November 13, 2015

Roots & Rock 'n' Roll Tour: San Francisco

San Francisco felt more like normal tour since we had to drive several hours before and after and it didn't have the ease of flying in that all of the other cities had for me. It made me realize that I actually do like the craze of driving on a time crunch and battling out who is awake enough to take the wheel and for how long. We showed up with no place to stay and used Hotwire to book a last minute 1.5 star hotel down a crazy steep street. We showered at a YMCA and I gave myself a mild black eye with our car door in the dark parking garage. All of it felt a little bit closer to right than the easier parts of the rest of the tour.

We took a very hilly walk through the sunny streets of San Francisco, and I have to say of all the walks I have ever done, this one had the most colorful array of debris along the sidewalks (I'll spare you the specifics). It was definitely a place to watch your step. Past a homeless community on a pedestrian pass, someone had written "LOVE" in mustard on the sidewalk. There was no time to stop and take a picture for future "Where's the Love" jokes, unfortunately, but I was impressed when we passed it a second time on the way back and it was still there, footprint free. All questionable sidewalk decor aside, it was a gorgeous day for a walk.

You can check out a few more pictures from the walk HERE.
I want to say great things about the shows because it was the end of the tour and we even wound up front row center for Night #1, but something just felt a little off. Maybe it was the crowd or the venue staff or the fact that Hanson was getting sick, or some combination of it all. There was a fight in front of Taylor's piano right before Hanson took the stage, and I think that killed it a little bit. We shouted for security to come and after a million years they did, and they shined flashlights and looked around and seemed confused. After the show was over, I saw the same person I watched throw a punch before the show walking away from the same area I thought security had removed her from, so I'm not sure what happened, but someone somewhere failed. I guess I'll just be thankful my black eye was self-inflicted and not a result of whatever that mess was.

I'll never not enjoy front row center, though, and they put all the energy in the world into their new cover of Ben Folds' "Kate." It's one of the few Ben Folds songs I'm not familiar with, but they nailed it and made it fun even though I didn't know it. For the final encore the last night, Hanson, Paul McDonald, and Carrick & band all came out and sang "The Weight" together. The whole tour they had been introducing the band's drummer, Brijesh, as single. For the last show prank, Hanson came out and handed out fliers with his picture and real phone number on them. It was funny after the fact once we found out what was on the fliers, but as someone that wasn't up front who only saw wads of paper (and a couple of Zac and Andrew crafted airplanes) going out into the crowd, it wasn't this big funny moment that was shared with the whole crowd the way some pranks have been in the past. It felt like we were watching someone else's inside joke that we didn't quite get.

Hanson was too sick to come out after the show, but the weird spectacle of people wandering around afterwards was totally worth the wait anyway. A street vendor set up shop next to us with some questionable looking hot dogs that nobody dared to buy. Carrick, Austin, Brijesh, and Paul came out and talked to the crowd for a while, and a random (homeless?) man at the bus stop came over to Carrick and started singing for him. He had this surprisingly great deep voice and began serenading everyone with "My Girl" which turned into the weirdest crowd sing-along ever featuring this random bus stop guy, Carrick, and a crowd of corralled girls behind a barricade all singing together in harmony. I think it might have been better than if Hanson came out, though I would have loved to see them join in for "My Girl."

I'm always a little hesitant and nervous to write anything less than an amazing review of a Hanson show, but I'd be more hesitant to write some cleaned up, half-truth version just for the sake of appearances. I'd rather give you my semi-jaded, realistic version of the truth than waste your time with fake rainbows, and the truth is if you expect to follow a band or be a fan of anything for longer than a minute, you have to anticipate the lows along with the highs. It's too exhausting to waste your time being upset the minute something isn't perfectly amazing, and you'll wind up constantly angry and hurt if you let every imperfection scare you away. "Amazing" simply doesn't exist without some basis of comparison, and I'll never be upset by those moments because a low-ranking Hanson show still ranks way above whatever else I could've been doing if I wasn't there. The secret to being happy and sticking around is caring exactly the right amount about the right things and being able to truthfully say "whatever" or "maybe next time" to the little disappointments. Because there will be a next time, and you'll be there remembering all of the best of times that came before.

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