It’s not unusual to see most seats in Cahn Auditorium filled, but typically those spots are taken by Northwestern students.This wasn’t the case for Tegan and Sara’s Hey, I’m Just Like You tour Tuesday night, where the majority of the enthusiastic crowd appeared to be older millennials who likely had come from work or other Real Adult™ obligations.
Before the show began, the identical twin rockstars requested that the audience not use cell phones or cameras during the performance, saying “We’re pretending it’s the 90s!” This was both an attempt to get folks to focus on the show and to set the tone for the throwback-themed night.
Known for songs like “Closer” and the infamous “Everything is Awesome” track from The Lego Movie, Tegan and Sara reminded everyone they’ve had quite the 20-year-long career with their performance. They split their time between playing acoustic versions of both crowd favorites and new (but old?) songs from their recently-released album Hey, I’m Just Like You—a set of re-recorded demos they wrote as teenagers—and reading from their new memoir, High School. The book, written in their alternating points of view, tells the story of their three years (no, not four, #Canada) of high school, as they separately explored their sexualities, experimented with drugs, formed their band, and grew apart then together again.
They said they felt it was important to talk candidly about their experiences as young women, particularly the less savory aspects, like illicit drug use. They referenced the gender disparity in these matters, citing the fact that Harry Styles (“He’s hot!” “So hot.”) appears to be on LSD in his “Lights Up” music video. “We’re like lesbian Harry Styles,” they said simply.
These alternating segments of reading and music were punctuated by “archival footage” of the sisters from the 90s, showing them as they played music and joked with friends. In a mock interview (conducted and recorded by both of their secret then-girlfriends), long-haired Tegan and Sara claimed to be straight, which drew laughter from the crowd that knows them today as they gay icons they are.
It was also a nostalgic night for audience members. One, Chicago resident Maame Antwi, said she’s been a fan of the duo since she was in high school, and that theirs was the first concert she ever attended.
“I was maybe a sophomore, [my best friend] was a junior, and we drove—it was my first time leaving the state without someone else, too, other than my family members—we went to Indiana to see The Con concert,” Antwi said.
Her best friend, Morgan, was also there in Cahn Tuesday night.
Kelly Kunkel, also of Chicago, said she’s been a fan since she was in high school, almost a decade ago.
“I’ve been to quite a few of their shows, but this was super unique,” Kunkel said. “I loved the reading from the book, and I really, really like their sound when they make it acoustic.”
At the end of the show, Tegan and Sara thanked the audience for supporting them all these years and reflected on how much they’d grown since their career took off. But through the process of digging into their past for the new book and album, they found they truly admired their past selves: “We were brave.”
They gave one last reminder to the crowd, saying “The person you were when you were in high school still exists,” and that we should all be a little kinder when remembering our younger selves.