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Cultural differences discovered at Tegan and Sara's L.A. show

Get it while it's hot.
Get it while it's hot.

Regardless of how many listens it takes to get into Sainthood (officially released today, Oct. 27), the live renditions of Tegan and Sara’s new songs are earth shattering. And hopefully their audiences will learn to rock out to them. Like … soon.

It seemed not only weird, but entirely unnatural that at Los Angeles’ Orpheum Theater, where T & S played the second of their first two shows on Oct. 26 after several months of not touring and vigorously recording Sainthood, the audience spent almost the first half of the two-hour set sitting down. It was like being in the “Back in Your Head” video – where red, white and black-clad zombies are sitting and bobbing their heads in an auditorium – except nobody at the Orpheum was wearing a mask or really, um … moving.

After the show, I went home and Googled the words “sitting down at the Orpheum, L.A.”

I figured there must – MUST – be a logical explanation for hundreds of people at a Tegan and Sara show remaining seated for the first nine songs of the set. There must have been a “stay seated” sign that I missed. Or some unspoken understanding that one never stands up at this particular venue (I mean, the seats are all reserved. But so??). Or maybe the audience actually thought they were here to see a puppet show. Or an opera. Or a knitting demonstration. Seriously, I thought Southern Californians were supposed to be active. Or are they just too cool or self-conscious or insecure to use the vertical abilities that biology bestowed upon them? WTF?

During the second or third song (T & S kicked off with “The Con” and “Walking with a Ghost”) every cell in my body was twitching with the urge to get my ass out of the seat and I gave in. All it took was a few seconds, however, until the 17-year-olds behind us said something along the lines of “sit down.”

I turned to say, “really? You’re going to sit down for Tegan and Sara? Do people always sit down at rock shows around here?” And because my honest questions and genuine confusion were met with nothing but hostile stares, I wondered if there was a totally different culture at rock concerts in L.A.

I sat back down. I suddenly felt like I was in the Middle East. I mean, it’s not like Colorado is the only place I’d ever seen shows. In all my years of going to rock concerts, no other audience I’d ever come across anywhere else in the free world (which would include just about every other major American and European city, as well as remote foreign villages and former Communist countries) had ever SAT DOWN for a band they totally adored … or even liked a little bit.

When Tegan announced that the band was about to kick into the entirety of Sainthood, I once again was compelled to leap out of my seat in anticipation. I probably did permanent bodily damage (like how you’re not supposed to hold your pee for too long) by fighting the urge. They kicked into impeccable, TOTALLY rocking renditions of “Arrow,” “Don’t Rush” and “Hell,” making the place quake with energy and magic as most of the audience stared ahead as if they were watching a documentary about trains.

So. Weird.

Thank god Sara finally commented on how she appreciated people in the back who were standing and that it would be OK (for fuck’s sake) if everyone stood up. So, the people, being conformists that they are, FINALLY got off of their asses. I shot a quick “you suck” glance to the girls behind us and proceeded to give T & S some reciprocity for their energy expenditure (though I was not the woman who rushed the stage and tried to hug them. That was definitely a highlight though, as was spotting comedian Liz Feldman in the theater bar before the show. Surely SHE was standing up the whole time).

As for the show … It was good. Insanely good.

As predicted, “Northshore” was completely incredible live as were “The Ocean,” “Someday” and the dancy (though of course nobody danced) “Alligator.” T & S, in addition to an amusing ongoing analysis of the woman who jumped on stage, wrapped up with really great versions of “Living Room” and “Call it Off.”

And now they’re off to New York, then Europe, then Canada before heading back for a more extensive tour of the U.S. in the spring. So I hope – I seriously pray – that you so-called fans who were sitting down for half the show in L.A. are ready to pay proper respect when they come back. I know Denver will.

They hit us up (at the Odgen Theater) on April 4. Get ready.