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Tegan and Sara at Massey Hall

Posted by Roger Cullman / January 21, 2010

Tegan and Sara at Massey HallTegan and Sara were clearly giddy to be on stage at Massey Hall for the very first time, as were their fans.

"Thanks for letting us kick off the show with some new stuff," greeted Sara Quin, one half of the identical twin duo, a few songs into their set. "Only the best for Massey Hall."

Indeed, playing Toronto's Massey Hall is somewhat of a coup for Tegan and Sara, finally coming to grips with their newfound success, now 12 years and six albums strong. Judging from the crowd of predominantly androgynous female 20-somethings, they're still winning younger, newer fans en route.

Tegan and Sara at Massey HallBefore their two-hour show, which included many asides and stories told by mostly Tegan, there was much abuzz at the merch table downstairs. A lineup five deep continued beyond the velvet-roped stanchions and trailed up the stairs was seldom seen in the venue.

Some of the excitement was over five-dollar posters, the proceeds of which will go to Doctor's Without Borders to help Haiti's earthquake disaster relief efforts.

Tegan and Sara at Massey HallTegan joked with her sister after the song as Sara had to tune her guitar after "blowing her load" too quickly, creating a false start with the opening strums of Walking With a Ghost from 2004's So Jealous album.

It didn't take long before hordes of fans decided to rush down the aisles and crowd in front of the stage, eager to get a closer look at their musical heroines. Maybe one fan got a little pissed off that her view was being obstructed. Maybe it was a grudge over the last Sainthood hoodie. Or perhaps these fans have learned how not to put up with annoying fans who sing along too loud at shows. But several songs in, I took a break and headed down to the restroom, only to notice a young woman in the foyer with a bloodied nose, complaining that a drunk girl had "skulled" (head-butted) her.

Back In Your Head, indeed.

Three patrons had already been escorted out of the show, according to one usher. "It's usually the country and blues acts that get rowdy." I guess not all the younger fans had their parents chaperoning them.

"I'm having a really nice time up here," said Sara, taking some time in between songs to let us know just how she felt. "This is going to sound cheesy -- and I'm on my period right now -- but it's great to play in front of all my friends from high school. I'm just so glad to be having that moment with you."

Tegan likened her sister's diatribe to the speeches given at the recent Golden Globe Awards, where they only get a few seconds before they yank the microphone. But she said she'd be happy to let her go on and on ad nauseam, and the audience didn't seem to mind.

My favourite storytelling moment was when Tegan retold a story about Sara's first date with a boy named Robbie when she was eight years old. Meanwhile, Tegan was "dating" a boy named Scott, who looked a lot like Robbie. "People could hardly tell us apart," said Tegan. "Being a teenager is hard. But being eight and a lesbian is really hard."

Tegan and Sara at Massey HallTegan and Sara gave a five-song encore, including heart-felt dedication of the penultimate song, Call It Off, to another famous pair of Canadian singing sisters, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, in honour of Kate's death the morning before their concert. "There's nobody I'd rather spend touring with than my sister," said Sara.

Tegan and Sara took turns singing lead and harmonies, also playing guitar and keyboards throughout the night. The rest of the band, which included a trio of guitar (Ted Gowans), bass (Shaun Huberts) and drums (Johnny Andrews), pretty much laid back and let the girls carry the show.

The backdrop was a pretty plain, colour-by-numbers sort of design. And the stage lighting, while a tad too bright and in-your-face at times, often added some welcome bursts of colour to the stage.

Tegan and Sara at Massey HallI bet the security was a little more beefed up for Tegan and Sara's second of two nights in Toronto, when they played the Kool Haus last night. They're not quite the Indigo Girls of Generation Y, as I was starting to surmise.

Photos by Roger Cullman.



Lauren / January 21, 2010 at 10:12 am
FYI, Walking With a Ghost was from 2004's So Jealous, not 1997. ;)
M-PC / January 21, 2010 at 11:26 am
they were amazing at kool haus last night. it's funny that this time around tegan is the talker—sara was definitely the star last time they were here (danforth music hall). also, during our show, in the middle of "where does the good go," tegan stopped the song, had the house lights shine on the left bit of the crowd and asked a really drunk, rowdy, pushy fan be taken to the back with a security guard. they probably weren't so nice to him and kicked him out entirely though.
Michael replying to a comment from M-PC / January 21, 2010 at 11:31 am
I got that entire exchange on video and will be posting it on youtube later this evening.
d / January 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm
be sure to post the link to video on here michael...
JM / January 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm
At 30 I certainly felt like the oldest fan in the crowd on Tuesday night. Sorry to hear that a fan got clocked by a drunk girl. It is nice to hear that T&S made an effort on Wed to ease escort the other drunk girl out. Its not fair for the people who actually are there to enjoy the music and the experience.
Concert was great! Call it Off was amazing.
bogdan / January 21, 2010 at 01:05 pm
This is the kind of music i live for. Thanks Sara<a rel="dofollow" href=""; title="asigurari auto"><img src=" auto" alt="asigurari auto" hspace="2" vspace="2" border="0" /></a><a rel="dofollow" href=""; title="piese auto"><img src=" auto" alt="piese auto" hspace="2" vspace="2" border="0" /></a>

?? / January 21, 2010 at 02:10 pm
Which one is on the keyboards in that last pic?
She has a nice looking chest.
James / January 21, 2010 at 02:17 pm
Massey Hall can be a difficult venue for an artist to bring to life. Many shows there fall flat if the audience is not engaged by the artist. I'm pleased to state that Tuesday's show was an exception. It was simply one of the best Massey Hall shows I've seen in years.

At least the balcony I saw a good variety of people there. While there was a generous number of (cute) 20-somethings there fair number of 30s and 40s too.

Roger replying to a comment from Lauren / January 21, 2010 at 02:47 pm
Thanks, Lauren. The review now reflects the correct date. :)
Roger replying to a comment from ?? / January 21, 2010 at 02:48 pm
While they're sometimes hard to tell apart, Tegan was on the left side of the stage throughout the night, as in that photo.
?? / January 21, 2010 at 03:13 pm
Either way, still nice looking chest.
Roger replying to a comment from ?? / January 21, 2010 at 03:35 pm
Is that all you think about?
?? / January 21, 2010 at 03:44 pm
regarding this topic, yes.
not too fond of their music.

this is an open forum, correct?
ncd / January 21, 2010 at 08:55 pm
great review. i was at the show and this was a good summary of what went down.
jealous that you were able to take a wide variety of photos!
soundcheck replying to a comment from Michael / January 21, 2010 at 09:59 pm
you definitely need to post the link here too, that exchange was hilarious. If you're going to be badass and get kicked out...might as well be from one of the lead singers.
Seco / December 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm
She has a nice looking ...
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