May 23, 2022

Hanson Day 2022

I'm not sure how cutting out Hop Jam left me feeling busier than ever, but maybe two years off from a traditional Hanson Day just has me out of practice. HDay 2022 was back in full swing with all of the in-person events that have been missed in Tulsa since 2019 as well as keeping plenty of virtual content for those enjoying from home. See Exhibit A below. There's no free space on this bingo card.

For me, the event kicked off with the HTP live event which was Hanson's first time recording a podcast in front of a live audience. I suspect that a regular HTP episode must have a lot more outtakes and editing, but they did all of this one in one take. There was a live trivia game where both contestants hilariously ended up coming up wearing overalls and butterfly clips (thanks, 90s Karaoke!), and there were two reporters who shared the interview instead of just one. They did a great job with their questions and everything ran smoothly. The one quote that stuck in my mind from the whole thing was at the end when they somehow got on the topic of Zac and Taylor skydiving during the "I Was Born" era, and Isaac's perfectly-timed comedic input was "And I said to them, 'Well, someone needs to be alive." Good looking out, Isaac. Keep those royalties safe.

We also learned that the accessory equivalent of their pessimist/optimist/realist makeup is fannypack/murse/chain wallet if you've ever needed that mental image.

Karaoke was a blast as usual and I thought the 90s theme was particularly fun with all of the themed outfits that showed up. One of the best moments of the night had to be the woman that absolutely SLAYED "Shoop." Isaac joined her on stage but mostly just watched in awe like the rest of us. Rumor has it she was part of a group that showed up at doors and randomly bought a membership just because karaoke sounded fun; they weren't even there for Hanson (if you're reading this, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, elaborate, tell us how you got to be so awesome, etc.). Imagine leaving a bar with your friends just wandering around looking for the next good time on your Thursday evening only to randomly wind up schooling Isaac Hanson on "Shoop." It's the kind of story that will leave people asking exactly how much you had to drink last night and begging for video evidence. Thankfully, there's plenty.

The next morning I showed up in pouring rain for the first RGB Listening Party. In theory, there's something special about being in a room with the first people to ever hear a new album in full. In practice, people talked too much and there was way too much bass for no reason. Maybe it was partly due to where I chose to sit (on a bench built into the wall rather than in a free-standing chair), but feeling my entire body jiggling in rhythm to the bass on "Write You A Song" of all songs is not an experience I needed. My biggest takeaway was that even without hearing all that well, I could tell that "Rambling Heart" was going to be lyrical gold, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on the album in a quiet room with lyrics in hand. I wrote exactly four notes on a sheet of paper in the dark before I gave up because the visibility was even worse than the sound. They were:

"Wherever I goe is my home sweet home" (yes, I spelled "go" wrong. It was dark and loud.)
Track 3 = Taylor as Isaac
5. George Michael
Zac song 4? 5? = "In My Room" vibes

I'll save further RGB thoughts for a future post when I've had the album for longer than 30 seconds.

Bowling was fun but doesn't really make good blog material, and the same usually goes for the Dance Party, but this one warrants a few sentences. We actually got two dance parties...sort of. A technical glitch shortly into his DJ set had Taylor sending us to bed early Friday night with promises of a redo following the concert on Saturday. People took the decades theme seriously and I loved seeing everything from 60s flower crowns to Britney Spears and Ginger Spice costumes in the crowd. I went for 90s and got told I looked like I walked out of a Babysitters' Club book, which is honestly the highest form of praise 90s me could have ever hoped for while living out her best life at a party hosted by Taylor Hanson. Dream big, kids. You never know whose hometown nostalgia party you'll wind up at in 25 years cosplaying your former self.

The side events were fun, but let's talk about the real reason we all go back every year: the concerts. We were told at some point before the event that the Hanson Day Concert would be the first official show of the Red Green Blue tour. It was surprisingly more geared towards singles and a journey through Hanson's career than it felt focused on RGB or Against The World. It was a lot of fun and felt more like a "real" concert with big energy after the calmer acoustic set from Storytellers, but I think Zac(?) was right when he made a comment during HTP about how the setlist might feel similar to the MOE tour concept. It hit on each album including String Theory with Taylor's "Reaching For The Sky" solo and only included a few songs from RGB and ATW. Only time will tell if this was representative of a standard setlist for this tour or if they were holding back a bit since the album still wasn't released at the time. The best similarity to the MOE tour, though? It was satisfyingly long and felt like it was never going to end. (P.S. "Don't Let Me Down" live is great, even without the shorts and muscles. Or maybe BECAUSE it's without the shorts and muscles 😛.)

If you were there or followed along online, you probably already know why I've saved the Storytellers part for last. The setlist was amazing even without the one showstopper this is leading up to. "Stories" always gives me heart eyes, "Tonight" is one of my favorite Hanson songs period, "Watershed" was totally random and has only been played once at BTTI in 2014, and I haven't heard "Money" in 14 years. You can check out the setlist on Hansonstage for a list of 20 reasons to experience FOMO, and the reason at the top of that list is the one song I never though I'd hear them play. That's right, they played BOOMERANG. 

If you've been in this fan base for more than five minutes, you know that we are a group hungry for rares. For better or for worse, if you give us a choice, we are going to pick the song we have never heard over the song we actually like. What I mean to say--as politely as possible--is that while I am all for diversifying setlists and growing my own catalogue of heard songs, sometimes the rare choice is not the best musical choice. Thrown into a regular show, "bing bang, you hit me like a boomerang" is likely to set off about 40 fangirl screams of recognition and 700 "WTF is this, I'm going to the bar"s. But this was not a regular show, and we were all glued to what was unfolding in front of us. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I knew the story, that "MMMBop" was born out of "Boomerang," but I never expected to hear the way those puzzle pieces fit together. I always thought if I heard it live, there'd be a certain level of cringe, but it was actually really good. The harmonies were tight, the melding with the "MMMBop" chorus was really cool to hear, and Taylor delivered the line "I've seen girls of all shapes and sizes, but baby since I met you, you're the only one for me" like a 39-year-old straight-faced hero. Move aside, 90s nostalgia costumes, because Taylor Hanson owned the best throwback of the week.

I don't have any great outtakes or anecdotes to end this post with. Somehow, all my flights were on time, I didn't wind up in any petty line arguments, and nobody pulled me on stage or awarded me any trophies. None of my friends experienced a diva moment and rushed the stage at the end of karaoke, and I definitely didn't spontaneously extend my stay by a day only to come home with track 12 from The Walk. (we're playing three truths and two lies, here, btw)

The climax of the trip was Boomerang, which is ironic considering we were there to celebrate a brand new album and not a 27-year-old one, but what can I say? We recognize epic when we see it, and I promise to write a post just as enthusiastic as this one if they make me wait another three decades to hear "Where We Belong" for the first time. With a new tour coming up, I really hope they don't.


Anonymous said...

Hola from México

I love your blog. Thanks for sharing your experience!


Anonymous said...

A brilliant read thanks 😊

Anonymous said...

Wish I could have been there but was so grateful for all the streams! ❤️💚💙Boomerang was a highlight and they actually sounded really good singing it! Thank you for taking the time to write this up and share it!

Are you going to do a separate post with your thoughts on the White Rabbit EP?? 🤍

Holly said...

I probably will write about White Rabbit, but not sure yet if I want to do a full post about it or a combined one with RBG. It's weird to go months without any content to talk about and then have three separate big topics all at once, so I wanted to make sure I hit the time-sensitive one I was likely to forget details about first!