This show was one of those last-minute flukes that just sort of works. I was already planning a trip to Tulsa, and I was carpooling with friends in Tennessee, so when Hanson plans to be where I am already going to be at the same time I'm going to be there, who am I to say no?
It wasn't just a Hanson concert though, and I would have been disappointed if I had gone into it with that sort of expectation. Instead, it was a celebration of a vision, a passion, and an accomplishment after countless people joined together to contribute to the building of 1,000 wells. Hanson was just one of many guests including Jars of Clay, Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, and Eric Wainaina to name a few. Each performed a short set and spoke a bit about the inspiration behind building the wells, encouraging audience members to get involved and thanking them for doing their part. I enjoyed all of the performances, but I was especially moved by Jars of Clay's performance. They were full of passion and had a bit of a spiritual theme going which I loved. One song in particular stood out to me at the time (I think it was called "Oh My God"?). I'll definitely have to check out more of their music
Eric Wainaina was last and definitely an interesting performer. He is from Kenya and brought a full band including a backup singer that doubled as a backup dancer, so it was a completely different style of music than I'm used to. I loved watching the dancing, and got a huge kick when he had the audience play imaginary violins (not so much when he pointed right at me and my friend for not doing it along with them, but we were two of about 4 people in our entire section, and it felt weirdly exposed).
Hanson went on before Jars of Clay and gave a brief explanation about their walks and how they contributed to building a well through takethewalk.net They played a short set of songs that related to the celebration at hand, and their voices blended together as well as ever.
1. Carry You There
2. Waiting For This
3. This Time Around
4. Great Divide
It was definitely more laid back than your average Hanson show, and everyone stayed seated with the exception of two girls I saw who were on their feet and jumping around the whole time. It didn't really seem like the right time and place for that, but to each his own. The guy that introduced them to the stage mentioned that their new single "Give it a Little" had reached number one on the VH1 countdown, and I couldn't help but giggle a little at the new title, especially after the mock GAL tee was misspelled just days before. Who knew those three words were so difficult?
At the end of the show, all of the artists came back out and sang along to Jars of Clay's "The Shelter." I've never seen a stage so packed full of performers in my life; everyone was shoulder to shoulder and there were a few behind others. Everyone on stage and the audience sang along repeating "In the shelter of each other, we will live, we will live," and it was a fantastic moment to be a part of. I felt like we were supposed to all link arms and sway or something, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. It was just a good, tangible moment of solidarity between everyone on stage and in the audience, and the whole thing was about so much more than just Hanson. It felt like a true celebration of unity and a job well done.
After the show, some of the girls I was with wanted to wait outside to try to meet Hanson. There wasn't really a designated area to do this, so it got chaotic fast with everyone crammed onto the sidewalk to stay out of the way of traffic in the parking lot. There were lots of people in a small space, so I tried to hang back and out of the way with no intention of pushing towards a Hanson. I watched from a distance as the guys came out and Taylor addressed the crowd as someone immediately asked for a picture. He politely said that they would only be doing autographs, and I watched as his polite smile revealed the briefest flicker of annoyance as the girl he had declined shoved her face next to his anyway and a flash went off. I was angry for him, but he simply smiled and continued to sign for the mass around him. At one point Isaac headed straight towards where I was standing away from the crowd and said "Sorry, guys!" as he made his escape. I stepped aside to let him pass and absentmindedly echoed back, "Sorry, Isaac!" as if the crowd was my fault.
I ended up holding a friend's camera to take pictures for her and got my program signed by Taylor and Zac along the way. I told Zac how much I loved the final group performance and that I would see him in Tulsa, and he promised that it would be a good show and worth the trip (side note: it was). Later I learned that Holly #2 (no pun intended) had a rather interesting discussion with Zac about diarrhea etiquette on the bus. Apparently the rule of thumb is just don't. Only Zac. Or maybe only Holly.