I know you're not reading this for food commentary, but you're going to get it anyway. The dinner at Caz's Chowhouse was great. Though I've been aware that chicken and waffles is an actual thing for over a year now, I had never tried it before. It's a somewhat regional thing (though I've definitely seen it offered in both Tennessee and Oklahoma, so it can't be THAT regional), and we don't have it here. I finally opted to try it at Caz's and was pleasantly surprised, mostly because it was the best waffle I've ever tasted. Good food aside, it was fun getting to meet and catch up with everyone. Also, Isaac wagged his finger at my cheesecake. IDK. It wasn't doing anything wrong.
Next was the screening for the new documentary, Re: Made in America. I'm not a fan of spoilers, so I'll refrain from going into too much detail on this as well as the new music. If I had to choose one word to describe it, I would use "genuine." This documentary addresses some of the issues that have been rumored among fans regarding tensions in the band. I will say it's not quite as universal as Strong Enough to Break in that I don't think just any music fan could pick it up and fully appreciate the struggle/journey, but that may be a special treat for more hardcore fans that are already familiar with the band's dynamic. It was an interesting inside look at the recording process for a band that has toughed it out for 20 years and included a few good laughs along the way. If you don't purchase a package, I would encourage you to still sit down and watch it with a friend some time.
I was a little nervous for the walk since it was the first hosted by Hanson in about three years. It was freezing and had just finished raining, so for the first time after twenty or so walks, I kept my shoes on. Maybe I'll use it as an opportunity to appreciate being a spoiled middle-class American with the option to wear shoes and socks when and wherever I want, and to recognize how awful it must be to not have that option. Despite the weather, the turnout was good, and many still walked with bare feet.
The Listening Party
Good stuff. Buy the album June 18th. You won't regret it. I'll post a full review of the album on the release date :-)
Sidenote: Hanson is not even kidding around about leaking new music and filesharing. There were multiple signs saying anyone caught recording in the listening party or the show would be immediately banned for life from any future Hanson shows. Just say no, guys.
The Show (session two)
I have to admit I was wary about the setlist. I feared that they would play the new album in its entirety and be done. And as amazing as that would be and as spoiled as it sounds, I really didn't want to travel 1,100+ miles one way just to hear something I could hear nine times on tour much closer to my house. They didn't disappoint, and I have to say this might have been my favorite member event to date. They began by playing a few new songs from Anthem, but then surprised us all by announcing that we were going to help them record the new fan club EP. We stomped and clapped and provided "oohs" on cue, and for the second time in my life, I enjoyed stomping in heels at the top of a set of bleachers in Cain's. (I also didn't fall and break my neck, which is an added bonus.) I don't get too many super flustered OMG IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING type moments, but seeing Zac and Taylor drum in unison, mirrored on a set of left and right-handed drum kits was a good enough catalyst for that reaction in us all. I'm almost as excited for the new EP as I am for the new album.
I was surprised and not surprised when the Q & A session opened up with the question I had submitted. When those things start, you always envision a Hanson reading off your name, right? Like you're willing it to happen and mentally preparing yourself for if it does. And then they do or they don't, but this time the scenario that played out on stage was the same one that preceded it in my head. And for what it's worth, it was also edited a bit from my original version.
What Zac read: "Do you plan to continue the walks on the next tour?"
What I wrote: "Do you plan to continue the walks at every tour stop on the next tour?"
I've heard them say a few times now that they plan to continue the walks, but the explanation has always been a little vague. I was curious if they plan to continue them at every show in the same fashion as The Walk Tour, or if they're going to be changed or updated in some way, like how they're donating $1 from ticket sales this time. I should have elaborated when I wrote my question, but I'm happy with a "yes" either way!
Pun intended, of course, because there was no rest during the rest of the trip. "The rest" can be summed up in two parts: riding in the car, and photobombing. My trip to Tulsa was a 20 hour drive, split 8 hours one day and 12 the next. The trip home was a straight 23.5 hour drive, with at least one of those extra hours courtesy of a dead car battery at midnight in nowhere, SC. I sincerely hope to never see two sunrises on the same car trip again without sleep in between. That being said, it won't stop me from doing it again next year.
The rest, in picture form: