October 27, 2015

Roots & Rock 'n' Roll Tour: Atlanta

The great thing about traveling for this band and being a part of this fan base for an extended period of time is that there comes a point where going to a show "alone" stops existing. You can plan alone, you can float between friend groups, but the feeling of "I don't know anybody here" just ceases to be a thing. Still, Atlanta was my first time in seven years planning a trip on my own without gluing myself to a specific group of friends the entire time. I carpooled with one group of friends, shared a hotel with another, spent time in line with yet another group, and then braved the shows surrounded completely by strangers.

The whole experience brought me back to what it felt like to be the new kid that doesn't know everybody. It's a little unsettling and awkward, but it also holds a lot of potential for new friendships if you let it. While I would have loved to share these shows with the girls I have grown so used to traveling with, I have to say it reminded me of what I miss out on when I do that every other time. I like to think that I'm open to meeting new people and making new fan friends, but the truth is having that core group of best friends can also be a little bit of a crutch. It's not one I use on purpose, but I think when you get a little too comfortable in the space you've carved out for yourself, you wind up letting other opportunities to make new friends suffer for it. So yes, I  missed my usual partners in crime in Atlanta. But I also really enjoyed getting to connect with some newer friends I might not have had the opportunity to spend time with otherwise. High fives to you girls for making my time in Atlanta a fun one. :-)

As for the shows, I was ecstatic about the whole cover song concept from day one. I may or may not have told Zac in Cancun that the Christmas/Cover song set was one of my all-time favorite Hanson shows ever (to which my friend immediately pointed out "You do realize you just told the guy your favorite Hanson show was one where he didn't play any of his own music, right?" Oops. Not what I meant). It didn't disappoint. "God Only Knows" was phenomenal. Zac and Taylor's voices blend together so well it's like the same person singing a duet with themselves sometimes. "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" was an unexpected highlight too, and it has been stuck in my head ever since ("Goodbye to Ro-o-sie, Queen of Corona...").

I've heard "Chain of Fools" before, but never cared much about it. Let Zac sing it though, and it's time to do a double take. Isaac looked really into it too even though he wasn't singing lead. Zac nailed "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" as I knew he would, though I'll never be able to sing along to "touching you, touching me" with a straight face.

There were two big stand-outs to me over the course of these two shows.

1. A Song For You. (video courtesy of Rachel H. from the Dallas show)

I had never heard this Leon Russell song prior to the livestream of Hanson's Chicago show a few weeks ago. I was hooked the moment I heard it on Yahoo, and hearing it in person was even better. People can argue about the quality of Taylor's voice and who should sing lead on what song, but I feel like this song showcased every good thing about it. Tell me Taylor's voice is gone, and I'll point at this song and carry on my happy fan way.

2. How much I actually appreciate Hanson songs.

That probably sounds ridiculous, but what I mean is that hearing the cover songs I was so excited about made me realize how much I really do appreciate Hanson's original songs. Every time they threw in a Hanson tune on covers night, I got this huge involuntary grin and couldn't wait to sing along. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I guess.

I try not to give mine too much down-time to find out, though. Can't wait for round two of my Roots & Rock 'n' Roll Tour experience in Los Angeles and San Francisco next week!


Cecilia said...

Lovely post.
I wasn't in Atlanta, but I can totally relate since I attended the shows in NY. I had high expectations for these shows and I must say Hanson beat the odds.
They were on fire. They played and sang flawlessly.
A Song For You was beautifully performed, Taylor is on point!
Now I love these guys even more. I could see how passionate they are about what they do.

The Good Groupie said...

This was such a fun concept for a tour, and I was beside myself knowing I was going to hear a Beach Boys tunes (finally!) after five years of being brave enough to ask.

I agree with you on "A Song For You". I was in awe of Taylor's voice as he played that in Dallas. We even got a some fun improv when some guy in the crowd yelled, "I love you, Taylor!" and he sang back, "Love you too, man".

Can't wait to hear more from you after your California shows!


heidi said...

Totally get what you mean about not being with your usual partners in crime. Don't get me wrong, I love my usual concert buddy, but she had a baby which has caused me to branch out a bit so I did Cancun without her and Tulsa without her which led to me talking to a lot of new people and I probably otherwise wouldn't have ended up in Colorado or New Orleans and Dallas without making those new connections without her.

Kelly said...

Agree that A Song for You is an outstanding solo choice by Taylor. I watched the livestream from Chicago, heard him play it live in NYC, and now seeing this video am really impressed with how far his performance of it has come during this short tour. He's gotten more confident and added a few embellishments without compromising the simple and spare loveliness of the song itself.

Also, I can get pretty uptight over people yelling during ballads, but the way T played off it here is hilarious. "remember when we were together *as friends!*" Nicely done, sir :)

Kelly said...

"The great thing about traveling for this band and being a part of this fan base for an extended period of time is that there comes a point where going to a show "alone" stops existing. You can plan alone, you can float between friend groups, but the feeling of "I don't know anybody here" just ceases to be a thing."

How true this is! I too, have a core group of friends that I normally go to shows with but we weren't all able to make one work for us this time, so I ended up staying with a different friend who introduced me to three new friends and now I know Hanson fans on all coasts of the US as well as my core base in the mid-West!

I keep thinking I will eventually run into you at some show - we know most of the same people but just haven't been to the same show yet.