This trip is probably the craziest thing I've ever attempted. These shows fell on my fall break and I had a lot of friends going, so it only seemed right to tag along. It gets complicated, though, because I'm from South Carolina and it's a LONG drive to Chicago. I drove 6 hrs to Knoxville to meet up with some friends to carpool. We left Sat. night to pick up another friend in the St. Louis area, which was about 7 hrs from Knoxville. From St. Louis, it was another 5 hrs to Chicago. After driving through the night and taking a bit longer than anticipated, we decided we desperately needed a shower but were not going to make it to Chicago in time to do it at our hotel. Instead, we experienced our first truck stop showers at a Love's on the way. It was $9 and they provided towels. All in all, it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I always pictured a sort of high school gym shower setup for truckstops, but no, there are individual shower rooms with showers, toilets, mirrors, and sinks inside--very private. I can't say the idea of drying off with a towel that has been used by truckers was exactly appealing, but hey, you do what you have to do.
We somehow managed to arrive in Chicago right at 10 min. before the walk, which was pretty much a miracle. I stuck around the back of the walk because that's just what I do, and though I rarely see a Hanson on the walks, for some reason Taylor was overly watchful this time. We kept catching all the red lights at the back, so Taylor kept running back to stop traffic with his megaphone, then sprinting back up closer to the front. No lie, he did it like 6 times. I felt like I had a personal trainer egging me on! It was nice in theory, but he kept standing in the way of oncoming traffic to "help" us cross the road in situations where we were really fine. I don't really know how to describe exactly what he was doing without a picture, so maybe this will help. Just notice us all safely herded in the crosswalk while Taylor haphazardly stands with his back to oncoming traffic.
At this point when I passed him, I called out "You know you're in more danger than we are right now, don't you?" And he responded through the megaphone "Yeah, I am....but I'm the loudest." Thankfully no traffic decided to challenge his lame claim to safety due to a measly megaphone.
My friends and I didn't really bother to get a good spot in line and just headed over a little before doors. We ended up with a pretty good spot where we could all stand together and see. I've got to say, writing this in retrospect after having seen 7 shows on this tour, I think the first Chicago show was the best. Maybe it was just being with a lot of high energy friends, but it was amazing. I heard A Song to Sing for the first time which was really exciting, and I don't even know how to describe how I felt when the guys from Cheap Trick came out and Hanson covered I Want You to Want me. Hands down best concert surprise ever! I think that's the only time I have ever let out an involuntary scream.
The next day most of my friends and I walked to the walk, which was 2 miles away at a college campus. It was actually pretty fun with about 8 of us walking around seeing the city, and it really wasn't as cold as I expected. The walk was good, though it didn't seem like a lot of the students on campus were interested. I did get to explain what we were doing to 2 or 3 people though, so it was good that people were voicing their curiosity at least. As we left the walk we took the best jumping picture ever; I'm still pretty excited about it (I'm in the pink).We decided to get in line immediately when we got back (after a group trip to a 7-11 for some Chicago style hotdogs), and though the walk stamps didn't seem to mean anything the day before, they actually let people with walk stamps into the pass the line line. They seem to really appreciate the effort people put into going to walks that aren't at the venue rather than sitting at the venue to save a spot in line, and we were rewarded for it. Most of us ended up with the same spot we were in the night before, which was exactly what we wanted, though a couple decided to brave 2ndish row. It was a lot of fun, and though it was probably my 14th time or so hearing MMMBop, it was the best time because we all danced and had a blast, and we made a five person "too much rock for one hand" symbol at the end. I don't think Hanson saw it, but it was a great idea nonetheless. I was a little surprised that the setlist was a little less amazing than the night before, but I had an awesome time anyway. There's something really special about seeing a show with good friends who enjoy the music in the same way you do.
The drive home was absolutely insane. We left around 5-6 AM, but we dawdled a lot. One of the things that slowed us down was a trip into Metropolis, IL. As a HUGE Smallville fan, I felt like an idiot to discover that Metropolis is, in fact, a REAL city. I had no idea. Of course we stopped to take pictures with the huge superman, and had a little Hanson nerdery (think "that's supa!") while we were there too.
Somehow we didn't end up in Knoxville until 2 AM the next morning, where I crashed and slept until 4 AM at a friend's house (thank you, friend! Seriously, I think you saved my life), then dragged myself back to my car for the 6 more hrs back to school. I parked my car at 10:45, which was lovely since I had a class at 11. I literally ran from my parking garage to my room to grab my books and then ran to class just in time. I hadn't slept or showered in over a day, but I made it. Sometimes you just need a little crazy in your life, and I definitely got my fair share this fall break.