We parked the car far away so that we wouldn’t have to pay for parking. The weather was mild, about 5 degrees at 7pm. We traipsed through the U of C campus in search of the student centre and MacEwan Hall where the Tegan and Sara concert was to happen. It said the doors would open at 7, got there at 7:15 only to be met by the longest line on the planet. You probably don’t know how the U of C is laid out, but this line snaked from Mac Hall in the student centre all the way to the Kinesiology wing. Winding through the food court, down a flight of stairs, around corners and through skinny halls. Every time we took another turn we were met by more line.
“Is this line seriously for the Tegan and Sara concert?” we asked.
“Yep,” came the weary response.
So we joined it at the border of the Kinesiology wing and moved slowly for half an hour. It actually wasn’t so bad.
Once inside we realized this was a standing-only concert. I must admit, those are not my favourites. No chairs anywhere. So we found a spot along a wall and sat down to rest up our legs for the show. The crowd was a strange mix of University students, hipsters, tom boys, girls that looked ready for the club, couples in their 50s and children. Yep, I saw two little girls wearing tiny Tegan and Sara shirts running through the crowd arm in arm. Truly an all ages show.
The twins came on and the night was amazing. The sound quality was perfect – the songs were clear, loud enough (but not too loud), and you could distinctly hear their voices and the lyrics. So many times at bigger shows the music is done a disservice by the acoustics of a large venue or the mixing is bad. Not so for this show – they sounded incredible live.
I appreciated that they also sounded human. Sara messed up the lyrics at the beginning of one song, their voices were not perfect and sometimes they had trouble hitting higher notes. This wasn’t something that bothered me, but rather something that endeared them to me. Tegan and Sara have immense talent, but they’re also human. I love that they showed that. They’re also hilarious and told silly stories between songs and bantered back and forth like only twin sisters who also work together and are with each other constantly can do.
They played a great mix of songs – hits from previous albums, every track off their new album, a Prince cover and a medley of old old songs. When they sang a bit of Monday, Monday, Monday I was immediately transported back about 10 years to when I first loved that song. Strange how music makes you remember. When they busted out Closer, their hit single right now, I handed Theo my bag and let loose – dancing with the three girls in front of me who hadn’t quit since the start. Like at any good show, they welcomed me into the fold and we just danced. It was so fun.
We left with aching feet and aching backs, but not too much ringing in our ears. It was everything I’d hoped it would be.
So, here’s a little story:
Five years ago, around this time of the year, Theo and I started dating. In those early days we talked a lot about music – bands we liked, new music we’d just stumbled across, old favourites that we’ll always love. That summer Theo had just discovered Joel Plaskett, a guy from the east coast of Canada who knows how to rock. He suggested I pick up ‘Ashtray Rock,’ Joel’s album that had just come out that year.
Theo and I parted ways for much of the summer, keeping in contact via e-mail and (wince) Facebook. While I was back in Edmonton I picked up Ashtray Rock and, sweet Christmas, it changed a lot of things for me. I can put that album on and, to this day, be transported back to the summer of 2007 when everything was coming up Krista. It is one of my most cherished albums.
Tonight, 5 years almost to the date from that conversation in July, Theo and I saw The Joel Plaskett Emergency live. We braved the hot, sweaty and smelly Stampede crowds and rode the train downtown where we filed into a gigantic tent that had been set up in the middle of the impossibly tall skyscrapers. We shelled out 7 bucks (each!) for beer and snaked our way through the crowd of cowboy hats and plaid shirts to get a good view of the stage.
We ended up with a perfect spot on the floor, able to dance and sing and sway to Joel’s sweet beats. It was one of the best concerts I’ve been to in a while. It was even worth having two beers spilled all over me (it made the experience feel more authentic).
Joel, thanks for an amazing evening.
It’s way too hard to pick a favourite song, but here’s one he played tonight that I love a lot:
You can bet your bottom dollar that I danced my feet off to this one.
OK, fine, I’ll post one more: