July 30, 2022

RGB Tour: Raleigh


Confession: Raleigh was always a little bit of a "throwaway" show in my mind when I started making tour plans. There's no way I was going to miss it when it's the closest show to home, but it wasn't part of a multi-show trip and I didn't make plans to go with friends. I drove up Wednesday and drove back Thursday morning, and I knew in advance that there was no way I was going home feeling fulfilled with such a small dose of Hanson and an even smaller dose of friends. Thankfully, Raleigh was up to the challenge of proving me wrong.

Despite going alone, Raleigh is arguably "home turf" for me (or as home as I can get when Hanson hasn't played in my state in 13 years), so I knew I'd run into a lot of familiar faces from past southeast shows. I knew one person in line ahead of me and quickly made new friends with the rest. Everyone was so friendly and polite, and it was an overall great experience leading up to the show--the venue staff even brought us popsicles! Shoutout to every single one of you. Nobody ahead of me left for longer than a bathroom break or tried to squeeze in any latecoming friends. I'm going to need to copy and paste this line experience to all future shows, thanks.

When we finally got inside with the members line, I wound up front row almost directly in front of Isaac. John Calvin Abney was opening again, sans guitar malfunctions this time, but things went a little bit sideways in my part of the crowd right after he finished his set. I’m going to spare you some of the specifics, but the shorter version is I experienced a Hanson concert first in Raleigh that night: the person next to me in the front row threw up, and then it happened again as she was facing me trying to get out of the crowd, and I swear my life flashed before my eyes.

I came out mostly unscathed, but my involuntary reaction was to throw my hands over my face, turn my body, and bend over as far as I could to bury my face in the safety of the strangers behind me, some of whom seemed understandably concerned that I had turned to vomit on them myself. There was kind of a sitcom funny/not funny moment where I found myself shouting “I’m not a sympathetic vomiter!” trying to reassure them that my crazy movements had just been an involuntary reaction to get out of the way, not an indication that I was going down next. Thankfully there was no horrifying chain reaction (Problem Child 2, anyone?), and I have never been happier to be wearing a mask.

So what do you do when your hard-earned front row spot has just been compromised by vomit? We immediately called over security for help and were told that due to the location and the construction of the barricade, they wouldn’t be able to clean it up until after the show (the metal floor of the barricade was a grid of hollow metal squares raised an inch or two off of the wooden floor below if you want the mental image). They ended up throwing some of that industrial powdered cleaning stuff over the side of the barricade to take care of it the best that they could, but as they were walking away, we quickly realized a second issue. To put it as politely as I can, the inside of the barricade needed to be cleaned from the top to the bottom, not just the floor. We asked if they could please come back with wipes or something to keep us from being pushed into that spot of the barricade. Do you need this level of detail? No. But the venue’s response was too comically pathetic to leave out.

A different staff member finally came back wearing gloves and carrying—I kid you not—a single napkin. ONE NAPKIN. She reached her arm over to our side and cleaned what she could reach, but the barricade from about waist down still needed to be cleaned. We begged her to come back with more cleaning supplies, but her response was “I’m sorry, this is all I have.” I won't name names, but a brave soul in the 2nd row took one for the team and finally convinced the staff member to give up one of her gloves and the wimpy napkin so we could finish the job. Someone around us volunteered the rest of their water, and we did what had to be done (I say "we" in solidarity of the few of us in that bubble, but I deserve zero credit here). You are the true MVP and you earned front row more than any of the rest of us did that day. Thank you!

I do want to make it really clear that I have ZERO hard feelings for the person who got sick. She was super sweet, was not drunk, and did nothing wrong; I think the heat just got the best of her. The relative that got her out of the crowd and didn’t pressure her to stay or make her leave the crowd alone did exactly what you should do when someone you’re responsible for needs help. I’ve seen my share of selfish parents/guardians when it comes to a choice of taking care of your kid or losing out on your own good time. I’m glad to report I’ve heard that she is feeling better and both were still able to enjoy the show from elsewhere in the crowd. 


I don't know what it was about Raleigh in particular, but I really felt like the crowd had more energy than the other two shows I attended. Everyone around me was jumping and clapping and having a great time, and I know sometimes that comes with the territory of being in the front row and you simply don't have a view of the people around the room that are standing still, but even Nashville didn't seem this pumped from a comparable spot. Taylor commented on it too at one point, maybe before he killed us with a semi-acapella rendition of "Save Me." I could write it off as lip service, but I didn't hear a similar comment at Nashville or Atlanta, so I'm going to go with the band was feeling it too.

Raleigh was the first time I heard Taylor attempt this crowd sing-a-long version of Save Me, and while I vaguely heard something about it happening the night before in Birmingham, I didn't really understand until it was happening in front of me. He started the song standing at the front of the stage with just a microphone and a smile and invited us to join in, and then he had us carry the song without him for a bit. There were several shouts that took away from what the moment could have been, but I was pretty impressed with the crowd's ability to fill in the blanks of a song that was never actually a single and hit its prime in 2000. 

Zac switched up his solo and played "Good Days" from the 2020 members EP, and Isaac surprised me by scrapping song voting for that night and played "Deeper" instead. At one point in the show when Taylor gives his speech about how you could be anywhere else in the world tonight, but you chose to be here with your significant other, your friends, your family, etc., that night he chose to add in "stranger friends," which is a term I've never heard him use before but was perfectly fitting for my circumstances. I've made so many "stranger friends" at Hanson shows, and I'm thankful for them all, whether they last for a night or stick around for a decade and just become stranger and stranger. 😉

The encore got back a little bit of the "oomph" missing at my previous two shows, though I'm not sure "Get The Girl Back" is really encore material. It's upbeat and works well enough as part one of a two-part encore, though, so I was pleased. "Fired Up" as the final song left me really happy but also really missing my usual travel partner who understands the assignment of when to jump with me during the chorus. Apparently I can do the TBS dance without her, but jumping solo during "Fired Up" just felt too wrong. Turns out not jumping during it feels just as wrong to me, though, so we'll see what happens next time. Obviously the solution is just to bring her to everything, which she's usually on board with most of the time.


After the show was a super weird bus experience because it is the only time in my entire life that I have heard security ask people to leave and every last person actually listened on the first attempt. It was absolutely bizarre. There have been times when I've seen multiple police officers ask fans to move only to have an entire crowd play dumb and not budge an inch. Yet somehow, this one security guy at The Ritz calmly suggests it's time to go home once, and everyone's polite southerner gene kicks into high gear and sends them off with a smile and a wave. I was absolutely floored, annoyed that I had to give up my good spot at the barricade because I was not about to be the only person refusing to move, and determined enough to step back but not leave entirely. As soon as enough "new" people exited the building who hadn't heard the original warning to leave, people began going to the barricade again and I rejoined the crowd. This time Isaac and Zac came out and the same security guy was all smiles that we were there. Naturally. I think the best part was when Zac picked up a scooter to put it back on the bus and someone shouted "Do a trick!" He pressed a button that made it collapse into itself into a packable size and shouted back "There's your trick!" Before walking onto the bus.

Once Isaac and Zac were done greeting everyone, security started to tell us to leave again, and once again, every last person cleared the barricade immediately. I backed away thinking "Have we learned nothing here?" Security was a little more adamant this time, though, so most people actually left for good. I'm sure most were pleased to have gotten 2/3 of the band if not the whole trifecta, but the whole reason I was waiting was to get Taylor to sign my Ryman poster after Zac and Isaac had already signed in Atlanta, and this was my final opportunity to complete it without having to figure out how to pack it on a plane. I spent a few minutes talking to fans in the parking lot, and finally Taylor came out and met a very small group of maybe 20 of us. I got a quick conversation, a photo, and a signed poster, and no, I didn't feel all that bad for making the staff member who ghosted us during vomitgate stay a little bit longer into her night.


1. When in Raleigh, it's important to have a Costco membership or a friend with a Costco membership.
2. Canned water is an abomination.
3. If Isaac takes mild offense to your suggestion that his solo voting system is rigged, understand that you may not be aware that your friend accused him of the exact same thing the night before.
4. Open-toed sandals in front row are risky footwear. 2/2 front rows this tour will agree that mistakes were made. If you see me in rain boots on a sunny day at a show in the future, mind ya business.
5. You're never truly alone at a Hanson show. ❤💚💙

July 25, 2022

RGB Tour: Nashville & Atlanta

RGB Setlist

Before I jump into city specifics, I think it makes the most sense to talk about the RGB tour in general (keep in mind I have a whole three shows’ expertise under my belt and that the tour isn’t even halfway done, so obviously this is super subjective). Despite avoiding setlist spoilers before attending these shows, I couldn’t escape comments here and there wishing that Hanson would play more new songs off of Red Green Blue and less singles. After experiencing a few shows for myself, I’m both inclined to agree but also thankful for what we got. The fangirl in me wants as many new songs as she can possibly get and also “Rambling Heart” every night for the rest of forever. The live music fan in me just wants the maximum number of upbeat songs that can be crammed into a single setlist and leave her begging for water and a nap. Somewhere in the middle of both of those things is the fact that if they actually played RGB all the way through, my hansonstage stats might benefit, but I’m pretty sure I’d be begging for “If Only” by mid-Green.

RGB is a lot more quiet and mellow than everything that came before it, and I feel like this might be one of those “be careful what you wish for” situations where we wouldn’t actually be any happier if we got what we think we wanted. In short: The RGB tour setlist might be a little Middle of Everywhere Tour 2.0, but at least the MOE tour understood the assignment to keep my adrenaline going. 

If they're only going to do a few new songs, though, "Cold as Ice" 1,000% belongs on this setlist. Forgive my previous album review where I couldn't commit to a favorite song from Green; I'd now like to go on the record to say that my favorite song from Green is "Cold As Ice" live. Isaac gets so into it and looks like there is nothing he'd rather be doing than singing that song, and honestly there's nothing I'd rather be doing in that moment than standing in the room to witness it. A+, please play it every night and pity anyone who misses it. 

I also have no idea who pitched the idea of playing [name redacted bc I'm not going to be the one spoiling it for you. If you know, you know] before "If Only", but it's the perfect mix of mainstream and obscure to play for a crowd full of people in my age range. Whether you've been to a hundred Hanson shows and think you know every upcoming note, or you've been dragged by a friend and never heard a Hanson song in your life, the first time you hear it is sure to make you go "Wait, is that...?" Yep. It is.


The first time I saw Hanson perform at the Ryman Auditorium was at a Blood:Water event back in 2011. I had balcony seats and they only played four songs. Cell phone cameras were garbage and real cameras weren't allowed, so I don't have a single photo from that day. Coming back over ten years later to watch them play a full show to a sold out crowd from the front row was a totally different experience and a great way to watch my first show of the RGB tour. I don't have a Hanson bucket list and I never set out to mark off seeing Hanson from the front row at various iconic venues around the world, but after the second biggest presale fail I've ever witnessed, I wasn't mad when my friend pulled us tickets in row AA amidst the chaos. (If the Ryman presale stressed you out, let me tell you about the time a seated presale went so wrong that the one college class I planned to skip turned into TWO DAYS because the glitches went on for hours until it got rescheduled for the following day).

To be honest, I was a little worried that everyone panic-buying "bad" seats and then buying more when they found better would leave quite a few empties even though the event was officially sold out. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the crowd looked full and excited to be there in person, though, with the only noticeable gaps being in the extreme corners of the balcony.

I walked in a little late thanks to a horrendously long merch line and ended up missing the opener's first song. His name is John Calvin Abney, though give it a few months and he'll be relegated to either John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt or Paul Tovar in my mind due to lack of memory and reasons. In all seriousness though, this dude is talented with a harmonica and handled himself extremely well when his guitar suddenly went out in the middle of a song. He spent the whole rest of the song playing his guitar right up to the microphone next to his face while the crowd clapped (semi) rhythmically to help him out, and I'm sure the moment he was stuck singing with no guitar in the middle of the sold out Ryman isn't one he'll soon forget.

After hearing that the new songs were few and far between, I was happily surprised to hear Zac choose "Wake Up" as his solo. Paul McDonald made a surprise appearance during "Write You A Song" since he co-wrote it with Isaac and happens to live in Nashville, so that was fun. Isaac had the crowd vote for his solo, and the options were "Deeper," "Hand in Hand," and "River." "River" won (I hear this had already  happened at a few shows and "River" was on a winning streak). It was easily a crowd favorite, especially being followed by part of "I Only Wanna Be With You."

The show ended with "Change In My Life" a capella with no microphones, which reminded me a lot of "Too Much Heaven" at the Sydney Opera House and was another one of those moments in Hanson history that I was grateful to witness in person. They sounded amazing, but let's be honest--our clapping didn't. 


1. Nashville on a Friday night is WAAAY crazier than I remembered. We had to leave a bar without ever going inside because I literally could not hear my friend shouting to me on the sidewalk outside of it.
2. There was a fantastic moment where I felt like Taylor was looking right at me during the show, only to turn and realize he's looking at the girl who has materialized behind my back that is being dragged away by security. I'm not sure what all I missed, but by the time I noticed, my chair was almost folded in half with my things falling out of it, and there was a spilled drink flowing underneath it. Which brings me to...
3. If you're going to drink at a show, I support your good time, but also like...try to drink it all before you get excited and trample it? That was one of probably five or more drinks that got spilled in my vicinity throughout the night, and they flowed from every direction around me except the stage. Y'all, I promise the Ryman floor is not as thirsty as you are.
4. Note to past-self: ditch taking photos during the final bow. The really cool crowd shot from behind the stage is significantly less cool to look back on when you blocked your own face with your phone. Also not worth it when all of your bow photos are 50% your friends clapping hands anyway.


In true tour fashion of questionable decisions, we opted to drive the four hours straight to Atlanta after the Nashville show instead of waiting for the following day in hopes of avoiding terrible traffic. It actually paid off, but we didn't get to bed until 5am and then slept until noon. Since I chose the balcony in Atlanta, I stood in the merch line for a friend and spent all of two minutes waiting vs. the hour I spent in Nashville. It's crazy the difference a seated show makes, but Nashville also had limited special edition hatch print posters, so I'm sure that added to the demand.

The setlist was very similar to Nashville, but a few notable differences were "Broken Angel" in place of "Wake Up," "You Never Know" instead of "Thinking Bout Something," and the introduction of a fun new cover mashup that starts with War's "Low Rider" and goes into "Oh La La La." It's not a pairing I would have ever dreamed up, and "Oh La La La" is an unexpected deep cut to play at a regular show, but it totally works. I surprised myself a little with this opinion, but "Oh La La La" might actually be one of my favorite songs on this tour's setlist.


1. Man Vs. Fries is good but not $40 Doordash good, especially when you're shorted fried Oreos.
2. I drifted off during our overnight drive and woke up around 3am to a heated debate about the technical definition of slavery, and all I could think is this is it. This is what old people road trips are like. 
3. Not playing "Rambling Heart" in "Hotlanta" was an actual crime.
4. My tolerance for the fist pumping "heys" at the beginning of "Don't Let Me Down" is at least 30 seconds shorter than Taylor wants to keep it up. There was a certain point both nights where it felt unnatural to keep it going and all I could think towards Taylor was "Stop trying to make 'fetch' happen."

Final Thoughts: 

I loved it and had a great time, as usual. I had a lot of fun traveling and hanging out with my friends, and driving a simple four hours between shows made me realize 1) how much my travel habits have changed and relied on flying in the last few years, and 2) how much I miss "classic" tour with weeks in a car on the road. It can be exhausting and dirty and stressful, but there's something about the long hours, the late night truckstop runs, and the utter delirium of confused and contagious crying laughter in the middle of the night that can't be replicated on a plane or anywhere else in the world. Nashville and Atlanta felt like a tease in a way, a quick dip of my toe into my favorite pool, but ultimately I didn't get to go swimming.

I suppose it's a good thing that I came away wanting more, that I don't have to worry about feeling burnt out or wonder if I'm "over" this band, because clearly I'm not. If I only had two words to describe this trip, I'd choose "not enough," which is exactly how I'd describe my very first show, too.

Thankfully, I hear the road goes on forever.