As promised in my 14 Days Top Six for our Feb. 21 print edition, here’s a recap of an anecdote I wrote as part of our Regina Folk Festival coverage last August concerning a 2003 appearance by Tegan & Sara at the festival:
Some great acts had been booked, including Jane Siberry, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, Painting Daisies and Tegan & Sara. Unfortunately, on the eve of the festival — Thursday, Aug. 14 at 4:10 p.m. EST to be exact — a massive power outage hit the northeastern and midwestern U.S., along with Ontario. For nearly a day, an estimated 45 million Americans in eight states and ten million Ontarians were without power. Among the cities affected were New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit and Toronto.
Life, at least as we understand it in a modern world, ground to a halt. Factories and offices shut down, people were forced to survive a stifling heat wave without conveniences like air conditioning, refrigerators and the Internet, and airplanes at dozens of airports were grounded. You can imagine the monkey wrench that threw into the travel plans of musicians who were booked to play the festival. But as many headaches as that surely caused for a ton of people, it also resulted in a special festival.
My most vivid memory is of Tegan & “Sara’s” mainstage performance on Friday night. The Calgary-born twins were based in Vancouver then, but Sara had recently moved to Montreal. Flying in from Vancouver, Tegan had no trouble getting to Regina. But with no connecting flights out of Toronto, Sara was stuck at home.
As anyone who has seen the twins live knows, they rely heavily on each other when on stage, both for vocal harmonies and the banter they engage in between songs. To help overcome her understandable jitters at performing solo, Tegan fashioned a cardboard cutout of her sister and set it up on stage beside her. Throughout the set, she chatted with it like she ordinarily would with Sara, and totally won the crowd over with her talent, charm and courage.
Tonight, assuming their travel plans unfold smoothly, Tegan & Sara will be in town to play a concert at Conexus Arts Centre. (8 p.m., tickets $24.50 and $32.50.) To give you a taste of what they’ve been up to lately, here’s the video for the first single off their 2013 album Heartthrob called “Closer”: