November 27, 2010

Epcot Food & Wine Festival 11/8 and 11/9

We spent the first day exclusively at Epcot. We saw Captain EO, which was hilariously cheesy. The first time the screen showed Michael Jackson's face, a little girl behind us whispered loudly, "Mommy, is that a girl?" We couldn't help but burst out laughing at that. Completely priceless. We also rode Test Track, some kind of boat ride featuring Donald Duck in Mexico, another boat ride through Norway, and I put on my big girl pants and opted for the more intense version of Mission Space, which turned out to be much more intense than I remember it being when I was 16. Soarin' was probably my favorite, though.

Since the Food & Wine festival was going on and I managed to not spend any money on tickets, I decided to let myself try out a few things. The prices were actually pretty decent, but the portions were small. This actually works well for someone who has spent the day riding rollercoasters and intends to jump and dance wildly for an hour or so. My first choice was a potato pierogi with sour cream, caramelized onions, and sausage from Poland. Yum!

Next was chocolate mousse from France, which was so delicious that I made an involuntary sound at the first bite. It was so good that we went back to France on the 2nd day and I tried a Napoleon, something I had been eying the first day when I got the mousse. It was good, but not nearly as good as the mousse.

We chose to wear Hanson t-shirts that day, which sparked a lot of random conversations with the Disney staff. The girl at the Kim Possible station talked to us for a few minutes about how she didn't know they were still making music, and she had just seen them in the break room and was excited about it. Apparently "the young one" was buying a Snickers from a vending machine. The guy taking our picture with Duffy (apparently Mickey's new teddy bear? Ploy for money if I ever saw one) asked if we were going to see Hanson. I told him no, so he got defensive and said "Oh, I just thought you girls look a little young to like Hanson." I asked how old he thought we looked. He said 20, which led us to question how old he thought Hanson was. Normally people think we're too old to like Hanson, so it was just weird that he thought Hanson was older. I think he had Hanson pegged about right, he just thought we were all younger than we are.

I was happily surprised at how many people turned up to watch the show, and I think Hanson felt the same way. Taylor made several comments on stage that led me to believe that he didn't expect a lot of regular Hanson fans to show; he seemed impressed to see familiar faces and a sea of Hanson t-shirts in addition to plenty of curious vacationers. We ran into some other friends that didn't care about where they were going to be and also like to dance, so we had a blast rocking out by the wall for every show. We had our own little flash mob every time they played TBS (which was every single show, so 6 times total). Because of where we we re st anding, we were mostly surrounded by the random vacationers, and there were a few times where we were getting more attention than Hanson during TBS. The 2nd day, the awesome girls we met up with brought glow sticks and we had a blast dancing around like fools once again. I've come to the realization lately that people probably peg me and my friends as the drunks at any given show, but we're just naturally awesome.

I also couldn't resist splurging on some sequined Minnie ears.

November 24, 2010

Ft. Lauderdale, FL 11/6/10

This show was about as unlucky as St. Pete was lucky, but it happens. Besides, the lucky days wouldn't seem nearly as awesome if there weren't a few downers mixed in, right?

The drive to Ft. Lauderdale from St. Pete was an experience in itself. Surviving four years of college with insomnia (which is now more or less cured) left me with the ability to stay awake for long periods of time and get by on minimal amounts of sleep. It never fails that when I'm on the road, everyone hits that point of passing out from exhaustion before I do, and even when I hit it, a 30 min.--1hr nap will usually cure me long enough to get me to the next destination. That being said, I drove the whole way from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete with one passenger completely passed out, and one who was in and out of sleep but was only semi-conscious at best. The GPS somehow took us on a two-lane back road the whole way there, and the signs for panther and alligator crossing didn't make me feel very safe.

We finally pulled up to the venue around 6 AM, and I was shocked to realize we were the first ones there. While we had every intention of being early in line the day before, the purpose of driving through the night to Ft. Lauderdale was more of a way to not spend money on a hotel than anything else (FYI--we showered at a friend's house later that morning. No hotel does not equal no shower!). I got a little sleep early that morning, but no more than an hour or two, and I was also having that queasy excited feeling that means I can't eat much. Not a good combination.

The line was pretty laid back and I fully enjoyed meeting a group of teenage guys and girls that were at their first Hanson show. The guys seemed the most excited about being there, and they were absolutely adorable about it. I guess one was #31 in line because I remember hearing him say "Hey guys, little known fact! Hanson's favorite number is 31! Now who wants to trade with me?" No takers, obviously, but I got a kick out of it. They also ran into Taylor at some point in the day and were really excited about getting a picture with him. One of them mentioned wanting to hear Save Me live, and they were definitely the reason it got played later during the show. They seemed really impressed that I was first in line and had a sleeping bag, though I tried to explain that it wasn't anything special and showing up at 6 AM was actually nothing for lots of fans.

There was lots of confusion with the walk line and due to circumstances beyond our control (and fault), we lost our spots at the front. We got in after the walk line was done, and some friends manged to save a spot for me up front, but there wasn't room for both of us and we got split up. The stage and barricade were both pretty high and I was squished, so in retrospect I honestly wish I had gone with Rachel to stand off to the side instead of staying in the front row.

The show was good but I think my mood was killed a little bit by that point, and watching a bra fall from the balcony almost onto Taylor didn't really lift my spirits. The one highlight I recall was Save Me as the encore because the guys we met earlier kept shouting for Hanson to play it throughout the show. At one point, Taylor even shouted back "Hold on, it's not time for that yet," or something to that effect. It was cute, and I was excited to hear it for the first time.

Out by the bus after the show, all 3 guys came out again, and Rachel and I decided to get our inflatable keyboards signed by Taylor in addition to a microphone from our "lead singer" of the 80s Hare Band who had never had the opportunity to meet Hanson or get an autograph (see my Halloween post if that makes no sense). The crowd was much larger and was held back behind a barricade, so the guys were pretty quick to come out, but they were also pretty quick to leave. We could tell Taylor had no clue what we were giving him to sign, but there were so many people around that there wasn't really a chance for us to explain. It makes me wonder how many things they've had shoved at them where they walk away thinking "What the heck was that anyway?" or "Why did they want THAT signed?" Plenty, I'm sure. Zac stayed out the longest again and since it only seemed reasonable to get Taylor to sign the keyboard, I got a picture with him instead. Isaac was too crowded/occupied. I have to say I'm really appreciative of how much they put into trying to please their fans. It only took a few seconds, but he was very nice about it and it's crazy to think just how many people's days (or weeks, or heck, even lives) they make just by taking a moment to smile for a camera.

November 23, 2010

St. Petersburg, FL 11/5/10

This was probably the luckiest I've ever been at a show. Alright no, I take that back, but it was pretty close. Top 3 at least. Everything just seemed to strangely fall into place for us.

We were first in line and first in the venue, and when it finally came time to go inside, I was a little shocked to see the front row already almost full when we walked in.  At first we were pretty far over on Isaac's side, but when we overheard the girls in the dead center say they were only staying for Jarrod Gorbel's set, we jumped on it and stood behind them instead and took their spots when they left.

It was neat to meet someone who understood our passion for Hanson that felt the same way about Jarrod. I believe the girl in front of me said it was her 7th show, and later when we talked to Jarrod, he mentioned her by name as being a loyal fan. Hanson's got a lot of work to do if they're going to remember the names of everyone who has seen them 7 times ;-)

The show was really good and it was definitely the best spot I've ever been in during a concert. There was no barricade and it was a small stage, so it felt pretty intimate. The girl and her boyfriend standing directly behind us were great and we had a blast dancing like fools and rocking out together. They also got in on our ridiculous "that's what she said" addiction that lasted for the whole trip. Unfortunately, small stage + front row center+ no barricade = whoever's on stage can hear you. So when I cracked a that's what she said joke while Jarrod was talking and we started laughing loudly, he heard us and stopped to ask if it was a pity laugh. Oops. We took the time to explain ourselves and apologize after the show. There was also an awkward moment where Jarrod realized there was a big gap in the crowd to my left where two girls had sat down. At first it felt like he was staring right at me during the song, and I had a moment where I thought okay, this is one of those times where he picks some random girl in the audience to sing to or whatever, and I'm in his line of sight. Then he stopped singing dead in the middle of the song and said "Is everything okay? Did somebody fall down?" and looked to my left, and I realized he had been trying to figure out the lack of people next to me. I gave a pitiful thumbs up as someone else yelled out "People are just sitting down!" Ouch! Oh well, he was a trooper and kept playing.

I don't need to add that Hanson was awesome. Rachel and I were a little bit ridiculous with our dancing, definitely moreseo than I'm used to, but I've got to say I loved it so much that I adopted it for all of the rest of the shows. I'll forever be in love with Thinking 'Bout Somethin', Give a Little, and Lost Without Each Other from now on (not that I wasn't already, but the ridiculous dancing sealed the deal). I fully loved Voice in the Chorus and Isaac and Zac's crazy headbanging; Isaac's hair is just perfect for it. I didn't fully love Taylor shoving Dimitrius right into our faces for his guitar solo during the band intro (no barricade and the height of the stage put his crotch right at our faces). It was equally terrifying when Isaac came up to the center to encourage the crowd during Hey because it felt like we might punch him when we were throwing our fists up.

It was a really awesome experience for me personally, but I didn't get the feeling that the rest of the crowd was all that excited to be there. It felt like all the energy was coming from us and a few other people nearby, but there were several times where it felt like we were the only people jumping (during appropriate times; I swear. We weren't just hopping during Carry You There or anything obnoxious).

We were somehow just as lucky after the show. Heather had caught a guitar pick from Isaac, Rachel got me my first setlist from Muff, and one of the awesome venue guys went backstage and grabbed her a call sheet. We went out by the bus in hopes of getting the setlist and call sheet signed and Heather wanted pictures. I don’t think I’ve ever been at the bus when all 3 came out in the same night, or when it has happened, they were all in a hurry or I managed to miss one of them while I was getting something from the car. Somehow, they all came out and were all pretty leisurely about it. Isaac was first and quickest, but he took the time to sign autographs and take pictures. Zac came out when Isaac was almost done, and he stayed out for what felt like a long time and seemed to be pretty chatty. Taylor came out a good bit later after the crowd was significantly smaller, but he signed autographs and took pictures as well. It seemed a little cheesy, but I debated asking him to sign next to Give a Little. Before I could make up my mind and ask, though, he had already taken the setlist from me and signed it. When I took it back I saw that he had indeed signed right over Give a Little and had dated 2010 directly next to that song. Probably just a lucky coincidence, but I’ll take it. I actually had a lot of fun just talking to everyone I knew as we waited around, and I had that awesome excited feeling of just having finished and awesome show and knowing that I had several more ahead. Our luck carried over to parking when we got to the car and didn’t have a ticket even though we’d been parked in the same spot for way more than the allotted 2 hours. The whole day was definitely a success.

November 22, 2010

Make it Out Alive (a Hare raising event)

As soon as I heard that Hanson was going to have a member event in October, I secretly wished it would be on Halloween and I could somehow go to it. As soon as I found out it was true, I started plotting. When I realized tour started the next day, things got dangerous.

Long story short--my desire to go to this one show somehow spawned into me hitting 9 shows and being on the road for over 2 weeks. I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm glad it did.

For this show, I ended up going with 6 other awesome girls, and we came up with what I still hold as the best group costume idea ever. And okay, so nobody else seems to get it, but I still think it's genius. Are you ready for this? 80s Hare Band. Basically we were an 80s Hair Band, only we substituted "Hare" for "Hair" and added bunny ears and tails to the ridiculous 80s attire. If you want to add another complicated layer, you might call us a "hare band air band" because we also carried inflatable instruments, but we left that part off of the contest card. We'd like to think that we didn't win (or even rank, sadly enough) based on the fact that 1) whoever did the judging didn't get the genius idea, or 2) nobody wanted to shell out 7 prizes if we won. The truth is it probably just wasn't as awesome as we all thought, but like I said, I still think it was an amazing idea.

Anyway, it was a blast. How often do you get to scout out ridiculous clothes at thrift stores and glue glitter and sequins to anything they'll stick to? Maybe once a year for Halloween enthusiasts, but my Halloween experience as an adult started and ended with my tiny Alice in Wonderland costume from freshman year of college. Lesson learned. This was a lot like prom--most of the fun was in buying and wearing the dress. There's just some kind of inner joy that only a girl can comprehend in walking into a thrift store, finding the perfect pair of $1.50 80s heels, and then bedazzling the heck out of them with multi-colored glitter. Try it some time.

We didn't line up until 6, but of course there were already a bunch of people in line. We got a big kick out of the poor tour manager soldering locks off of the trailer hitched to the tour bus. I'll never know what went wrong, but it was entertaining to watch. The costumes were really interesting, and I was impressed that I didn't see a single person in line not wearing a costume. I was also impressed with the obvious lack of 1) slutty outfits, and 2) people dressed as Hanson. I guess I should have a little more faith.

As we walked in the venue, I stepped on a knife, and it just didn't quite register in my mind that it was fake at first. I stopped and had a bit of a "Did I just step on a knife?" moment, and then a random guy carrying a box of merch inside stooped down, picked it up, handed it to me, and said "Here, this is for you!" then walked away smiling. So of course I did what any 80s clad girl with bunny ears would do; I gave him a WTF look, tucked the knife into the waistband of my skirt, and kept walking to scout out a good spot. The whole thing was weird and I'm still not sure what exactly happened or why. What I do know is there's a rubber knife somewhere in the trunk of my car and some person out there without one.

We ended up with a good spot on Taylor's side, technically front row just behind a speaker. It ended up being the best spot possible for us. Earlier I debated whether to take an inflatable keyboard or an inflatable guitar. The piano player in me wanted to take the keyboard, but the practical part of me (is there such a thing anymore?) knew it would be easier to fake rock out on a guitar than on a keyboard in the middle of the crowd. The pianist in me won out, so I took the keyboard and hoped for the best. With the speaker directly in front of us, we were able to stack the keyboards on top of it and create our own mock piano right in front of the real one. We were ridiculous rocking out on the keyboards and guitars the whole show, and one of us even had an inflatable microphone to sing into. The show wouldn't have been nearly as good without the amazing girls I was with.

Of course Hanson was awesome too. They managed to play both songs that have been at the top of my "must hear live" list for the past three years: Dancing in the Wind and In the City. It was also really neat getting to hear the Ghostbusters theme song, and I had never heard Hand in Hand either, so overall the setlist was pretty killer. We were slightly disappointed that they didn't play Evening at the Big Top, but I decided that they probably didn't even remember that it existed, and I'd rather hear Ghostbusters anyway. Their costumes were cute and clever with Zac as the 3 musketeers candy bar, and the expected sword jokes just kept coming.

It was a blast, we took awesome pictures, we rocked out on inflatable instruments, we ate great mexican food and pizza, and we left the crown plaza (and the back seat of my car) with about a pound of glitter.