A close-up of a section of a black t-shirt, which reads in small, blocky, bubble letters "Tegan". Underneath that, it reads "Sara". Above that is a ticket stub from the January 22, 2010 concert at the Bronson Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

Concert Tickets are a Great Gift

In 2009, when Michaela and I started courting, we had already shared a great deal about our favourite bands and singers. On Michaela’s list was a Canadian indie rock duo (who now have become worldwide famous pop stars), Tegan and Sara. Like Michaela and her sister, Arianna, they were twins who sang and played music together. In fact, Michaela and Arianna sometimes got compared to them during their high school days when they would perform at coffee houses.

Michaela says the first song she heard of theirs was “You Wouldn’t Like Me”. I had heard this song when a friend in university put a few songs of theirs on a mix cd, which also included I Know, I Know, I Know and Speak Slow. They were also played often on my favourite local radio station, Live 88.5. 

For Christmas that year, I wanted to get Michaela a few gifts, one of them being a concert experience we could share together. I spotted promos online on Livenation.com for Tegan and Sara, playing at the Bronson Centre, and they were offering a meet and greet before the show. Well, I thought that would be a great surprise and I don’t recall it costing that much extra. 

So, Michaela knew we would be attending the concert and that she would be seeing one of her favourite groups for the first time, but she did not know she would literally be meeting them in person. 

Look at how young we all look! Also, that’s my winter jacket from high school.

Meeting Celebrities 

It was a cold, Friday night in January and we bused from our classes at Ottawa U to Bronson Avenue. Doors were at 7PM, as you can read from the ticket above, but we were let in earlier. Michaela was surprised and curious why we got to go in early, and that’s when I let her know we were participating in the Meet and Greet.

Michaela will tell you promptly that she is quite shy when it comes to meeting new people. This is magnified when it comes to meeting famous people. When it was our turn to meet Tegan and Sara, I carried the conversation and asked them about how the tour was going and what they liked about it so far. Then, we got our picture with them. Perhaps a bit of an awkward yet appreciated moment for Michaela, but my awkward moment was about to happen.

Since we got in early, we got to stand right in front of the stage. Perfect spot, right? Well, to my recollection, I stuck out quite a bit and not just because of my red hair. I was one of the tallest people in the general admission area and was quite self-conscious about being in the way of all the shorter fans behind me. Furthermore, my feet were sore from all the standing, so there were times during the concert when I leaned my elbows on the stage, which must have looked quite awkward. I probably looked bored, but I wasn’t!

The Show

Tegan and Sara, and their band, played a great show. The setlist was jammed full of all their great songs and a lot from their most recent release, Sainthood, which Michaela and I were really digging. That album was easily a top 10 for us at the time. I think it’s still my favourite of theirs, certainly the most significant of theirs to Michaela and I, thanks to this memorable concert.

I remember being particularly excited to hear Paperback Head and Alligator. I asked Michaela if she had any favourites from the set list. She looked it up and basically listed off the entire set. Haha! She was excited to hear “Call It Off” live, which happened during the encore. Then, they ended with “Living Room”, which was particularly special, because it was one of the cover songs from my band’s repertoire.

For a couple of indie rock fans from Ottawa, this was a pretty special night, one certainly worthy of remembering. When you’re going to university and working on a tight monthly budget, you’ve really got to narrow down which concerts are the most “can’t-miss”. This was one of them, all in the name of trying to impress a girl and make her feel special. And I’m still trying to do that, some twelve years later.

“I feel the breeze, your feathers of an arrow…”