Dec 2, 2022 • 6M

My Favourite Photograph

Reflections About Touring From Home

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Tegan and Sara correspond about art, music, life and process
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My Favorite Photograph 

Before this run of tour dates, Sid was sleeping 12 hours a night. At home, we followed a rigorous nap, feed, wake schedule that was too challenging to replicate while traveling through 11 states, three time zones, daylight savings and an outbreak of laryngitis. By week two, we were using words like “triage” and “regression” to describe the co-sleeping Stacy and Sid did in her bunk on the tour bus. In hotels, the crib and black out tent stood vacant after we started letting Sid sleep between us in the king size bed. When he began waking every hour, sometimes nursing only briefly before falling back asleep, we reassured ourselves it was a phase that wouldn’t last forever. Still, my favorite photograph from those sleepless weeks is of Sid with his arms stretched out wide between us in a king size bed. He’s asleep, but there is the suggestion of a smile on his face. He looks deeply content. I long for Sid’s pre-tour marathon sleep, but I know that I’ll miss those family bed moments even more. 

Most Euphoric Feeling on Stage

After losing my voice in Cleveland, we had to cancel the show in Minneapolis. Two days of voice rest let me recover enough of my range to sing in Denver, but I vocally limped through that night’s performance and the following night in Salt Lake City. After a decent night’s sleep on the bus, I woke up in Southern California, and was over the hump. We’d worried about the slow ticket sales in Ventura, but it ended up being one of my favorite shows of the tour.  The audience sang louder than us, and while the room wasn’t packed to capacity, the generous space allowed for dancing and some pogo-ing during Smoking Weed Alone. Losing the ability to control or sustain notes makes singing a fraught experience. I wasn’t (and wouldn’t be) fully recovered for the rest of the tour, but on stage in Ventura, I felt relaxed and in control of what was available to me. The closest analogy is the feeling of accelerating from a jog to a sprint. It’s like flying.

 A Meal I Cherished

In San Diego, I slipped away after soundcheck to have dinner a few blocks from the venue at an Italian restaurant. It was a Friday night and the ambience was somewhat ruined by a row of television screens playing football. I sat down at the bar, ordered a glass of white wine, and opened a book on my iPhone. Eating alone like this has become a rarity. Three weeks after Sid was born, we’d started taking him out to cafes and restaurants. Stacy and I endeavor to be the kind of parents who are unafraid to eat with our child in public spaces, and thankfully, Sid is an easy dining companion. He's contemplative when sitting on my knee at a tabletop, and when the wiggling starts, we lay him down on a jacket or blanket on the table so he can kick and punch his limbs in every direction. (This works best at establishments that serve food on picnic tables.) I know this might change (see my smug bragging about sleep habits above) but for now, it’s helped us normalize an important part of our social life. We’ve also left Sid at home with my mom and enjoyed adult-only dinners. While traveling for work in September, I dined with friends in Los Angeles, Toronto, and New York. Sitting alone at the bar in San Diego, eating my subpar risotto, I marveled at how long it had been since I’d eaten in a restaurant by myself. I felt returned to a comforting version of my former life. 

Best Day Off Somewhere I’d Never Been 

Days off are generally travel days spent in locations at the halfway point between two gigs. Before Sid was born, I’d spend those days sleeping and watching TV in a hotel, ordering room service for dinner, then packing my suitcase, and retiring to the bus for bedtime. Days off now mean loading a baggage cart of luggage and gear related to Sid into the hotel before setting up his crib, black out tent, pop-up changing table, noise machine, monitor, camera, and giving him a bath. After multiple naps, collecting food orders in the lobby, and doing Sid’s laundry in the coin operated machines, we then disassemble the room, load up the luggage cart again, and return ourselves and our heap of bags to the tour bus to put Sid to bed. If I’m being honest, these are not restful days. At all. The one exception was our day off in St. George, Utah. I’d never been to St. George, but after a few hours, I started to daydream about returning for the Holidays with our extended family and friends. I wanted to live forever in that perfect hotel room with its claw foot tub, where Sid took his first bubble bath, looking out on views of sandstone cliffs. This magical world was where Stacy got to enjoy an hour alone in the rooftop hot tub, and together as a family we rode an empty carousel a few blocks away in Town Square Park. 

St. George, Utah and the blackout tent

The Best Question At VIP 

Late afternoons on tour are the most challenging for me. It’s when my energy is lowest, and when I feel most dislocated from home. Spending time with the VIPs on this tour made that strange limbo between soundcheck and show feel less isolating. It was of great comfort to me when I wasn’t feeling confident or entirely well. VIP  was scheduled right before Sid’s bedtime, and I adored looking into the audience and seeing the silhouette of his little protective headphones, bobbing up and down in the darkness.

I love patterns, and over the course of three weeks, there were a few topics and specific questions repeatedly touched on. Was I enjoying my new role as a parent? (Yes). Is Sid a good traveler? (Yes). A good sleeper? (Er…). Is he a fan of T+S? (Only if singing in a high-pitched voice and replacing all the words with “meow” and or “Sid-do-do-do-do-do”).

My favorite kind of questions were the ones that no one had ever asked me before. For example:

Do you take your houseplants on tour? (The answer is no, but, wow, what a funny thing to imagine).

Sid, unpaid VIP in NYC

Reflections about Touring from Home

Stamina is a muscle, and it must be exercised. After 35 months off the road, a lot of exercise was needed. 

I have a bad habit of remembering my life through the same social media portals as everyone else, and I search my iPhone photos the way I once searched my memory. I don’t want to remember my life with Sid exclusively this way.