In their Meijer Gardens appearance on Thursday night, the Canadian twin sisters lived up to their billing as critically acclaimed pop stars and delivered a crowd-pleasing set as rain swept in. (Review, photo gallery)
One doesn’t wear a jacket onstage emblazoned with the world “VULVA” and not address it.
The Canadian pop duo Tegan and Sara have always worn their hearts — and their politics — on their sleeves, and this was pretty close to literal Tuesday night at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Amphitheater performance.
With all sorts of political elephants in the room, Tegan Quin and Sara Quin, identical twin sisters who have performed and recorded together professionally for nearly 20 years, acknowledged near the beginning of the set: “So things are weird in the world.”
This was Sara, the one in the “VULVA” jacket, speaking. Without going into specifics — beyond acknowledging the tragedy earlier in the day in Barcelona, and the recent events in Charlottesville, Va. — Sara made clear their show was a safe and inclusive space. Given the national mood, this might have been a tamer-than-expected message from a duo that has made a mission of bringing feminist solidarity and LGBTQ empowerment to mainstream pop audiences, but it was welcome nonetheless.
Tegan and Sara, in the final show of their touring cycle in support of 2016’s “Love You to Death” album, delivered a set that covered various phases of their career, most notably their 2007 indie breakthrough “The Con” (2007) and their 2013 pop breakthrough “Heartthrob.”
Joined by an airtight backing band on a stage decorated with giant “T & S” balloons, the performance was infectious, buoyant and conducive to between-song sisterly banter. The 90-minute set culminated with their two biggest hits, “Closer” and “Boyfriend,” delivered as a rainstorm swept through the venue.
The transition from indie darlings to mainstream pop stars is the sharpest of double-edged swords. In exchange for bigger stages and crowds, an act can shed a lot of what made it unique.
But few artists have walked this tightrope more deftly than Tegan and Sara, who have worked harder and longer than almost anybody for their time in the spotlight, sacrificing none of their integrity along the way.
The night opened with an energetic set by Grand Rapids’ own electronic pop/rock outfit AOK.
PHOTO GALLERY: Tegan and Sara, AOK at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Anthony Norkus
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC