nope, not on the list.” He cautiously peers at me with suspicion. A distinct odour of alcohol wafts through the air, “I’ll have to go and ask Lindy if he knows you. Just wait here for a bit.”

He says he’ll ask Lindy, but makes no movement to the stairs. My friend and I anxiously await his verdict as streams of paying patrons eagerly shuffle through the gate. The holder of the list ushers a dark-haired woman who happens to be on the list past the beefy SU security goons. After stammering and stalling for a few more minutes, he finally finds my name misspelled on the sheet he checked only moments earlier. It all becomes clear. The threat to check with Lindy was a bluff, a test to see if I actually was on the list or a crazed fan trying to sneak in under the cover of a clever concoction of gumption and Gauntlet connections.

Once inside, we slip past the merchandise table as the opening act, a relatively obscure artist named Lindy takes the stage. Lindy’s mellow well-written blend of roots and rock warms up the crowd and sets the stage for Tegan and Sara. Hundreds of blinding flashes emitted by smuggled digital cameras expose the duo in a strobe-light-inducing epileptic euphoria.

Carried by strong song writing, Tegan and Sara put out a solid performance despite an unbalanced sound mix. Their vocals, for much of the show, are drowned out by an overpowering guitar and keyboard. The few mistakes in the songs are jarring, but an out-of-tune guitar allows Sara the opportunity to spend ten or fifteen minutes in a confession of her sate of mind. The audience, anxiously hanging off every word, listens intently as Sara reveals how her recent 25th birthday brought fears of ageing to the forefront of her mind. She also confesses their performances in front of hometown crowds (Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary) are often plagued with difficulties-a foreshadowing of what is to come.

The second interruption to the musical flow occurs when Tegan makes a mistake on “So Jealous”, the title track to their latest album. Sara tried to continue, but stops the song to restart. Thankfully, the music doesn’t keep playing off a track like the Ashley Simpson embarrassment when she performed on Saturday Night Live. What followed was a series of re-attempts to get the song right with subsequent mistakes.

The rare insight into Tegan and Sara’s personalities, as well as the insight into their relationship, easily compensates any mistakes they make during the concert. Any insight that offers information into the persons on stage helps bridge the gap between the viewer and the viewed. The audience becomes aware that performers, formerly known only through CDs and music videos, are real people with the same hopes and fears we all share.

Tegan and Sara’s rapport reveals an honest, critically constructive and, at times, impatient relationship bound by the law of sibling love. Tegan and Sara could do no wrong in this audience’s eyes. Their evident musical mastery and their onstage vulnerability combine to make the concert an enjoyable and memorable event for all.

Check out the Photo Gallery of pictures taken by Ken Clarke!

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