An Evening with Tegan & Sara

January 29th, 2013 by Christa Constantine


50ffdc63f1c3c.preview-300A flat tire, three broken brake lines, and four hours of traffic – the Universe really didn’t want me, an avid Tegan & Sara fan, to attend their concert in Richmond this weekend. Somehow, I made it to the National at seven ‘o’ clock on the nose – right when the doors opened – in time to purchase a t-shirt, order a gin and tonic, and sit up in the seats with all of the other L.o.T.’s – Lesbians Over Twenty-One.

It was my second time seeing the band live in concert, and the audience demographic hasn’t changed much: lesbians with half-shaved heads, lesbians with labret piercings, a random dad and his ten-year-old son, lesbians wearing visors, and hipsters in plaid. I’m all-too-aware that, after only 122 words, the word “lesbian” appears five times. It’s true, the twins have a reputation for attracting a certain crowd, but it only serves to create an incredibly tight-knit community of mutual worshippers and makes the shows all the more enjoyable.

One demographic that was not represented, however, was the casual Tegan & Sara fan. As they’re debuting their new album, Heartthrob, the setlist was twenty-four songs long, with a three song encore. They were onstage for a good two and a half hours, finally having enough material to be able to do so. And each minute was just as glorious as the last.

Tegan and Sara Quin, along with their new six-piece band, began their set with a classic, “Back In Your Head,” off of their 2007 album The Con, arguably their best and most successful album to date. They played eight songs from that record alone, including crowd favorites “The Con” and “Call It Off,” while drawing more modestly from their more recent release, Sainthood, which hit the shelves in 2009. Among the Sainthood performances was “Hell” and “Alligator,” performed in the style of the remix by Passion Pit.

In addition to their classic playlist, the indie-turned-synth-pop duo played all ten tracks off of their new release – truly an album debut if there ever was one. Even as a fan, I was skeptical of Heartthrob’s departure from Tegan & Sara’s indie-folk style. It seemed too – how to put it – Alicia Keys, what with the somber piano motif prominent in “I Was a Fool” and the R&B-esque vocal harmonies that dominate “Now I’m All Messed Up.” But the performance, a masterful display of Tegan & Sara’s natural onstage charisma, was instrumental in solidifying Heartthrob as the next step in the band’s evolution, rather than a deviation from their signature style… at least in the eyes of their fans.

Perhaps the most anticipated aspect of this first show on Heartthrob’s tour schedule was the twins’ onstage banter, of which there was certainly no shortage. Although visibly nervous about the new album’s debut (Tegan reminded fans that they still have six other albums out at the end of the show), the Canadian duo managed to poke fun at Virginians’ conduct in the presence of an inch of snow – the insufferable deterrent to my punctual arrival at the venue –, scold an unruly fan for throwing a beer on others (“This isn’t Warped Tour! You’re at a Tegan & Sara concert!” was Tegan’s reprimand), and open a dialogue with perhaps the only male fan in the audience… who began removing his clothing mid-conversation. Concert debauchery? Not quite. Charming? Absolutely.

Heartthrob is in stores today.

Tegan & Sara, The National, Richmond, VA, January 25, 2013 setlist:
Back In Your Head | I’m Not Your Hero | I Was A Fool | Goodbye, Goodbye | Arrow |Knife Going InSoil, SoilBurn Your Life DownWhere Does the Good GoWalking With a GhostHellSo JealousShock To Your SystemHow Come You Don’t Want Me | Love They Say | Not Tonight/I’m On Fire | Nineteen | The Con | Living Room | Alligator (Passion Pit Remix) | Drove Me Wild | I Couldn’t Be Your Friend | Now I’m All Messed Up | Closer | Encore: Dark Come Soon | Call It Off Feel It In My Bones




2 Responses

  1. Gail says:

    Well done!

  2. Tiffy says:

    Sounded like a great concert. I have always been a fan of Tegan & Sara so hopefully they’ll be visiting Australia soon!

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