After Miranda and her two male accompanists had shambled offstage, the energy in the room shot up even higher, until Tegan and Sara strolled onstage casually dressed, respectively, in a boat-necked striped shirt and bright blue pants and a boyish twill shirt over jeans. They immediately invited the audience to "go ahead and stand up." We did, and the twins dove right into "The Ocean," a track off their most recent album, 2009's Sainthood. Their live show soon destroyed any notion that Tegan and Sara's twinhood works merely as a gimmick -- instead, it proved a key element of their distinctive sound. Throughout the night, their identical voices fused seamlessly, weaving in and out to create the effect of an electronic mixer ... without one.
The roughly two-hour set skewed new (leaning heavily on tracks from Sainthood and 2004's So Jealous), but the girls made sure to crack open some old chestnuts as well. "We haven't played this one live in years," Sara announced, before they broke into "Monday Monday Monday," off their sophomore album, 2002's If It Was You. "We'll just see how it goes," her sister added. The crowd went apeshit for fan-favorites like "Alligator" and "Where Does the Good Go?" -- following the latter, a soused bro-type in front of me bellowed "That was classic Tegan and Sara!" into his girlfriend's ear. I don't think he was kidding.
Between songs, the girls kept it chatty, sharing anecdotes from their childhood -- Sara loved Motown when she was 8; Tegan dreamed of taking care of polar bears in the Yukon -- and waxing (methinks not-so-seriously) introspective. Sara said she thought they might've been better off pursuing R&B. "All the R&B singers i respect are ... " she began, before Tegan saucily interjected, "Closeted?" No, Sara argued, very "sexual and feminine," which she claims are traits she lacks. "You chose your outfit, my friend," Tegan heckled, drawing laughs from the audience.
Before plunging into "You Wouldn't Like Me," Tegan and Sara took a moment to give props to their all-male backing band, who by this time had all but faded into the background as the twins dominated the stage. "Nice to meet you, I mean, see you," Sara joked to guitarist/keyboardist Ted Gowans, before introducing him, drummer Johnny Andrews, and bassist Shaun Huberts to the crowd. After finishing the song to enormous applause, they cleared the stage briefly, only to return moments later for not one but five encores.
Tegan and Sara played their encore without their band, armed only with their vocals and tandem keyboards. First up was "Back in Your Head," a song the group of girls behind me had been screaming for all evening. They rounded out the night with tracks off four separate studio albums and a particularly awesome acoustic version of "Feel It In My Bones," a song they recorded with Dutch DJ and trance artist Ti ësto (I'd hazard to say this rendition worked much better sans the thumping dance beat of the original). When the sister act finally left the stage for good, the audience shared a communal sigh. Perhaps we were all just a little bit in love.