by Micayla Bussieres

Tegan and Sara Live at RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest

Photo by Mark Horton

Having rained earlier in the afternoon, it looked as though we were going to have perfect weather for the kick off of Ottawa Bluesfest. I got to the venue about an hour early for the Tegan and Sara show because their set was the main thing I wanted to see and I needed to get a great spot. The crowd quickly grew and I didn’t realize how many people were actually there until I saw photos the next day that were taken from the stage.

Of course, Tegan and Sara were there to continue the promotion of their newest album Heartthrob, and so they began their set right away with “Goodbye, Goodbye.”  This punchy electronica tune quickly moved into “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend” which is another upbeat song largely based on breakups from the 2013 album. After the crowd was pumped up (and just a tad sad) from this killer start, Tegan asked us if we wanted to hear some older songs. You best believe this was the most excited I’ve been at a show in a long time because I still know the order of songs from The Con. From this album they played “Back into Your Head” as well as the title track, and then went back even farther into the Tegan and Sara archives. 2004’s “Walking With a Ghost” and 2002’s “Monday, Monday, Monday” were a huge hit with the long time fans, and it was great to see how much they loved playing their older tunes.

After a few more songs from Heartthrob and many instrument changes, we got to dance to “Sentimental Tune” and “Alligator” from the 2009 album, Sainthood.  Nearing the end of their set, the Quin sisters asked us to use our nicest singing voices to join in on “Call It Off,“ which is by far my favourite T&S song. I may have cried just a little bit. To finish, they played another block of songs from Heartthrob and ended their time at Bluesfest with one of their biggest songs ever, “Closer.” It’s really easy to see how these sisters have lasted almost 20 years in the biz, and counting.

I attended the first day with a friend who happened to be a country music fan so we stuck around to see Blake Shelton’s show. I honestly can’t name you a song by him but man, he has such a great stage presence. He was so genuine and in awe of how many people came out to see him, which was incredibly endearing. Shelton asked us to sing along as he played a cover of Michael Bublé’s “Home” so I definitely chimed in then, as well as when he came out for his encore and played “Footloose.” If there was anyone in the crowd who didn’t dance at least once during his set, they have me so disappointed, because even as someone who doesn’t listen to country music, I had such a great night.

I missed out on the July 4th shows due to being sick (although I could hear Journey playing “Don’t Stop Believin’” from my house!) but stay tuned for my account of day 3, which will include Matt Andersen, Twin Forks and Lady Gaga!