November 1, 2017

MOE Tour: Norfolk

Norfolk is the city where I could no longer ignore or deny being sick. I had a Nyquil label's worth of symptoms, and it was probably for the best that I was heading home to rest afterwards instead of continuing on to the next tour stop. Consider this just one of the many reasons it was particularly unfortunate that I wound up with a child directly underneath me during the show. 

I was in the front row in front of Isaac, and part of the way through the show, a little boy and a little girl (~ages 8 and 4?) were let in front of the barricade.  It's not the first time I've seen this happen, and it really didn't bother me--at first. They started out just sitting still on the bottom of the barricade, no harm done. Then they got restless. They walked in and out of the barricade area over and over, and it was incredibly distracting. One would come back with a water bottle, or a sweatshirt, or (finally!) a pair of earplugs since they were so close to a speaker, never sitting still for more than a few minutes at a time. Every time, the boy kept coming back to sit in his same spot on the ledge of the barricade in front of me. And every time, I had to tuck my arms uncomfortably behind the barricade for fear of elbowing him in the head when I clapped. (For a while, I was terrified I was going to sneeze in his face and wasn't sure what to do about it. I ended up maneuvering the most awkward sneezing-behind-the-barricade move that left me equally terrified I was going to break my nose on the bar. You're welcome, kid's mom.)

The weirdest part is they didn't seem to be enjoying the show and looked thoroughly unhappy to be there. They never smiled or clapped or even appeared to be looking at Hanson, and I have never felt more judged during "If Only" in my life than the moment I looked down to see an 8-year-old boy glaring at me while I jumped. At one point a random third party child joined for a song and then disappeared, and mom conveniently showed up long enough to record "Penny and Me." At the peak moment of weirdness, the little girl curled up with her hoodie pulled over her head and WENT TO SLEEP in front of me on the barricade. It was the weirdest daycare circus I have ever witnessed at a show, and I'm really not sure why security was letting it happen. Hanson completely ignored their presence, and I felt like I was in some Twilight Zone episode of the MOE Tour.

We've reached the Unpopular Opinion portion of the MOE tour posts. Please understand that I am not against children going to Hanson shows. I'm not, and I've seen plenty who were well behaved and had a blast. It's no secret that the guys love seeing kids having a good time at their shows, and I'm not against accepting special treatment when it's freely offered, either. What I am against is parents putting their own desires above the needs of their children. Check out this completely unnecessary concept map I drew if anyone needs further explanation for things that I thought were obvious.

*stows soapbox carefully in overhead bin* Moving along...

There were two great standout moments at the Norfolk show. The first was that they skipped "With You In Your Dreams" and played "Save Me" instead, which was a much needed emotional break after my previous night in Raleigh. Taylor introduced the song by telling us good luck trying to top the crowd enthusiasm for "Save Me" at the South American shows. I'm sure we didn't even come close, but it was a fun surprise anyway. After the show I tried to thank Isaac for playing it in place of WYIYD, but he misunderstood and started talking about how they usually like to switch things up more for fans that go to a lot of shows, but they were worried it wouldn't be enough this tour. I rambled off a lot of compliments about how they had chosen the right combination of songs and told him that I was fine with it being mostly the same each night because I loved the set they had created. I left the venue thinking "I think I just gave Isaac an oral rough draft of what my first blog post for this tour should be," and then I came home and wrote it.

The second moment came during Taylor's altered introduction to "I Was Born." He delivered a pretty convincing speech that included telling us we were all lucky that we had a parent figure to raise us and change our diapers and put up with all of our literal crap so that we could grow up to do and be whatever we want. He demanded that we all pull out our cell phones and text our moms a "thank you" message right then and there. I texted mine after the show: "Taylor said to text you that I love and appreciate you. I do :-)" She's not even phased anymore. She replied "Love you too" and didn't even ask for context.

The show ended with Zac wringing out his sweat-drenched shirt into a puddle front and center on the stage while the retail employee in me was internally screaming "NO! Someone's going to have to clean that up!" The more compassionate side just felt bad that Zac was sick; he spent the whole show sweating and downing cups of hot liquid and somehow still sounding like a vocal superhero. It feels like the guys have been sick for most of this tour, and I'm forever impressed that they manage to stick it out night after night and still put on such a killer show. At least they don't have to worry about sweating on a child's face mid-performance, right?


asphodelia said...

Great post (and you'll find my comment on FB about my views on children at shows...). The diagram is brilliant and I might borrow it (with credits and link, of course) for future posts if the subject crops up.

I'm a little surprised that Taylor asked everybody to text their mums; statistically, how many people in the audience might not have a mother anymore? I have to say, that would have got me way more than listening to WYIYD one more time. I can't text my mum anymore, and that's just really sad.

Holly said...

That thought did cross my mind, and I know another friend was a bit upset after hearing about it. He said "or your dad" at one point and I realized just how upsetting that must have been to someone without a mom to text. It was so random and specific though it made me wonder what happened to make him realize how crappy we all are as kids sometimes or how thankful we should be that someone along the way put up with it.

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