November 5, 2011
Northampton, New Haven, Boston, Portland
Northampton feels like so long ago that I really don't have a lot to say about it. We showed up probably two hours before doors, and since it was seated we went exploring. It was here that we encountered our first "Occupy _____" group. I was completely unfamiliar with this movement prior to this trip, but I'm more than educated about it at this point after finding disgruntled Occupy crews in almost every city we hit. This particular bunch was small in number and gathered in front of the Bank of America, chanting and holding home-made signs but seemed a bit less organized and represented than most others that we saw.
The show was good. We had front row seats so it was nice to walk up and get a good spot without having to wait in line forever, and we were super happy that The Walk won the album voting. Out of all the shows I did, this was the only show I actively voted for on a regular basis, so I was incredibly happy when my pick finally won. "Tearing it Down" was a definite highlight. It's a decent song on the album, but it easily plowed through to one of my favorite live songs as soon as I heard it. We actually sat down during the acoustic set which was another memorable moment because really, how many times do you sit at a Hanson show? There's something fantastic about sitting with your feet on the stage instead of standing with some heavy-breathing girl pressed against your back, screaming the lyrics to "Go" with more energy than Zac gives during "Rock 'n' Roll Razorblade."
As soon as we showed up at Toad's and saw a slew of drunk Yale kids, we knew we were in for an interesting night. Several scaled some metal structure and the police had to shine a light on them to make them come down. One ran over to me and Valerie and stole a fry out of our bag before we could respond, and I stopped another from sneaking under the blanket of a fan who had her head turned. The next day, a random girl wearing a banana costume asked "Are you really waiting for HANSON?!" I responded, "Are you really wearing a banana suit?" You know it's bad when you're being judged by a girl in a giant banana.
While I wasn't overly excited about hearing Middle of Nowhere as the winning album, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the show was. It also probably ranks as the loudest show I've ever been to with all of the screaming echoing in the room. Zac later explained to us that it was due to the layout and shape of the room, but I'm not convinced that it wasn't just due to the insane over-excitement of a lot of the people there. At some point during the show, I saw Isaac wiping his nose and filed it away in my head with a simple "huh, they must be getting sick." No kidding, as we would soon find out a few days later.
After the show was this weird phenomenon of girls without pants. I guess the venue opened up to be some kind of dance club after the show because there was a huge line of scantily clad girls and oddly normal looking guys waiting to get in. Almost every girl was wearing the same one-size-fits-none tube skirt, and I saw a whole lot more of New Haven than I ever wanted to that night. Let's just say if you ever hear me say "she must be from New Haven," don't take it as a compliment.
Boston was the site of my first parallel parking job of the trip, and I was darn proud of it. Unfortunately, it was also the place where my poor mutilated tire decided to fight back (long story---I basically tore my hubcap during the SIO tour last November and never fixed it), so I spent an outrageous $7 on scissors and a good 15 minutes trying to saw off the offending piece to keep it from puncturing my tire. My poor car puts up with a lot for this band.
We were in the balcony for the show and it provided a good view of a surprisingly full floor. I've since heard people say that the show sold out, but I'm not convinced. Still, it was a decently full venue for such a large capacity. The energy was pretty high and the major highlight here was hearing Hanson cover Weezer's "Troublemaker." I expected it to become a tour staple, but this turned out to be the only night they played it.
After the show we sat out by the bus and huddled for warmth like dorks and had a pretty good time just talking to friends and getting to know people. It was here that I unknowingly received the high five of death from Zac that ended up getting me and eventually every person that traveled with me sick. Sorry guys, I didn't want that something either.
This is the single weirdest city I've ever visited due to the homeless population. Dad jokingly told me to stay away from the "Maine-iacs" but had no idea how much truth was in that statement. There was the guy that offered to sell us drugs and then offered them for free when we refused (for the record, we still refused), the old bald man that fawned over my nail polish before proudly showing off his own, the guy that creepily stopped to say "I like you. You look good," then walked away, and many, many more people that gave a generally weird vibe. I didn't necessarily feel in danger, just more of a "what kind of twilight zone am I in?" feeling.
The one upside was some of the most amazing food at a local restaurant called Sprouts & the Bomb Diggity Bakery. It was so fantastic that we ate there twice.
Of course we got fantastic spots only to find that the show would be canceled halfway through due to the sickness going around to everyone on the bus (and unfortunately me at this point). From what I remember, they came out and played a few songs, then disappeared backstage for a few minutes. At this point, we knew something was up, and not necessarily something good. When they came back out, they announced that Underneath had won the voting, but in order to give us a better show, they would play SIO instead. They only got through one song before quickly realizing that wouldn't cut it, either. I can't remember too many specifics except they seemed to be struggling to do songs with Isaac and Zac leads to let Taylor's voice rest, but with everyone being a bit sick, it was still too much. I watched Taylor mouth "Watch Over Me" to Zac, and Zac shout back "No, it's too much." It seemed obvious that Taylor wanted so badly to continue the show, but it just wasn't in his best interest and his brothers knew it. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, especially after having camped out and gotten close to front row center, but I'm glad they made the responsible call that might have saved them more sickness and damage to their voices in the long run. Seriously, no hard feelings from me. I know they would never cancel a show without very good reason, and I'm glad they're all okay. I can't say I'll be making the drive back to Portland when they reschedule, though.