July 29, 2016

My Top 25 Hanson (song) Performances

This week, Hanson asked fan club members to vote on their top 25 Hanson songs. We were given a list of about 90 songs and the instructions to “Pick the songs you think both represent our greatest, but also the way you would share our music with the world.” We weren’t given any information about how the winning songs will be used, only that our votes might have a lasting effect. No pressure.

In true #travelingfanproblems form, I sat staring at the list and realized I had a variety of types of favorites. I could give you a list of top songs I like to hear live, top songs that are meaningful to me personally, and top songs I’d choose for non-fans to hear, and there might not be a lot of overlap on those lists. It was definitely a challenge to try to pick an ultimate top 25 that somehow combined all of those qualities. (These were my picks, if you’re curious. I already regret cutting "Runaway Run.")

All this to say I thought it might be fun to make my own completely biased top 25 list. Every once in a while at a show, a specific performance of a song just stands out as special. It might be a song that has never been performed live, or it might be a song I’ve heard a dozen times or more that Hanson just completely nailed in that moment. Keep in mind it’s biased, limited to my own experiences, and totally subjective. They're kind of in order, but I'm sure I forgot something, and the only one I'd stick to under pressure is my #1. I linked a few videos, none of which belong to me, and none of which really portray what it was like to be there. You understand. Here are 25 times Hanson blew my mind.

My Top 25 Hanson Performances

1. On & On Vancouver, BC, CA 10/2/13
This one got half a blog post all to itself. Acapella Hanson singing one of my favorite songs in my face is ALWAYS welcome.

2. Roller Coaster Love Tulsa, OK 5/5/13
Zac & Taylor both played drums. At the same time on mirrored drum kits.

3. Use Me Up Tulsa, OK 5/16/09 (Stand Up Stand Up recording, 3rd session)
None of us had ever heard the song before, and the emotion in it took me off guard. It was the first time I ever felt like crying at a Hanson show, but in a good way.

4. Chain of Fools Los Angeles, CA 11/1/15
Really, I could have picked any city this song was performed in because Zac has consistently blown me away every time I’ve heard it.

5. Being Me Albuquerque, NM 9/17/13
This has to be the best performance of anything I have ever seen Isaac give. It wasn't the first or only time I'd heard this song live, but Isaac was just 120% on that night.

6. Go Falls Church, VA 11/14/10
Zac taught the crowd to sing backup to his solo, and it was kind of impressive. The look on his face when everyone sang it back to him was pretty unforgettable.

7. Feeling Alive Tulsa, OK 5/20/16
This one gets on the list less for epic performance quality and more for its ability to make me completely emotional with no warning the first time it was performed. I can't wait to hear the finished recording.

8. Sunny Day/Cecilia Tulsa, OK 5/14/11
Neither song will ever be as good without the other. The stomp claps in that room were just perfect and can never be replicated.

9. Rock 'n' Roll Razorblade Durham, NC 5/7/08
It was the end of the last show of the tour, and it was my birthday. I remember Zac pulling his hair out of his ponytail and headbanging. The crowd was nuts. I jumped the entire song and could barely move when it was over.

10. Happy Together Albuquerque, NM 9/17/13
It just happened to be my first show of the tour and the first night they chose to play a new cover. "Happy Together" is an incredibly accurate statement for how we all felt, and it was just a really fun performance.

11. The Walk Atlanta, GA 10/26/11
To quote my own blog: "Something about that song that night though was so perfect that I want to use sappy words like "flawless," "captivating," and dare I say "moving" to describe it. I just stood there and listened and almost forgot where I was until it ended, and I could tell by the looks on the familiar faces around me that I wasn't the only one that felt that way. It's moments like those that keep me coming back."

12. Leave the Light On Atlanta, GA 10/16/07
We didn't know this song existed at the time; it first appeared on a membership kit a year later. Isaac walked out on stage alone with a guitar and started talking about how it had been too long since they played Atlanta. He said "As a token of my gratitude, I'd like to play a song that has never been played before." And then we all died.

13. Lost Without You Tulsa, OK 5/16/15
If you were there or you had the pleasure of seeing the livestream, you know exactly how amazing this solo performance was. It left everyone wondering "Why doesn't he play this more often?"

14. Kiss Me When You Come Home Seattle, WA 9/30/13
I never thought much about this song one way or another until I heard it as a Taylor solo and fell in love with the piano.

15. Superfreak/Can't Touch This with Meiko, Chicago, IL 9/28/11
Points for spontaneity and Isaac's courage to rap. You get two videos for this one because sound quality vs. facial expressions.

16. The National Anthem Tulsa, OK
I’m going to be completely honest. I don’t remember what year this happened, just that it was some time between 2011-2013. A guy raised his hand during the Q&A session and when Hanson chose him, his question turned out to be “Will you sing the National Anthem?” The whole thing was super random, but Hanson did it acapella with zero preparation, and they still nailed it.

17. Voice in the Chorus St. Petersburg, FL 11/5/10
If you didn't experience "Voice in the Chorus" on the Shout it Out tour, you missed out. Isaac did a lot of headbanging and it was impossible to stand still.

18. A Song For You Atlanta, GA 10/19/16
Despite the fact that this song isn't a Hanson song, it feels made for Taylor's voice.

19. I Want You to Want Me w/Cheap Trick, Chicago, IL 10/11/09
The sound quality wasn't amazing. There's not a good youtube video out there where you can hear a thing that's going on. To be honest, we were all probably screaming more over the spectacle of it all than the vocals, But Cheap Trick as a surprise guest couldn’t not make the list.

20. If Only (w/Let's Get it On) Asheville, NC 5/5/08
"If Only" is always amazing live. It's even better from the front row when Isaac breaks out a verse of "Let's Get it On" for the second time ever, and you all thought you missed out on the first time.

21. You Can't Stop Us Negril, Jamaica 1/14/13
This was before Anthem and before they decided to make it a shared lead. Zac sang lead on the whole song, and it felt far more like Queen than in any more recent performances.

22. In a Way Negril, Jamaica 1/11/14
This was the opening song to one of the best Hanson shows I've ever seen. The drums stood out to me in a way they never did on the studio version.

23. Give a Little Asheville, NC 7/30/10
When you unexpectedly become part of the performance, you have to include it in your list.

24. MMMBop New York,  NY 10/22/11
If you've ever seen me jumping oddly during MMMBop, this is why. Hanson played a VH1 Saves the Music event at an elementary school. Isaac started jumping to show the kids how to jump in time to the music. They loved it. He loved it. I loved it. And we left calling it the "MMMHop" before the beer ever existed.

25. Crazy Beautiful- Charlotte, NC 11/20/13
I asked for this song as a solo on multiple occasions and finally got it. And then it went from solo to full band and morphed into one of my favorite songs from that tour, "Happy Together."

And an honorable mention for Oh! Darling because it's always flawless and on point, so it's impossible to pick just one performance of it.

What moments would make your list? Do we have any in common?


heidi said...

National Anthem was moe 2011!

Holly said...

Thanks, Katie! I knew someone would know.

Kelly said...

I'm really impressed that after all the shows you've been to, you can pluck out such specific performances of individual songs. Do you keep a concert journal?

Holly said...

I actually don't; just this blog. Some came off the top of my head and others all I had to do was look at my list of shows and the tracklisting of each album for specific moments to jump back out at me. Just looking at The Walk song titles made me instantly go "OMG, Go was amazing that one time in Falls Church!" It was definitely fun to challenge myself to remember some of those moments I don't think about often.

Really cheesy/bad analogy time: It's kind of like ordering your favorite drink at Starbucks over and over. It's usually really good; that's why you keep ordering it. On a few rare occasions, someone screws it up, but you know it's normally way better and you like it enough not to give up on it from one bad experience. And every once in a while, you get handed that really perfect version that leaves you going "OMG, I should have ordered a Venti!" after the first sip. It's a bad analogy because it's not like I can tell you what Starbucks locations gave me the best version of a Chai Latte, but the point is you recognize a good version when it gets handed to you even if you've drank it every week for three years--maybe even especially because you've drank it every week for three years. I like to recognize and remember the really good ones :-)

P.S. I don't like Starbucks nearly as much as it sounds in this comment.

Kelly said...

Totally makes sense, and not a bad analogy! Sometimes Taylor puts way too much syrup in Never Let Go...I mean...;)

In all seriousness, that's how I remembered/thought of my favorites too, but I've only been to a fraction of the shows you have. I guess it's actually a little bit of a comfort to know that the special performances still stand out, even when the show counter gets way up into triple digits (not that I'll ever catch up to the Traveling Fan herself)!

Kelly said...

I think two of my favorite performances were "Don't Stop Believing" in Detroit back in 2010 and "It's a Long Way to the Top" at the KY state fair in 2004. Also, hearing "Get Up and Go" for the first time in Indianapolis in 2010 was pretty special - it's always been a favorite from Underneath and they don't play it much.

Unknown said...

I'm pretty sure I posted the national anthem video on my fb. Only at the very end did Kim make me put my camera down haha

Unknown said...

I also agree with a few of these. It's crazy how something that may not stand out for one person really stands out for someone else. Like that cheap trick show was my first Hanson show, so double points. And I'm completely biased to my birthday show 1/11/14 cause let's face it best show ever. But I was def in Charlotte for 11 and do not specifically recall them even playing the walk.

Holly said...

Haha Melissa, you just caught a mistake I didn't realize I made. The Walk performance I was talking about WASN'T from Charlotte in 2011. It was from Atlanta, the day after Charlotte. I wrote about them both in the same blog post so I must have gotten mixed up when I linked to it. #travelingfanproblems