“The emotional turmoil, the boyfriends that were never right, the journal entries – so much of this show resonated with me”
BY DEBS BAIRD. IMAGE TEGAN & SARA, HIGH SCHOOL.
Illinois, USA. 15 October 2019: Neon bursts of nostalgia blasted through me as soon as the twin sisters took to the stage. I immediately sensed this was going to be a trip.
You see, I too was a teenager in the 90s – and a closeted lesbian one at that – and so, as the curtains drew, I buckled up and braced for impact…
Opening the show the sisters asked us to listen to a few ground rules. I respected their authority straight away and realised, in that moment, this was a huge part of teenage me that I’d let go of. We were asked to put away our phones as if it was the actual 90s and only use the bathroom during musical moments. This was to be an intimate show.
So much of this show resonated with me so deeply that I felt it could have almost been me on that stage, or at least my story being told. The emotional turmoil, the boyfriends that were never right, the journal entries, the eventual coming out, the LSD – and the hiding things from parents.
Tegan and Sara have a connection that is so unique, it’s enthralling to watch. It’s what grabbed me initially when I started to listen to their music back in 2008. That and an innate desire to earn my queer culture brownie badge, post-break up from my first long-term love. It’s not even the twin thing, it’s the twin lesbian, Canadian, songwriting, musically-talented thing, which some might describe as “niche.”
This gig was an unplugged affair featuring an array of guitars and a solo piano. Tegan and Sara switched between the instruments seamlessly, both equally talented when it comes to the strings and the ivories.
They’d read an excerpt from their memoirs then they’d sing a song, many from their new album, Hey, I’m Just Like You which was written by them in the 90’s, when they were “Sara & Tegan.” The album itself has a recognisable influence from the 90s grunge scene, to me at least, and reflects a lot of the rocky sounds that were so prevalent when we were teens.
They also performed some crowd pleasers including So Jealous – a particular favourite of mine from their 2014 album of the same name. All of this was sprinkled with some unbelievable camcorder footage of the twins from their teenage years, intimate conversations captured on VCR by their then-girlfriends, all whilst remaining in the closet. Fascinating to watch.
If you’re new to these talented twins, then you’ll be hard pressed not to be drawn in by this particular tour. It is grass roots storytelling at it’s finest, stripped down to the bone and revealing a vulnerability we can all relate to in one way or another.
Catch them at their three UK tour dates this November 2019
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