I was not aware they could do assigned seating at the Theatre Corona, I don’t think that they were either as I witness so many spectators fumbling through the tiniest aisles to find their seat number, myself included. I’ll save you the headache of explaining how ridiculous and outdated that balcony is, but if they’re gonna continue to do events with assigned seats they need to organize that shit.
This was no ordinary concert experience; I’d hesitate to even use the word concert. Tegan and Sara were dually presenting their new album Hey, I’m Just Like You (released September 27th, 2019) as well as their memoir High School, which as its title suggests, focuses on their early teenage high school years. Truly it was one of the most unique presentations I’ve witnessed as Tegan and Sara split time between reading passages from their memoir, playing old home videos on the screen and playing acoustic versions of songs from the new album with a couple of older ones mixed in.
I think it’s important to mention that their new album was actually written back when they were in high school and just recently reworked and turned into an album. Their main focus through this process was to bring attention to that person we all were back in high school, not just themselves but the listeners as well. I think it was Tegan who mentioned during the set (cut me some slack, they’re identical twins!) that we often look back on who we were as a person then and undervalue our ideas and our creative process during those times, which she felt was a mistake and I agree wholeheartedly! I went in expecting to hear a lot of the new album but what I got was a whole lot more; a glimpse into the personal and challenging teenage years of two identical twin lesbian sisters, and what I ultimately learned was that my own personal challenges, struggles, and experiences as a straight male in high school were not entirely different from those of Tegan and Sara. There were members of the crowd crying and laughing at the same time and to me if you can illicit that reaction from a crowd during a performance, you are about as close to artistic perfection as you can get.
Tegan and Sara focused mainly on Hey, I’m Just Like You, opening with the title track followed by “Don’t Believe the Things They Tell (They Lie)” a song that digs into their more rebellious side, experimenting with drugs, lying, ditching school, severely relatable stuff. Many of the songs and passages spoke of early teenage relationships and sexual identity and though I have very different experiences from Tegan and Sara regarding those topics, the amazing thing I began to pick up on throughout this performance is how much commonality there actually was and how much we all share in similar human experiences as we shape ourselves and carve out an identity. We all go through heartbreak, we all have those moments where we think we aren’t good enough and we all go through the struggle of figuring out who exactly we are, especially in those formative teenage years.
With Tegan mainly on acoustic guitar and Sara on piano (though they would occasionally switch roles) we were treated to some older tracks, “Boyfriend,” “Back in Your Head,” and “Where Does the Good Go.” Again, it was such a unique and interesting experience to hear these songs we are all so familiar with, in a laid back and intimate way, with stories to lift them up and shine new light on them.
The only downer on the night for me was that I’ve been digging the new album pretty hardcore and didn’t get to hear the songs as they were recorded, with full electronics and drums. Second round of tour Tegan and Sara? All this teenage exuberance is giving me hope!
Written by Lee Ferguson
*edited by Danielle Kenedy