When it comes to Tegan and Sara’s fans, one thing is certain: They don’t mess around. The Quin twins’ May 12 show at Terminal 5 in New York sold out well in advance, and fans were lined up outside the venue by noon, which led to security having to let the crowd in early.
Tegan said she never expected to sell out a NY before the day of the gig, and Sara said the city used to make her nervous. “I used to hate playing in New York,” Sara admitted to the audience before rambling about a recent dream she had. Aside from their flawless musical delivery, it’s the quirky crowd banter, awkward silences and poking fun at each other that really make Tegan and Sara’s live performance.
Sara explained she first intended to use “Walking With A Ghost” — the acoustic guitar-driven track that helped get the band on the map — as part of a children’s album she wanted to record. Eyes wide, she imitated her friend who laughed and said it wasn’t a good song for kids… maybe because the idea of “walking with a ghost” might be a bit too scary for them. A couple of songs later, Tegan made fun of her sister’s anecdote by joking that one of her own songs, “Take Me Anywhere,” also was supposed to be written for youngsters.
While the Canadian duo took those songs and others from 2004’s “So Jealous,” half of the set came from last year’s “The Con,” beginning with “Dark Come Soon” and the album’s title track. Backed by a three-piece band, each song had every element of the studio recording, from the dance beats and echoes in “Are You Ten Years Ago” to the haunting keys in “Like O, Like H.” Three guitars plowed through “I Bet It Stung,” accordion-like synths pulsed steadily in “So Jealous.”
Another fascinating element to Tegan and Sara’s live show is the synchronization of their guitar-playing, vocals and even facial expressions. In the raw, punchy “Speak Slow,” the twins together sang “So ah-alone, so ah ah-alone” while strumming the same guitar chords and jerking their heads in unison, both with hair in their faces. Later they rapidly spit out lyrics to “Hop a plane” from “The Con.”
Throughout the show, the girls had the opportunity, too, to explain their quirks when it comes to dating (Tegan used to pretend to talk on the phone whenever a girl she liked came to her house) and their search for acceptance while growing up. With such personal ease, it’s easy to see why their fans love them so much: They’re not afraid to show that yes, they are real people too.
Here is Tegan and Sara’s setlist:
“Dark Come Soon”
“Burn Your Life Down”
“Walking with a Ghost”
“Like O, Like H”
“Take Me Anywhere”
“I Bet It Stung”
“Are You Ten Years Ago”
“Call It Off”
“When I Get Up”
“Where Does the Good Go?”
“Relief Next to Me”
“Hop a Plane”
“Back in Your Head”
“Fix You Up”