My anticipation seems to follow a pattern. I get excited for a future event too far in advance, but eventually I’m forced to accept that I have weeks or months to wait. Then I distract myself so effectively that the event itself sneaks up on me. That was the case with the Tegan and Sara concert at First Avenue. I was pumped when I bought my tickets in December, but the three months until March 6 felt like an eternity. Then suddenly, it was one week, and then one day away!
I saw Tegan and Sara back in 2010 at the Orpheum Theatre. I knew that my second experience would be very different because First Avenue is a standing venue. Considering their dance-oriented new album, this change seemed appropriate. I decided to really embrace the experience, arrive early and stake out a spot close to the stage. My roommate Katie graciously agreed to this plan. Many other fans had the same idea, but after waiting in line for twenty minutes, we managed to get within five or six rows of the stage, slightly to the right. (Or as I called it, “the Sara side of the stage.”)
I learned a little about myself from standing in the crowd. I don’t really consider myself claustrophobic, but I do have a personal space bubble. The crowd filled in around us until it would have been an ordeal to get to the bathroom and back. In preparation for the heat and the crowd, I wore just a tank top under my coat, with the unforeseen side effect that my bare arms came into contact with many strangers. I found that sensation surprisingly unpleasant.
All that faded into the background when Tegan and Sara took the stage. It was worth brushing against strangers to see one of my favorite bands up close. They opened with a spirited rendition of “Back In Your Head,” followed by another old favorite, “Walking With A Ghost.” The setlist included all ten songs off the new album. Judging by the crowd’s reaction, fans are embracing Heartthrob and excited to hear the new songs. One of the highlights was dancing and singing along to “Closer,” the last song before the encore.
Although I love them as a band above all else, I have always been more of a Tegan loyalist. Blame it on standing on her side of the stage, but I left the concert with a new appreciation for Sara. For one thing, she just looked rad in a cropped leather jacket and leggings. More importantly, she wrote some of the most powerful songs on Heartthrob. Seeing her belt out “How Come You Don’t Want Me” and “Now I’m All Messed Up” was spine-tingling.
I might think twice before wading back into the First Avenue pit, but I definitely don’t regret this experience. I sang along (quietly) with “The Con,” arguably my favorite Tegan and Sara song ever. I took some quality concert photos. And I got a little bit closer to two artists whom I deeply admire.