October 2, 2017

The Middle of Everywhere Tour

My first (and longest) stretch of the Middle of Everywhere Tour began with seven shows in the southeast. I drove from my house in South Carolina to a friend in Nashville, left my car there, and did the rest out of her car before driving myself back home at the end. I managed to cover 9 states and 4,800 miles in the 11 days of the trip, miraculously without ever leaving the southeast and without ever setting foot on an airplane (that’s more than the distance it would take to drive from the east coast to the west coast of the U.S. and back if anyone is counting). It definitely wasn’t the most logical or time-efficient routing, but I had a blast driving circles around my favorite band with some of my favorite people with the added bonus of TSA not being around to tell me to consolidate my liquids. It was all well worth the mileage.

I knew from the beginning not to get my hopes up about the setlist being particularly special or surprising. The nature of a tour to support a Greatest Hits album was always going to be a heavy focus on singles and songs that have been setlist staples for years. That being said, I still surprised myself a little by falling in love with the set. If you haven’t seen a show on this tour yet and want to remain surprised, maybe skip this post and check it out later.

The setlist felt like there was a clear division of three parts. Part one opened with a fairly energetic and upbeat set of classic Hanson songs like TTA, “Where’s the Love,” and “Waiting for This.” The second part transitioned into a more mellow, ballad-filled midsection (“Go,” “Weird,” “With You In Your Dreams,” etc.). My favorite part of every night was the end (how’s that for irony?). There was a clear turning point with “I Was Born” where the show really takes off and goes from calm and reflective to all of my favorite things about a Hanson show—jumping, clapping, dancing, and so much sweat that the finale should always be a shower. I may be off base, but the choice to use "I Was Born" as that turning point to take the set from somber to electric feels a little symbolic of their career and this tour, like everything up until that point was a nice look back at the past, but here's our new song and we’re still going full speed ahead. "Fired Up" has a special place in my heart this tour and I'd be fine hearing that version performed every night for the rest of Hanson history. Every show ended on a high note without a single hint of nostalgia, for me at least. Or maybe I just like the idea that whatever Hanson does next, it will feel every bit as energized and passionate as Taylor gets during "Fired Up" and "In the City." They had me convinced it will.

Maybe you completely disagree and were disappointed by a setlist full of the same singles night after night. You’re probably not alone if you were. At the risk of sounding jaded or preachy, I think I can honestly say I’m a little bit past the hunt for rare songs. I’m not immune to that excitement and probably never will be; I do have a list of songs I’ve heard live and how many times and I’m still thrilled to add to it, but those additions are much fewer and further between now, and I think there comes a point when you’ve basically heard everything and you go back to just being really happy to hear the songs you love with the people you care about. This tour was that for me, a celebration of all of my favorite parts of a Hanson show. They’ve completely spoiled us this time, and I’m not sure how I’ll ever go back to having an opener or two or feeling like the show is over at 19 or 20 songs after finishing out night after night of 27-29 songs and over two hours of uninterrupted Hanson on the MOE tour.

I'll post a review of each show "soon" once I can wrap my head around everything I want to say, and probably after I get rid of this nasty cold I picked up on the road like I always do. You can keep an eye on the blog or check back at the bottom of this post for links. And if you haven't made it to a show yet this tour? Drink plenty of water, pack your comfortable shoes, and don't forget to live in the moment because this band offers so much more than a great instagram story.

New Orleans, LA
Nashville, TN
Birmingham, AL
St. Petersburg, FL
Atlanta, GA
DO GO BE: Let's Get Fired Up
Raleigh, NC
Norfolk, VA

Part 2:
Minneapolis, MN

Part 3:
Anaheim, CA
Los Angeles, CA


Unknown said...

Great post!!! I love love LOVED the set list. It hit all the right points for me. Also, as a theatre professional (and fangirl for years) I will never be annoyed at a band doing the same set list for more than one show. I've seen Spring Awakening over 100 times. I was once IN a show that ran for 6 months. The magic became how you MADE the show special every night...anyway I'm on a tangent but that's why I kind of love seeing a concert or show that's the same on paper multiple times. AAAANYWAY I was trying to think of a solid subject for my first MOE blog post...:P

Kelly said...

I just did 2 back-to-back MOE shows (Philly and New York), and I also didn't mind the repetition in the set lists. Interesting that you mentioned "Fired Up" because that's a song I never listen to, but was a highlight of both nights--exactly because of the off-the-charts energy that you described. I also had 2 totally different experiences: I went to Philly with old friends who are more "casual" fans, we arrived just in time for doors, and it was really more about spending time together and celebrating the 20 years since our first show than it was about soaking in every possible note/lyric/hair flip. Then for New York I lined up early and got a 3rd row spot, and being that close to the stage was like being at a completely different show! But both nights the band was tight, the crowd was enthusiastic, and the 2 hours absolutely flew by (like for real, it felt like 15 minutes. Hanson are sorcerers). Anyway, great post :)

Becky said...

Great post. My leg of the tour starts this weekend - I'm going to Chicago, Seattle and Portland, and I couldn't be more excited. Hanson has always had a way of making me forget my troubles and I really need that right now.