There were two reasons for Tegan and Sara’s The Con X Tour. The first was that their album, The Con, was released 10 years ago. The album about was released during difficult times in their professional and personal life and addressed those difficulties. It also gave a huge push to their career. The second reason for The Con X Tour was to support their new project: Tegan and Sara Foundation. The foundation plans to support organizations that help LGBTQ girls and women in different aspects from health to representation. A portion of the ticket sales went to their organization and there was a booth in the lobby of the concert theater set up to raise additional funds for the organization. The LGBTQ community has supported Tegan and Sara in their careers and now, they’re giving back by supporting that same community.
The show began by playing the entirety of The Con in album order. During some banter between songs they revealed that they have only performed the album in its entirety (in order or backwards) only a handful of times and only during the initial tour for the album. They also revealed, that it was difficult for them to play songs from the album during that cycle due to events in happening in their lives at the time. However, they admit that 10 years adds a lot of experience and changes people and they have a very different perspective on this album than they did ten years ago.
The whole set was acoustic with Tegan on guitar, Sara mostly on keyboard, Tim on electric guitar and Gabriel on keyboard. I knew it was going to be an acoustic set but I stayed off social media so I wouldn’t get anything spoiled for me. I didn’t know whether the album was going to be played exactly like the album or if they were going to put a little more into the arrangement. They ended up doing a little bit of both. They kept the original structure of the songs with guitars, rhythm or distinct parts of certain songs. They also added to the additional structure, mostly keyboard, in a way that I felt held all the vocals and instruments together. It made it sound more full especially since they didn’t have drums.
On the album version of “Relief Next to Me” there was a little bit of synth and they did keep it when they performed it. In “Back in Your Head” parts of the stage and backdrop lit when certain part keyboard parts were played. One of my favorite songs on this album is “Are You Ten Years Ago” due to its irregular drumming and pacing. But without drums I did not know what to expect but ended up loving this arrangement specifically. I believe that this was the most un-acoustic song of the set. They added an electronic drum beat and keyboards that made it sound drone-y. In a way they made this song sound more like a synthpop song. Fans sang to the songs through the whole set but I didn’t really hear them until they got to “Call it Off”, one of the fan favorites.
The second part of the show was acoustic versions of old and new songs that they felt fits with The Con. They played songs off albums from Sainthood to their newest album Love You to Death. A fan favorite that that a few fans yelled for was “Living Room” which they did. I did not recognize one song,” Bad Ones” by Matthew Dear, which features Tegan and Sara. I researched this song later and found out that is a synthpop song. It went from a dance-y synthpop song to totally strip down slow song with just vocals and keyboard. They ended the show with “Closer”. Usually a super upbeat dance song but turned to a ballad.
I have known this band for years and was introduced to them through The Con but it took me many years to like and appreciate this album. I have continued to follow them because I’ve always admired their stance and willingness to stand up for causes that they hold dear. I also like their quick wit and heard about their hilarious and long banter during shows. I never got to experience the small and intimate shows Tegan and Sara used to perform. Older fans yearn for the nostalgia and feel of the shows during The Conera; however, as a newer fan, I believe that The Con X Tour might be as close as I might get to experience those shows.