These shows were great because I got to spend time with more friends I hadn't seen (okay, hadn't seen since Halloween, at least).
We got up early the day of the show and drove to Atlanta from Orlando. Even with a good night's sleep behind us and driving during daylight hours, it felt pretty long. We arrived around 2 or 3 PM and were in the 60's in line. We also had pretty perfect timing and ended up directly next to our friends in line even without making any specific plans about meeting up.
This walk was the first I took on the trip since I worked the walk table at the FL shows, and it was also the first walk that was pitch dark outside. Bare feet + night time + Atlanta = scary combination, but I did it anyway. Atlanta was actually the first city I ever took the walk in over three years ago, so I was glad I got to participate. As per my usual, I ended up at the back of the walk before the halfway speech, which added an extra layer of creepy. As we neared the end, a small group of us got stuck at a red light with Zac leading the way as everyone else got away. Or was that Charlotte? I'm not sure anymore, but it's entirely possible that it happened twice.
Getting in line after the walk was, once again, chaotic. This time I had a will call ticket that wasn't released until 6 or so, so after we came back from the walk, there was a massive crowd taking over the front of the venue. The venue/Hanson tried to separate the line in two, with walkers on the left and non-walkers on the right. The box office was located directly between the two lines, so you can see how this got messy fast. It was impossible to discern who was trying to get a ticket and who was trying to smash themselves into the walk line. I talked to the people around me and found that I was standing behind 3 people who also needed tickets, so we reasoned that we were as "in line" as we were going to get. We stood waiting for what had to have been at least 15 minutes without ever moving, even though it was obvious other people were managing to get tickets. It was so packed that when I looked back, I saw Taylor and Isaac looking around looking like they were trying to assess the situation to find a hole in the crowd so they could get back inside. Instead, Taylor had to push his way through, and I ended up sandwiched even closer than I already was when he went past us. In the end, those of us needing will call tickets had to forcibly push past lots of people who were "in line" for the show.
As soon as I got my ticket I got out of the mess and found my other friends in line, past the big cluster of people, thankfully. Being in the front is great, but sometimes it feels equally as great to relax further back and not have to worry about all of the chaos.
When we got inside, we saw that each side of the venue had raised sections with chairs and tables. There were probably 4 on each side, and each one was raised slightly higher than the one below it, so they offered a good view. It was the perfect size for all 6 of us to spread out across the front of one. It was so nice to be able to sit before the show and during the set change, and it was especially nice for the pregnant one of the bunch.
The show was great, with the exception of closing with The Ugly Truth. I love my Hanson, but I can't love that song no matter how hard I try to. I think Taylor loves it because he gets to run around the stage uninhibited and jump from the piano, but it's a little bit of a crowd killer. People don't seem to sing along so much or jump around, and it's just generally not one of my favorites. I had a great time dancing with my friends during the rest of the show, though. We all did the TBS dance, or what we could in a confined space, anyway. Though I've heard Strong Enough to Break probably a dozen times in the past, it felt more special that night after having quit my job recently. It was definitely my own personal anthem for a little while during that time. We were all a little ridiculous acting out Oh Darling again, and of course we danced during Give a Little.
This was the 2nd time I watched as a guy and a girl were pulled on stage (not counting my own experience), and the whole thing ran pretty smoothly. Taylor picked the guy out first and then let the guy pick the girl, which I thought was cute. They did a good job going with the flow and looked like they had a good time up there. Suddenly I wonder if a lack of guys near the front ever has any impact over whether or not they do the whole dance bit on a given night, but this guy was in the front row ready to go, so it worked out. (after seeing the stage in Baltimore and St. Pete, I realize that stage size must be another important factor in the planning. No way would they want someone tripping and ripping out important cords on on of those tiny stages!)
We waited out by the bus with Heather because it was her last show, and we were thoroughly entertained by some cats as we waited. Someone had propped the stage door open with a brick, and we all watched and laughed as a cat stealthily sneaked (that's right, sneaked. Snuck isn't a word no matter how much better it sounds) past the door and into the venue. When a worker came out, we let him know, and we laughed even harder as moments later we saw the cat come running out after clearly having been chased. It gets better, though. Instead of being scared off, the cat returned with a tiny cat gang, and we watched incredulously as not one, but THREE cats slipped through the door a second time. This time when they were chased out, the door was shut firmly behind them, lesson learned. There was also the creepy remains of what must have been some kind of Halloween costume laying off to the side in some overgrown weeds. It was metallic silver and looked like some kind of space suit without a head, but the body still retained shape, so if you didn't look carefully, it looked like a shiny dead body thrown by the wayside. I should have taken a picture for sure. Zac was the only Hanson to come out, and once again he took his time with the fans, giving out both autographs and pictures. I caught a random piece of conversation where he mentioned having been naked at some point, and stating that he couldn't remember whether or not he was in the shower at the time. No idea what that was about! He also seemed enamored with Megan's little brother and was all smiles while talking to him. Her brother got Zac to autograph the back of his hand, and Zac warned that he was a little sick and didn't want to spread germs. A few days later when my cough came into full force, I realized he wasn't lying.
I can't remember what time we showed up for this one; some time between 12 and 3 is my best estimate. I think we were somewhere between 50-70 in line (this is why I need to start forcing myself to write this stuff down closer to when it actually happened). It was Valerie's Birthday and we were all really excited to be there. Two friends even came to surprise everyone else and didn't let it slip that they were coming, which was fantastic. I think in all there were...8 of us that stood together in the balcony. I'll cut off the numbers there because I think we'd reach the upper teens if I included everyone we were collectively friends with at the show; it was definitely like a big party!This was dark walk #2, and this time I smartened up and fished my flashlight out of the trunk (or rather, Rachel mentioned how useful it would be to have a flashlight, and I realized I actually had one somewhere in the car). It got really cold that night for some reason, and stepping in freezing mud wasn't one of the highlights of the day. Once again I ended up in the back of the walk, and I think Valerie and I were actually dead last at one point. I think Valerie or Rachel commented on the lack of fire ants since previous Charlotte walks, and Isaac turned around and added that it was probably too cold for them. I'd believe it. On the way back, our group got cut off from the front portion by a red light and traffic once again, and Taylor waited impatiently on the other side of the road. As we finally crossed, Taylor stood defiantly in front of a big truck to make sure we made it. As we passed him, the guy in the truck actually started revving his engine in a threatening way. As Taylor stepped away and the truck drove off, I heard "Hey, ya'll, I've got a big truck!" in that mock-hick voice, followed by a chorus of giggles. Back in line, I met back up with all of my friends and found out just how awesome Taylor had been to Morgen, and my respect for them grew even more.
When we got inside, we headed for the balcony on Isaac's side and got decent spots where we could see (well, as decent as you can get at Amos's without being on stage. There really is no decent spot in that venue between the random poles and high-mounted speakers). I thought the crowd was going to be horribly dull watching their reaction to Jarrod Gorbel, but they perked right up for Hanson. Oddly I think out of the whole trip, this was the worst reaction I saw for Jarrod, and the best reaction I saw for Hanson. How sad.
The show had great energy and a great setlist. I'm tempted to say it was my favorite of this leg because of the people I was with; we had so much fun that night. Change in My Life had several of us in tears; it was an awesome moment for sure. Give a Little and Lost Without Each Other brought a full on dance party where we quit looking over the balcony at the stage all together and just let loose. I think I had my back to the stage for the entirety of both of those songs. To anyone else, we probably looked like crazy drunk people, but really, we were just ridiculously happy. In the City brought the perfect end to the perfect show, and Rachel and I had just been talking about how we wanted to hear it as a closer. We jumped like crazy after dancing like crazy, and we walked out feeling like we had been beaten up, but in a good way. That is probably the most tired I've ever been after a show, which was really unfortunate since we had a 7 hr drive to Baltimore and we planned to leave immediately. After cupcakes and hugs, a few bittersweet goodbyes and a cracked hubcap, we hit the road yet again.
*1/18/11 I'm not going to edit this entry because it makes for a good laugh, and quite frankly, I obviously don't really remember enough details to correct the error anyway. As Valerie pointed out in the comments, she didn't even take the walk in Charlotte, so scratch all of the stuff I attributed to her on that walk. I think maybe it was Whitney U.? How the heck do I not know who I walked with in Charlotte? I guess when the number of friends I saw matches the number of shows I went to on that leg, things can get confusing.