It’s not that I wasn’t excited for Sunday night’s show because I was most certainly was. It was more that being able to see The Distillers on Friday night for the first time ever meant so much to me that really nothing else mattered… at least it didn’t until I sat in my seat at The Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul on Sunday night and watched two women speak openly about their trials and tribulations in this thing called life. Sure, rocking out to The Distillers was amazing but I think last night’s Tegan & Sara show may have taken the cake for my favorite show of the week.
Tegan Rain Quin and Sara Keirsten Quin have literally saved the lives of thousands of people. Their honesty and candidness has never been lost on their fans and although I never got huge into this Canadian duo’s music, I have never denied their strength and power as females, performers, and all around just good people. Having never seen this duo live before, I honestly didn’t know what to expect but, after hearing a story they did on NPR, I knew that this current tour was not going to be like a normal one. Part of me was bummed but another part of me was intrigued. The show on Sunday night was part of a tour in support of their memoir High School and their newest album ‘Hey, I’m Just Like You’. The brilliance behind this album is the idea that the twins took songs that they wrote when they were teenagers and just barely tweaked them to make the recordable. I knew I was going to hear some of my tried and true favorite Tegan & Sara songs when walking into the beautiful theatre last night but I was almost more excited to see them play through the songs that they wrote years ago when things were much different.
The audience was all over the place as far as demographic goes but the one thing everyone in the Fitzgerald Theater last night had in common was a desire to just feel free and be in a safe space with no judgement and no fears. That’s exactly what the atmosphere was throughout the night which meant that the already meaningful show had a whole new feeling of endearment and passion added onto it. It was clear that people were excited for the show but they all stayed polite to the point where, after the first reading from the memoir, Sara had to remind the audience that it was okay to clap after both the readings and the songs. The audience’s deafening silence was broken by hearty laughs which, after just a couple of minutes from the twins taking the stage, showed me that the show was going to be a rollercoaster of emotions but also an absolutely stunning night.
The way the show was laid out was perfect. First a little reading from the memoir, then a song, then a reading, then a song… it made the night feel like it was moving way too fast but clearly kept the audience engaged and craving whatever was going to come next. Throughout the evening, little snippets of home videos would be played on a giant screen that hung from the back of the stage. At times the videos were cringe-worthy whether it was the girls’ haircuts or some of the thing they were saying that even had them laughing. I loved it. The audience loved it. These videos proved that Tegan and Sara were not just born these beautiful musicians and advocates for the LGBTQ+ world, they were once just angsty teenagers who were beyond confused about everything going on around them. You literally saw and heard them have those inner fights we all have and struggle with self-worth and self care in the videos, the readings, and the songs. To say it humanized the duo would be an understatement as would saying that, by the end of the night, I felt like I had been friends with Tegan, Sara, and the rest of the audience for years, not just acquaintances for the night.
The thirteen song set lasted nearly two hours. There wasn’t a single moment throughout the night when I wasn’t feeling something. Whether it was relating to the words the women said when reminiscing about their teenage years, the banter between the two when one of them would mess up a song, or the lyrics from the songs that had helped me through countless sleepless nights. The honestly, transparency and love that both Tegan and Sara showed from the stage was something unlike anything I had ever seen a performer do and honestly, it’s something I hope I get to see more of. I can only imagine how much strength and conviction it takes to do what Tegan and Sara are doing on this tour but they are doing it in such a beautiful way that I hope they never stop.
There were a lot of things to take away from last night’s performance but the biggest thing for me was the idea that you can’t hide from your past or ignore it. You are who you are because of your past and, although it may take time, you have to get to a point where you realize that your past is what made you and there’s nothing to be embarrassed by.
I can not thank Tegan and Sara enough for the beautiful Sunday night.
Set List: Hey I’m Just Like You/ Don’t Believe The Things They Tell You (They Lie)/ Keep Them Close ‘Cause They Will Fuck You too/ I’ll Be Back Someday/ Boyfriend/ Divided/ I Was A Fool/ Call It Off/ Closer/ Back In Your Head/ White Knuckles/ Please Help Me/ Where Does The Good Go