Music Monday :: a love letter to Tegan and Sara’s live shows

10 Oct

So, I’ve (drift partner) been in about a thousand church services and worship sessions in my life. I grew up going to church once a week and my entire school career was spent in religious schools that had at least weekly chapel services. I say this to highlight the fact that this concert felt more like a religious experience to me than any of those services. There were hundreds of queer women in this building, all singing and dancing their hearts out, and even though I didn’t know all the words and I hate dancing, I felt like I was part of a community. I felt at home.

And while I haven’t got exactly that same frame of reference (my church history is slightly more sporadic and the majority of my church experiences were more, being quite honest, tame boring white people stuff) I can wholeheartedly agree. Concerts often have a sense of belonging involved (hey, isn’t it nice? We all like this!) but it’s rarely been this personal. It was a huge theater but it felt remarkably intimate.

We are talking about Tegan and Sara.

This was the single gayest space I (drift partner) have ever been in, and I went to Pride earlier this year. (Which was also great! But not as condensed.) There were so many wlw! All over! Wearing plaid flannel and vests and patches and mohawks and literally any other article of clothing you associate with lesbians. (There was also a small dog with a pink mohawk, which I wanted to get a picture of but couldn’t manage to.) And every single one of them knew exactly what was going to happen the instant Tegan and Sara got on that stage.

Hilariously, there were also some (by all appearances) cishet men in the crowd as well, most of whom looked as if they were dragged by their girlfriends, wives, and/or daughters and most of whom looked mildly puzzled by it all. The gentleman seated next to me seemed to get into it eventually – he started tapping his foot about ¾ of the way through the show. His female companion, on his other side, was totally engaged, so it was obvious which of the two actually wanted to come. I don’t mean to be rude, but the palpable sense of “huh?” was awfully funny.

There were definite moments. With some Tegan and Sara songs, you can (sort of) forget they’re outrageously lesbian people. They’re just songs. “I Was Married,” for goodness’ sake, written well before the recent uptick in the notability of queer weddings. But with some songs, it’s like they’re just slamming you over the head with how absolutely gay they are – and it’s the most beautiful thing. Rainbow lights flashing in squares on the stage floor and in the background as they bounce around and the lyrics go “all the girls I loved before told me they signed up for more, save your first and last chance for me I don’t need a white wedding,” particularly, felt like this glorious wlw version of what the proverbial teenybopper is meant to feel at a boyband concert. It was unapologetic and colorful and upbeat and the presumably cishet men looked so uncomfortable. Exactly, I imagine, what I look like listening to a lot of pop songs written by cishet men, in fact. It was a super fun concert, but the role reversal aspect also made it fascinating.

Shura opened for them, and I was only familiar with one of her songs (this one), but I’m interested in checking out the rest of her album based on the live performances. I think maybe her stuff plays better if you’re closer to the stage, because it seems to be pretty lyrics-based and I couldn’t make out very much of it, but I enjoyed listening to the live stuff anyway. She seems charming and British, so.

Also, Tegan and Sara’s backup band was definitely all dressed like Todd Ingram. It was mildly distracting at points, though in a funny way.

Also, boy it’s fun to be all snuggly on one’s lady friend at a concert and not have the vague sense that the disapproving mother of twelve-year-olds is glaring at you.

–your fangirl heroines.



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