November 3, 2013

Anthem Tour: Vancouver & Home.

Vancouver, BC, Canada, Oct. 2nd, 2013

It’s cold. You’re sitting in a sleeping bag on a sidewalk in a country you’ve never been to before.  It’s past midnight on a Tuesday, but to the drunks wandering in and out of the bars, it’s perpetually Saturday.  Homelessness peppers the sidewalks, and there are so many questionable activities going on that nobody is surprised by the five girls in clean sleeping bags beneath the venue marquee. You wonder if this is normal in Vancouver.

One man finally stops.

“What are lovely ladies like yourselves doing camped out on a sidewalk?” he asks.

“We’re here for the Hanson show,” you say.

You’re prepared for the usual onslaught of “MMMBop” jokes and irrelevant cracks about long-haired children and mistaken gender.  Instead, he says:

“Is it really worth it?”

You can’t tell him about all ten of the shows you saw in the last two weeks, or the fifteen or fifty or two hundred you saw before that.  You can’t show him some mental montage of all the places you’ve been and the people you’ve met. You can’t even pull out your phone to show him a song clip because you’re not about to pay out of country roaming fees for ten seconds of the wrong part of “You Can’t Stop Us.”  You can’t tell him these things because he’s drunk and you have about a twelve second window before his attention wanders to the next sedentary female, and because even if he wasn’t, some things can’t really be explained.

You settle for “Yes.”

He insists on buying you fries and water from the McDonald’s down the street because he’s wasted and maybe it seems like a pretty chivalrous thing to do for a bunch of sidewalk sleepers. You politely decline and he’s off to the next bar on this Tuesday/Saturday night.

The night drags on. Someone asks if you're "George's girls," and it takes you a moment to realize that logic says George is a pimp and you've just been mistaken for prostitutes (in sleeping bags?).  An older woman in a blonde wig insists you take a handful of contraceptives from the bucket attached to her hip, but you decline those too. You also decline the drunk guy who keeps saying that he "NEEDS" to sleep in the three-inch-gap between you and your friend. You tell him he doesn't.

Yes. Still worth it.

The Vancouver show was one of my favorites all tour, weird camping experiences and all.  The small fan club event held before the regular show was a definite highlight and worth the wait. There were around 50 fan club members in attendance, and we got a few acoustic songs, a Q&A, and group photos with the band. I sincerely hope our photo is a full body shot so my friends and I can all have a good laugh at the variety of footwear going on (hello, rain boots & platforms!). 

My favorite part of the event was "On and On," hands down. First, it's my favorite song from this year's EP. Second, they stepped away from the microphones and walked to the front of the stage to sing the final chorus directly in front of us, face to face, and it was GORGEOUS. And third, I've been saying all along that the last line in that song screams Brokeback Mountain, and Hanson finally confirmed that they're aware of the similarity too. It's this really sweet love song, and the last line is "I can't quit you." (I believe the original line in the movie is "I wish I knew how to quit you," but it was close enough to send me into a fit of giggles the first time I heard it in Tulsa this year). Anyway, Hanson blows my mind singing this gorgeous a capella version of one of my favorite songs, literally five feet in front of my face, and then they end the song like this:

"I can't quit yoooooou........Jake Gyllenhaal." Ladies and Gentlemen, my favorite band.

They surprised all of us at the end by asking if we had any requests. People immediately shouted for "Cried," and they eventually gave in and played just the chorus. Then they played all of "Ever Lonely," which made up for the fact that I couldn't think of a single thing to request. I'll be better prepared next time. 

During the regular show, my friends and I really appreciated Zac bringing out "Fire on the Mountain" for the first time this tour. They know fans travel to multiple shows, so it's always nice when they switch the setlists up a bit. I can remember thinking a few songs in that I should have asked them to play "Something Going Round" when I had the chance during our group pictures. I didn't ask, but I was thrilled when it showed up near the end of the set list anyway. It's always been one of my favorites live; I love when they drop the music and stop singing and all you can hear is the crowd carrying on the word "NOW" without them at the end.

Afterwards, we waited by the bus one last time to say goodbye at the end of my favorite trip to date. Taylor was sick and didn't come out, but we thanked Isaac and Zac for a great run of shows and left with pictures and smiles knowing that all of us would be back next time, and knowing that "back" doesn't necessarily mean Canada, but anywhere.

We woke up deathly ill right on schedule the following morning (thanks again, Zac) and started the 22 hour drive back to L.A. The one thing I didn't get to do in Vancouver was visit an old Supernatural set and take nerdy pictures there (Supernatural:TV::Hanson:music, okay?). Naturally, at the U.S. border I turned my phone back on to see a post from a friend we said goodbye to the night before. There was Jensen and Jared and the Impala, parked in her hotel lot we had parked in just 24 hours before, shooting a brand new scene. I guess you can't win them all.

As if the 22 hour drive and subsequent cross-country flight weren't complicated enough, I woke up to an email saying that my flight home was canceled. I was re-booked on a red-eye a full 11 hours after my original flight instead. But wait, there's more! My connecting flight was delayed, too. TWICE. By the time I got home, I had to beg a coworker to cover my shift, I had to pay for an extra day's parking at the airport, and I had spent roughly 33 out of the previous 72 hours in cars or on planes. I came home, dragged my things inside, and opened my suitcase to pull out my phone charger before crashing into bed. Inside is a wad of ticket stubs shoved in with dirty socks and rain boots and a pair of drumsticks tucked into an umbrella bag.

Yep, still worth it.

1 comment:

The Good Groupie said...

Ohmygosh, that Brokeback reference is fantastic! I remember Katie and I giggling at that back in May at MOE too...and singing that line waaaay too dramatically the whole two shows we got together on this tour. Knowing they recognize how hilarious that line is makes it that much better. <3