December 14, 2009

"In it for the music"?

I’ve realized that every time we say we’re “only in it for the music,” we’re lying to ourselves. Ultimately, music brought me to where I am now; I travel hours upon hours not to see their pretty faces, but to hear the music; I purchase albums for the music; I’m inspired to play the piano by their music, but if we’re honest with ourselves (or maybe I shouldn’t lump us all together--if I’m honest with myself), meeting the guys multiple times, watching all of their entertaining videos, walking barefoot in countless cities—it’s more than music. When I was nine, there was only music. Hanson was at superstar status, I was at an age where they all seemed relatively old to me, and even the idea of seeing them in concert was beyond my wildest dreams. I had no access to the internet, no posters, no t-shirts, no embarrassing fan letters—just a walkman and a Middle of Nowhere cassette. I didn’t know a fan club existed, and I don’t recall ever gushing about Hanson to other fans. It’s an equation that led to me losing touch with Hanson’s music for almost ten years, but I was truly only in it for the music.
Today, I regularly see Hanson in concert, routinely log on to their website, and in general spend more time (and money) than I care to admit doing Hanson-related, but not specifically music-related things. People don’t look at pictures for the music. As entertaining as the FUTYs are, they don’t have anything to do with music. Tulsa is beautiful, but it’s related to Hanson as a family, not the music itself. I love this lifestyle, I really do, and I’m not suggesting that any of these things are bad or wrong. But I can’t help but wonder if there was something different, something that is now missing, in that original, simplistic feeling of just loving your favorite music and being satisfied in just that. Hanson is the only band I feel this strongly about, but Hanson is also the only band whose full names and birthdays I know, whose hometown I’ve visited (I couldn’t even tell you the hometown of ANY of my other favorite bands). I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything, but sometimes I just wonder how it would be if nothing mattered but the music.

November 11, 2009

Birmingham 10/26/09

This got I'm making headings. You're welcome.

The Line
This was my last show of the tour, so it was bittersweet. Since there was a day between the Orlando and Birmingham shows and we had to be out of our hotel by 11 AM Sunday morning anyway, we decided to camp out for Birmingham. We arrived the night before the show, maybe around 9 PM? I honestly don't remember. There were only 3 girls there already, so we were numbers 4-7. Only two more people showed up to camp shortly after us, and no one else arrived until the morning. It was definitely the calmest line I've ever seen at a Hanson show. By around 5-6 PM, there were still only around 60 people in line, and no one was trying to skip. Someone who arrived around #60 asked for a number, and we hadn't number anyone past the 30s or 40s, so I had to go through and number everyone in between. I expected some people to decline, but everyone was really carefree, and even those who didn't actively WANT a number had a pretty "whatever" attitude and let me number them just to make the others happy. The line worked really well, and I can't speak for what happened beyond where I was in line after doors opened, but we had no trouble at all.

The Walk
The walk was at a really nice campus and the weather was great. I'm pretty laid back about the walks; I almost always end up in the very back, and it's not a goal of mine to initiate random conversations with the guys. So when everyone was gathering at an entrance they thought Hanson would come out of at the beginning of the walk, my friend and I chose go to sit on the fountain a good 30 ft. away. It seemed like a good idea because A) I could sit while waiting and B) I could stand on the fountain ledge to get good pictures of the crowd. What happened instead was the guys came out where the crowd had gathered and walked straight on past to the fountain and gave the speech about 2 feet away from us. Totally didn't see that coming! As the walk started, apparently Taylor found a professor and a class that was meeting outside, and proceeded to take the professor's shoes off for him. I'm not at all sure how this was initiated, all I know is I saw Taylor bending down in front of the man, then saw that his shoes were off once Taylor got up. Others around me confirmed that he had in fact removed the guy's shoes. The teacher and class then proceeded to get up and walk with us. Best class ever! Unfortunately, my friend started feeling bad partway through the walk, so we headed back to the starting point to wait rather than finishing what turned into an uphill walk. After the walk they came inside and performed Great Divide and Where's the Love acoustic. Some guys in the back yelled out "Play MMMBop!" and Hanson looked pretty annoyed. Taylor shot back with something like "Did you guys even take the walk? Walk a mile barefoot and THEN we'll do it," but then the guys responded yes, they had taken the walk, which I think threw Hanson a little bit and elicited a much less sure "Well, you'll have to come to the show tonight to see it."

The Crowd
The show had a pretty laid back crowd, too. We were front row in front of Isaac, and we knew the girls behind us so they left some space between the two rows so there was actually room to sit between sets and dance and just breathe in general. I even left my spot to use the bathroom one, something I've never tried before and may never get the luxury to try again. Unfortunately, there was a little drama when a guy tried to bring himself and a handful of girls with him up front. As soon as he made it to where I was, that weird part that Hanson seems to bring out in me came out and I stepped in front of him so he couldn't get through. Everyone around us ended up telling them to leave and yelling at them to the point that security got involved and finally supported us and made them leave, which was pretty awesome. I don't think security cared much but I honestly think they were a little afraid of the way we were reacting and what might happen if they were allowed to stay.

The Show
The show was really fun because our part of the crowd had great energy, and I was probably wilder than usual just because it was my last show. There was a girl with a professional camera in front of the barricade (NOT the hnet reporter, she was front and center behind the barricade), and I noticed her taking a few pictures of the crowd, so I'd love to see them if they ever surface. After Steel Train's set, I asked one of the guys for a setlist, but apparently they don't use them (which makes sense since they play the same set every night). Oh well. Though my part of the crowd was pretty into it, I don't think the crowd as a whole was very energetic and Hanson seemed a little less into crowd participation as well, but maybe that's me misinterpreting things. I should mention that the stage was the highest stage I have ever seen in my life, so that kind of limited the Hanson/crowd interaction, at least physically. It literally came above my head; I remember joking about how horrible it would be if there was crazy pushing because I would end up underneath the stage. Though I really didn't foresee any hand grabbing or coming down off stage because of its height, Taylor proved me wrong when he started leaning over the edge to grab hands. There was a slight step down onto some other big platform between the stage and the barricade that wasn't as long as the stage. I have no idea what it was, but it came up to about my chin and stopped maybe 6 inches to my right. When Taylor came to the end, he took my hand in what I thought was just a brief hand grab, but then he proceeded to use me as leverage to jump off of the big platform and onto the floor, where he ran back around to the side of the stage to get back in his place. It caught me completely off-guard and I let go of his hand sort of mid-jump because I didn't realize what he was doing (once again, trying not to be that weird fan that Taylor has to pry from his hand), so I'm glad he's capable of jumping a good five feet without falling on his own. The finale was awesome and so sad. They covered "Sweet Home Alabama," and Steel Train and Sherwood came out--I think this was the first all bands on stage moment of the tour (of course minus HGB, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), so that made it even more exciting. Though I've definitely heard the song multiple times and am familiar with it, I really don't know any of the lyrics besides the title. I overheard some girls saying Isaac had messed up the lyrics, but I really couldn't tell you. It sounded fine to me :) I think the camera guy came out to film it, and Taylor definitely had a camera phone out near the end, so I'm hoping they'll eventually post some footage--maybe a FUTY--but at this point, I don't see it happening.

It was a good show, and it took all of my responsibility and willpower to drive myself the 8 hrs back to school rather than the 2.5 hrs to Nashville where I knew Living on a Prayer was going to be played, but I sucked it up and headed back home. And so ends another epic tour. But in the words of Levar Burton--I'll see you next time! :)

Orlando 10/24/09

The drive to this show was a bit crazy not only because it was our 3rd show in 3 days, but we had to do an 8 hr drive on no sleep. I'm completely aware of how crazy this sounds, but I won't deny that it happened. Fortunately it helps to have 4 people who can switch off. We left Myrtle Beach around 1 AM, drove the 2 hrs to Charleston, showered at my dorm (and I packed), and hit the road again around 5 AM. We made it to Orlando with only minutes to spare, but we managed to make it to the walk. It was in the upper 80s and everyone was ridiculously hot and sweaty. The walk was on a college campus, so afterwards the guys did a TTW book signing and sang Great Divide and (I think?)Been there Before acoustically.

We were tired and not interested in wasting more money on PTL, so we went back to the hotel to relax for a while. We freshened up and lazed around, and I personally passed out for a good 20 min. nap unintentionally. We finally left to get in line about an hour before doors, and I stopped and got a peperoni pizza pretzel in downtown disney beforehand. Let me just say--YUCK! The HOB ended up letting people with walk stamps get in the PTL line, just like what happened in Chicago. I think it's a really nice way of rewarding the people who took the effort to go out of the way to get to the walk, and to discourage those who choose to stay behind at the venue out of fear of losing their spots.

We opted to stand on some stairs rather than go for 4th-5th row so we could see over heads (I'm 5'2"--it's either the front or the back for me). I kept migrating within our little 5 ft radius trying to find the best view, and I ended up losing it to a really tall girl, but that was my own fault for being so decisive, and my view was good for the most part. It was a little annoying having so many people wanting in and out of the crowd constantly, so I had to keep moving and pressing myself up against the people around me to let them out. Some drunk guy came back at one point and started to fall next to me, so I had to grab his arm and yank him back up so he wouldn't just camp out on my feet, and in his condition, I think that would have been his final destination if we hadn't intervened.

The show was good; Hellogoodbye got more energy out of the crowd than at any other show I saw. Once again the only song I had never heard live was the Isaac solo. He played Everyday and dedicated it to Nikki, who was apparently watching from the window upstairs. He said something along the lines of "this one is for a very special lady; she knows who she is" and then pointed at his wedding band and looked up at the window with this huge grin. So cute! Like I said, Isaac is holding strong this tour. I had actually never heard this song period, and I thought it was really beautiful. You could tell he really had his heart in it since Nikki was there.

We really wanted to get a good spot by the bus, so we decided to see what the encore was and then leave if it was something we had already heard. It turned out to be If Only, so we stayed long enough to get one good set of jumps in, and then ran back to the car to get cameras and stuff to get autographed (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie for me). NEVER again will I do this. I wouldn't say we missed something completely epic, but apparently during the break in the middle of If Only, they threw in the entire song Something Going Round! I would have loved to have witnessed that, and it kills me that I was sitting outside doing nothing while this happened like 10 feet away. Oh well, this is how you learn lessons I guess. They ended up not coming out at all, which is what further teaches me not to skip out early--it might not be worth it. We did end up meeting a really nice girl who had just rediscovered Hanson and was really excited about the show, so I had fun talking to her and remembering all those same feelings just two years ago.

The day ended with us falling into bed, which was an AWESOME feeling after the lack of sleep from the last few days. Just to put things into perspective...After Charlotte, I drove back to school and slept for about 5 hrs, and after Myrtle Beach, we had no sleep at all, so this was my first significant amount of sleep in about 3 days, and it was glorious.

November 10, 2009

Myrtle Beach 10/23/09

I was really excited for this show because it was in my hometown and two of my less crazy friends came (one who is a mild Hanson fan, and one who I think was there purely out of interest of watching me to see how I act at a Hanson show). Since I already missed 2 M/W/F days of school for Hanson, I decided to do the responsible thing and go to my classes in Charleston that day before the show. I got out of class at 1, so there was no way I could have made the walk. I'm really disappointed, though, because the walk ended up being at Coastal Carolina University; a TON of my friends from high school go there, and it's located in Conway, which is REALLY my hometown. And how many times will Hanson be in Conway in the future? Probably zero. I was also the only person to receive flyers for the MB show, and I put a TON of them up at CCU, so at least I helped promote even though I wasn't there.

Since I went to school and we didn't want to shell out money for PTL or CTB, Rachel and I arrived around time for doors and ate in the HOB restaurant to wait for the line to go in. I'm not used to intentionally planning to be in the back at a show, but it was pretty fun and much less stressful (though nothing beats front row). My friends and I ended up in the very back bar, but the view was still pretty good, and HGB, Steel Train, and Sherwood all ended up coming out and having a massive dance party back there as soon as Hanson started playing Oh Darling, and it lasted for the rest of the show. I even joined in during Lost Without Each Other, at which point I don't know what my lesser eccentric friends were thinking, but I probably don't want to know and honestly don't really care. They already knew I was crazy; they just hadn't properly witnessed the side effects.

The show was great; I had a lot of fun dancing in the back with my friends. I also got to hear Isaac sing Being Me, a song that I had only heard 2 or 3 times period, and never live. I really enjoyed it, and if I haven't already said it, Isaac was just ON this tour. He was always grinning and really into whatever he was doing at every show I was at. The guy's obviously got something good going on in his life, and it shows.

After the show, we went out by the buses and my friend Holly and I attempted to get "Holly sandwich" pictures with the guys. We managed to get one with Zac and one with Taylor, but we never saw Isaac (though I hear he came out at the last minute while we were off throwing cupcakes--but that's a story for later).

Aside from the awkward sandwich banter, Zac was really talkative that night. He stuck around and talked to my friends for a couple of minutes. He talked to us about what shows we were going to and seemed specifically interested in how many more Rachel was doing. He asked where I was from, which was kind of ironic since we happened to be in my hometown at the time. Rachel also asked him about when the Cali members event would be, and he told us that it would be on Nov. 6th and that more info was going to be posted the next day. My friend Laura also called him "sir" and he shot back with something about how he can't be referred to as "sir" until he has a half-grown child lol.

After we got our pictures, we went back to my car to dive into some chocolate cupcakes I had made for Laura's birthday. We took some really awesome pictures (okay, LAURA took some really awesome pictures), and we "caked" her with a cupcake in honor of all of the caking we had seen over the past two days (I forgot to mention that the show ended with Will caking himself). It was a great show, but it was one of those that I'll probably remember more for my friends than for Hanson themselves, which is one of the reasons I love this band so much--they've inadvertently introduced me to some awesome people.

October 29, 2009

Charlotte 10/22/09

I was really excited for this show because I had never seen a birthday show before and most of my friends were traveling to see the show as well. My 3 friends that I traveled with to the event in DC camped out starting Monday morning, and I joined them Tuesday afternoon around 6. Oddly enough, I still managed to be #4 because no one arrived in between us, which was nice. I know it's completely crazy and I have never camped out for that long before (2 days, the show was Thursday), but it was fun and well worth it for front row on Zac's birthday. It was definitely interesting to say the least. Let's just say there was a schizophrenic guy who gave us God's phone number and kept proposing to my friend, in addition to an anonymous perv in a car who tried to put on a little show for us, which ended in us calling the cops and giving them the car and license plate info.

The cheap hotel I booked for showering purposes also proved to be an interesting experience. Around 8 of us split it and went in shifts to shower, but none of us actually slept there or used anything other than the bathroom. I hit a traffic snag on the way to check out, and was afraid I was going to miss the 11 AM deadline, so I called the hotel while I waited to let them know I was on the way and did not want to be charged for an extra day. We ended up getting there with a few minutes to spare, but when we got there our room door was open and all of my stuff was gone. A very tense argument with some workers who weren't 100% fluent in English ensued since our room had been cleaned BEFORE checkout time and I was being yelled out for returning to my own room that was in MY name. We finally worked out the misunderstanding; my friends were allowed to use the bathroom, and I was given my things back. Fail, Days Inn, fail!

I was a little surprised in the lack of early campers, but it worked out because all of my friends who couldn't come until late the night before still got second row right behind me. The night before the show, there were still only around 20 people in line. The walk was probably my favorite that I've been on. The weather was great, the campus at UNCC was beautiful (and not too painful), there was a really good turnout, and everyone was in a great mood. I ended up getting some really good pictures with my new camera, too (which I also found out on the walk is the same camera Zac got for his birthday).

The line got a little dramatic towards the end with a group of girls lingering next to the line about 40 people back, refusing to get back in their spots further back in the line. There was also a couple who said they had won a pass to see the soundcheck but had missed it (which I totally believe), but they then decided to just hang around the front of the line to compensate their loss. They finally left after being yelled at by everyone in line and being spoken to privately by a bouncer.

The show was great, though admittedly not as wonderful as I thought a birthday show would be. The lighting was really crappy, and the sound was off enough that if I hadn't known all the words to the songs, I wouldn't have known what was going on. I ended up front row directly in front of Isaac, though, which made for a great view. At the end of the acoustic set, I noticed a toy truck zooming around on stage, and I'm pretty sure most people couldn't see it, but it didn't last long.

Don't Stop Believing was pretty epic, as always, and moreso from front row on Zac's birthday. He ended it with a lengthier, awkward crotch grab, which I'm sure someone caught on video since there were cameras everywhere. The caking was a little less exciting because only one measly bit was thrown towards the crowd, but a small piece did manage to hit my friend who was standing next to me in the eye, and there was a good chunk next to me on the floor when we left. Overall it was good, but I think the crappiness of the venue killed it a little bit for me.

*More pictures can be found in my photobucket, linked on the right-hand side of my blog.

October 27, 2009

DC Fan Club Event

I don't have a whole lot to say for this one since it was a short show and nobody really waited in line for an extended period of time. It was a good time, but I would be tempted to say it wasn't really worth the drive if they hadn't pulled out Devil's Nachos for the first time. I drove to Charlotte to meet up with 3 friends and we all rode together from there. We drove there and back in the same day, which was really intense and left me sprinting back to class on no sleep with no shower just like Chicago. It's becoming a bad habit, really. I was a little terrified to drive in DC, but it really wasn't that bad, thankfully. And we found valet parking for $5 attached to the hotel, so that was pretty perfect.

The show itself was good, but the setup was horrible. There were lots of rows of chairs, but not nearly enough for everyone. I totally called that the people who arrived last would get to sit on the floor up front, and I was right. I'm not at all angry with those people--they got pretty lucky! And I had some friends up there. However, it caused some definite tension in the crowd and people were getting kind of riled up over having waited in line for a while only to have people who didn't wait at all get to sit a foot in front of Hanson. Some people got out of their seats and sat on the floor, but I didn't see any point in adding to the tension. It wouldn't have been such a big deal if the chairs weren't arranged in a way so that NO ONE but the people in the front or on the very end of an aisle could see. I had to just trust that Isaac was there because I didn't see him at all until the group photos.

The performance was great, though I feel like Taylor was still battling the tail end of the flu. He sounded fine to me but he looked a bit strained to hit higher notes at one point. I was a little disappointed in the setlist because I expected them to pull out some rarer things, but the only song I hadn't heard was Devil's Nachos. As a HUGE fan of that song, though, I was completely ecstatic not only to be hearing it live, but to be hearing it as it was played live for the first time ever. Zac introduced it by saying we were welcome to sing along as we were now officially allowed to know that it existed. It was definitely the highlight of the night. I'm not going to lie, though, I feel like Follow Your Lead could have stayed home. Another highlight was Kiss Me When You Come Home. I heard it back in may, but it was neat to hear it again having heard it only that one time. There's something different about hearing new music live that you don't know the words to, and it's not a feeling you get to experience often.

I was a little disappointed in the Q&A session as well;I don't remember what all was asked, but several questions were variations of things that have definitely been asked and answered before. One girl asked if Been there Before had an Otis Redding and Johnny Cash reference. Beyond the fact that I feel like this is common knowledge and not worth using up one of the few questions we were allowed, the girl framed the question by pretty much saying "I already asked this on a walk and I think you said yes, but I wanted to make sure...." Fail. I'm hesitant to call out this person on the grounds that I should feel bad, but no, I think it was selfish to use up a question that you already asked just to draw attention to yourself for a second time. Someone asked what they were dressing as for Halloween, but they said they hadn't really thought about it. They ended up saying they were going to dress as Hellogoodbye, but I don't know how serious they were about that. Someone else asked where they were during Sept. 11th (appropriate since we were in DC near the pentagon), and they said they were in LA working on Underneath. Isaac gave a pretty eloquent answer off the top of his head; I was impressed.

Another girl prefaced a question by saying she had done research on it, but then proceeded to fail by stating that she thought they lived in New York. She basically asked why Hanson didn't step it up and work with governors (or senators? sorry, don't even remember--some type of representative) more in taking action. It received a few boos, but I feel like the guys did a great job answering and explaining that more can be done by appealing to the masses, and that they have in fact spoken with the people she suggested. I'm hardcore failing to explain their answer, but they did a fantastic job defending themselves and supporting their position.

The group pictures were pretty large, probably 15-20 people in each as usual. My friends and I were in one of the later ones, which is something I haven't experienced in the past being in the first and second group photos at the other two events I've been to. I'm not sure why, but I walked up to Taylor and told him I was short so I needed to be down front, so he moved me to the center of the bottom row next to Isaac. I don't really recall him moving other people around, so I don't know why it seemed reasonable at the time to tell him where I needed to go in the picture. Afterwards, I went to shake his hand but someone else started talking to him at the same time, so he got really distracted and more or less ended up awkwardly holding my hand for a few seconds without shaking it. Two of my friends went up to Zac and hugged him and said "See you in Charlotte!" so I decided to jump on that bandwagon, but for some reason I half apologized while doing it. I'm pretty sure I said "Sorry, I'm going to do it too," (really? Is it ever appropriate to say that when you hug someone?) then hugged him and said "See you in Charlotte!" He said I was succumbing to peer pressure and he understood. I had never hugged any of them and felt pretty awkward about it; I don't think I'll be asking for a hug from one of them again; in the future I'll just let it just happen if such a situation ever comes up, and if not, no more hugs. But Taylor did jokingly say Zac was going to hug every person at the event, and I did see him giving a LOT of hugs, so I'll just assume it was okay. I tried to get back to Isaac to shake his hand and tell him I enjoyed the show, but got herded out on the way and didn't get to greet him.

All in all it was a good show that could have been a little better, but I'm glad I went and I can't wait to see the group picture.

*This is proof as to why I should never begin a post with "I don't have much to say..." I will ultimately prove myself wrong.
I love this picture simply because I was completely oblivious to the fact that I was being an Isaac twin at the time.

Chicago 10/11-10/12/09

This trip is probably the craziest thing I've ever attempted. These shows fell on my fall break and I had a lot of friends going, so it only seemed right to tag along. It gets complicated, though, because I'm from South Carolina and it's a LONG drive to Chicago. I drove 6 hrs to Knoxville to meet up with some friends to carpool. We left Sat. night to pick up another friend in the St. Louis area, which was about 7 hrs from Knoxville. From St. Louis, it was another 5 hrs to Chicago. After driving through the night and taking a bit longer than anticipated, we decided we desperately needed a shower but were not going to make it to Chicago in time to do it at our hotel. Instead, we experienced our first truck stop showers at a Love's on the way. It was $9 and they provided towels. All in all, it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I always pictured a sort of high school gym shower setup for truckstops, but no, there are individual shower rooms with showers, toilets, mirrors, and sinks inside--very private. I can't say the idea of drying off with a towel that has been used by truckers was exactly appealing, but hey, you do what you have to do.

 We somehow managed to arrive in Chicago right at 10 min. before the walk, which was pretty much a miracle. I stuck around the back of the walk because that's just what I do, and though I rarely see a Hanson on the walks, for some reason Taylor was overly watchful this time. We kept catching all the red lights at the back, so Taylor kept running back to stop traffic with his megaphone, then sprinting back up closer to the front. No lie, he did it like 6 times. I felt like I had a personal trainer egging me on! It was nice in theory, but he kept standing in the way of oncoming traffic to "help" us cross the road in situations where we were really fine. I don't really know how to describe exactly what he was doing without a picture, so maybe this will help. Just notice us all safely herded in the crosswalk while Taylor haphazardly stands with his back to oncoming traffic.
At this point when I passed him, I called out "You know you're in more danger than we are right now, don't you?" And he responded through the megaphone "Yeah, I am....but I'm the loudest." Thankfully no traffic decided to challenge his lame claim to safety due to a measly megaphone.

My friends and I didn't really bother to get a good spot in line and just headed over a little before doors. We ended up with a pretty good spot where we could all stand together and see. I've got to say, writing this in retrospect after having seen 7 shows on this tour, I think the first Chicago show was the best. Maybe it was just being with a lot of high energy friends, but it was amazing. I heard A Song to Sing for the first time which was really exciting, and I don't even know how to describe how I felt when the guys from Cheap Trick came out and Hanson covered I Want You to Want me. Hands down best concert surprise ever! I think that's the only time I have ever let out an involuntary scream.

The next day most of my friends and I walked to the walk, which was 2 miles away at a college campus. It was actually pretty fun with about 8 of us walking around seeing the city, and it really wasn't as cold as I expected. The walk was good, though it didn't seem like a lot of the students on campus were interested. I did get to explain what we were doing to 2 or 3 people though, so it was good that people were voicing their curiosity at least. As we left the walk we took the best jumping picture ever; I'm still pretty excited about it (I'm in the pink).We decided to get in line immediately when we got back (after a group trip to a 7-11 for some Chicago style hotdogs), and though the walk stamps didn't seem to mean anything the day before, they actually let people with walk stamps into the pass the line line. They seem to really appreciate the effort people put into going to walks that aren't at the venue rather than sitting at the venue to save a spot in line, and we were rewarded for it. Most of us ended up with the same spot we were in the night before, which was exactly what we wanted, though a couple decided to brave 2ndish row. It was a lot of fun, and though it was probably my 14th time or so hearing MMMBop, it was the best time because we all danced and had a blast, and we made a five person "too much rock for one hand" symbol at the end. I don't think Hanson saw it, but it was a great idea nonetheless. I was a little surprised that the setlist was a little less amazing than the night before, but I had an awesome time anyway. There's something really special about seeing a show with good friends who enjoy the music in the same way you do.

The drive home was absolutely insane. We left around 5-6 AM, but we dawdled a lot. One of the things that slowed us down was a trip into Metropolis, IL. As a HUGE Smallville fan, I felt like an idiot to discover that Metropolis is, in fact, a REAL city. I had no idea. Of course we stopped to take pictures with the huge superman, and had a little Hanson nerdery (think "that's supa!") while we were there too.

Somehow we didn't end up in Knoxville until 2 AM the next morning, where I crashed and slept until 4 AM at a friend's house (thank you, friend! Seriously, I think you saved my life), then dragged myself back to my car for the 6 more hrs back to school. I parked my car at 10:45, which was lovely since I had a class at 11. I literally ran from my parking garage to my room to grab my books and then ran to class just in time. I hadn't slept or showered in over a day, but I made it. Sometimes you just need a little crazy in your life, and I definitely got my fair share this fall break.

September 28, 2009


It seems like Hanson fans are always talking about how Hanson can make a horrible day better in some capacity, whether it be listening to a song, watching a video, or finding out something new about tour plans. I can't say I ever agree. I enjoy a new FUTY as much as the next person, but when I'm down, something so simple as listening to a song does nothing for my overall mood. It might be a high point of my day, but it's not going to magically make me feel better.

I've been really stressed the past few days. My classes are starting to overlap with big assignments, and I've been writing papers and reading mass amounts constantly with little time left over for myself. I finally made a little time for myself tonight and took the time to watch Strong Enough to Break with the commentary. I've had it for over a week now and never had time until now (honestly I don't have time now either--I should be sleeping).

I'm surprised to say that it legitimately made me feel better. Maybe it was just a welcomed break from all of the work I've been doing, but somehow I feel like watching any old movie wouldn't have done the same. I think it really got me pumped for tour, knowing that I'll see these amazing guys and their music in two weeks. But beyond that, it made me realize that there are bigger problems in the world. I can mope over my homework all I want, but I'll still be very low down on the proverbial totem pole of problems. There's no real point to this post, but this is the first time I've ever felt any real relief from the simple action of watching a video, and I think it's worth noticing.

September 1, 2009

D.C. RSVP & Tour Plans

I RSVPed to the members' event in D.C., bringing my show count to 7 this tour (IF I made it onto the list), and bringing my mileage to a frightening 5,077, all in a car, and mostly all in MY car. And did I mention I'm finishing my last semester of college with a full course load of 6 classes, 2 of which require 50 hours of observation in a high school, and 4 of which are 300-level English courses?This will be interesting. This is by far the craziest thing I have EVER done. Here's to coming out alive and topping it one day. :)

May 21, 2009

Tulsa 2009 Members Event

For the second time in my life, I trekked from South Carolina to Oklahoma to see Hanson. It was a nice walk down memory lane as I returned to the place I first saw Hanson perform live just a little over two years ago.
(na na na na na na, been there before!)

Since my first trip was a last minute decision and I was only there for two days, I got to experience and enjoy a lot more of the things Tulsa has to offer this time around. I left from my house in SC and drove 7 hrs to my friend Whitney's house in Knoxville on Wednesday the 13th. We left around 6:30 AM Thursday morning and headed off to pick up Laura near Nashville, and then we were off. Thirteenish hours later, we ended up in Tulsa. We occupied ourselves with lots of sightseeing and money spending as we waited for our session of the members event to come at 7 PM on May 16th. Here is a list of places we ate/shopped at and did some sightseeing:

Joe Momma's
Ida Red
Taco Bueno (x2)


Cracker Barrel

The Laughing Wench

Dwelling Spaces


The Center of the Universe

The Oil Driller


The Oklahoma Welcome Center

And an honorable mention for our attempt to find Utica Square.

I spent entirely too much money, but it was all worth it. Props to Beth for making a wrong turn, ending up at the welcome center, and discovering Tulsa snowglobes!

The show was great despite minor line drama and Whitney's fear that the staff was out to get her (we're still not sure what that was about).

I was in the 3rd session. Here's the setlist:

Carry you There
These Walls
Kiss Me When You Come Home
Make It Through The Day
Use Me Up
Musical Ride
Make It Out Alive
Waiting For This
Never Let Go
Letters In The Mailbox
I Am
Take Our Chances

I had already heard Take Our Chances and Never Let Go, but everything else was new to me, and most of it was new to everyone. I can't wait to get the EP and the final album. Use Me Up has the potential to be my new favorite song. It has Zac singing lead and playing the piano, and I'd probably describe it as one of the most passionate songs I've ever heard. Waiting for This was another good one that involved audience participation as we echoed Taylor by shouting "Shout it out" and "You can't deny it." I can see it being a great song to experience in concert. I was also very excited to hear Letters in the Mailbox, as this was the first and only time it has ever been performed live. Now I've heard all of the songs on the 2008 membership kit performed live.

The guys were really entertaining and talkative between songs, which was another plus. They made more jokes than I can recall, and most of them were genuinely funny. The best moment of the night went something like this, after a brief discussion about how the event was like reality TV, only real:

Isaac: Live, on reality TV! Zac, I hate your guts!
Zac: Ike! I slept with your dog!
Isaac: I'm not sure if I should be angry or throw up. Probably both.
Taylor: Let's ask the dog.

I think this was followed by some ridiculous song Zac made up on the spot called "Teaparty with Frogman," which told a story of how he had wanted some Earl Grey tea but they were out, so he ordered rootbeer instead, which was good because it's full of "ANTIOXIDANTS" (as he belted out in a climactic high note). I really hope there is footage of this and that it will be shared at some point.

In other news...At the walk, Taylor had some funky hair going on. See exhibit A, B, and C:

My first thought was that Taylor is actually Edward Cullen. (See exhibit D)

My second thought was that, no, he can't be Edward Cullen because that is a clear case of bed head, and Edward Cullen doesn't sleep.

May 20, 2009

Member Event sneak preview blog

Because I'm too tired to write a full review, but don't want to forget some priceless quotes, here are some quotations worth elaborating on later and pondering about until then:

"What, is this a surprise party or something?"
Why yes, yes it was. Further proof of me being a fool and not caring.

"She can see us; she'll know we're here." Holly S.
"Yes, but she doesn't know I have a gun." Holly F.

"I slept with your dog." Zac
"I don't know whether to be angry or throw up. Probably both." Isaac
"Let's ask the dog." Taylor


"Youtuber!" Melissa
"Don't call me a potato." Beth

Edit, because Laura reminded me of something else:

"Turn on Maybelline road" Holly S
"Maybe it's Maybelline." Laura
"...Maybe it's not" Holly
(in response to misreading a sign that said "Maybell," or something to that effect that was not quite "Maybelline")

Ahh, Tulsa.

May 7, 2009

Hanson Day/Turning 21

May 5th, 6th, and 7th will always be special to me. I saw Hanson live for the first time on May 5th, 2007 (MONA recording), so it's officially been two years. May 5, 2008 was also the day I met all of my awesome friends that went to the Asheville show--happy 1st anniversary to us! Of course May 6th is Hanson day. I was lucky enough to see Hanson on Hanson Day in my hometown last year, and this year one of my favorite bands (Jack's Mannequin) ended up playing here on May 6th also, so I celebrated by wearing a dorky Hanson tee to a great concert in the same venue I spent the last Hanson Day at. May 7th is lovely because it's my birthday, and this one is even more lovely (and Hanson-y) because it's my 21st. I've got to admit, I listened to Turning 21 on repeat in my car on the way home from the concert, and I ceremonially removed my underage wristband for the last time (yay for no more cover charges!).

And to top all of this awesomeness, this time next week I'll be in Tulsa. Can't wait!

March 8, 2009

Spring Break/Awakening/Forward: A Digression.


I saw Spring Awakening in Cleveland at the Playhouse Square Palace Theatre at 7:30 pm on March 6th, 1:30 pm on March 7th, and 7:30 pm on March 7th. I’ve been reading a lot about Spring Awakening since late 2008 and interested in seeing it, but unfortunately since it’s not touring anywhere near South Carolina, I chose to fly to wherever it would be during my spring break.

Some background info on stage seating:

Part of the uniqueness that is Spring Awakening can be attributed to the presence of on stage seating. Basically, there are 41 chairs directly on the stage closely situated with 2 rows on stage left, and 3 on stage right. 26 of these seats belong to audience members, and the rest are filled in with the cast (click for a detailed seating chart if you actually care). Instead of leaving the stage during inactive parts (which there are few of to begin with), cast members sit amongst the audience on stage, often providing backup vocals, stomps, and dance moves right from their seats. There are even four ensemble members camouflaged in the seats who appear to be regular audience members, a phenomenon which I’m sure is terrifying to the occasional unsuspecting person seated next to them.

The two times I sat on stage, I sat in AA4 and AA13--downstage left and upstage right--which made for a good mix of perspectives. AA4 is the closest audience seat to the front of the stage, right next to Melchior, the lead, and AA13 is near the back of the stage right next to the piano and right between 2 cast seats..

March 6th, 7:30 pm, onstage seat AA4:

I was incredibly excited to finally be in my seat next to Melchior—a feat that only cost me flight and hotel expenses as well as the whole mistaken NYC ticket fiasco. I originally became interested in SA because Kyle Riabko plays the lead role of Melchior, and I’m a fan of his music. Contrary to what half of my friends and family believe, though, I did not go all the way to Cleveland just to see him—he just sparked my original interest in the play. This particular night, Kyle was absent and his understudy, Matt Shingledecker, went on as Melchior instead. Knowing that I would be seeing Kyle the next day, I was really excited to get to see two different interpretations of the same role.

After seeing both Melchiors, I can now say that both brought something different to the character, and I feel like some of Matt’s acting choices were stronger than Kyle’s, but Kyle wins for vocal performance.

Being so close to the action was a bit overwhelming because it was hard to focus on anything other than what was directly in front of me. So in a scene where 12 people are jumping around crazily, it was hard to watch anything other than the one person jumping closest to me, for instance. This would be a downside had I only seen the show once, but it made my 3 visits all the more exciting.

March 7th, 1:30 pm, onstage seat AA13

Though I originally thought AA4 to be the best seat on stage, I’ve definitely changed my mind. I absolutely LOVED sitting in AA13. It was near the back, but was surrounded by characters the whole time. There were only 3 seats together in the group of seats I was in, consisting of me between 2 cast members and directly beside the piano which is a focal point a few times in the show. Because the cast members constantly move around and change positions, I had the pleasure of sitting directly next to about 4 different cast members in addition to at least 2 others who sit at the piano in different scenes, and let’s not forget the occasional jumping and even crawling right at my feet. During the end of one song, someone jumped so close to me that my hair blew straight back as if blown by a fan (and if you know me, you know I have a mass of hair that would take a lot to move).

Also, just as a side note, there's a Latin class scene where six guys are sitting in desks, supposedly copying Latin words on slates. I always assumed they just scribbled nonsense, but from my perspective I could see 5 out of the 6 slates clearly. 4 of the 5 I could see were actually writing in Latin! Of course good old Kyle was just scribbling, but he was also speaking while no one else was, so that may be why.

My favorite scene
This has to be my favorite experience from the whole trip. During a song called “My Junk,” there is a scene where the teenage boy, Georg, (apparently pronounced “Gay-org” rather than “George” as my non-German mind had been reading it) more or less lives out his fantasy with his female piano teacher. The song begins with his conservatively dressed teacher ripping open her dress to reveal a corset as he turns his chair around, throws her into his lap, and blissfully buries his face in her breasts (again with the nice alliteration). For the rest of the song, another character is the main focus, yet Georg and his piano teacher are still going at it the entire time in the background though they don’t claim the spotlight. Because of where I had been sitting the night before, I had paid little attention to this part. This night, though, I was quite literally inches from the action. As the teacher threw her head back in delight and heels in the air, I cautiously watched my knees for fear of being kicked. I was quite surprised to realize that innocent little Georg was doing more than putting his face in her cleavage—he was biting, licking, and spanking her in rhythm to the drums (I was especially surprised that he was really biting and licking her since I doubt the audience off of the stage could even tell). I had to fight to control my laughter long after the scene was over. And on a sidenote, Georg is played by Matt Shingledecker, the actor who played Melchior the night before. Poor guy probably thought I was stalking him.

The slight awkwardness of AA13

The only awkward part of being in that particular seat was its proximity to the backstage door, so just about every character had to go between me and the piano any time they headed backstage (of course this was a definite plus, too). Due to the combination of the backstage door and actress seated to my left who jumped up quite frequently, I couldn't cross my legs for fear of tripping someone. This awkwardness was heightened at the end when the characters all run backstage quickly, then run back out, then a few go backstage and a few more come back out...I forget the exact sequence, but there's a lot of running in and out of the backstage area for applause. What makes this worse at the end is the standing ovation. With everyone around me standing and clapping, it would look as though I didn’t enjoy the show if I remained seated to stay out of the way, yet standing and clapping would put me even more in the way than I already felt. In the end I stood and clapped but pressed as close to the chair as I could and had to clap with my hands as close to my body as possible. I probably looked ridiculous, but I didn't trip anyone, so mission complete.
A few mischievous things I witnessed (both shows)

One of the cool parts of being on stage was being able to witness a few instances where the actors broke character and did some entertaining things undetected by most people. The first thing I witnessed was during the first show when I was in AA4. I was opposite one of the stage doors, and could see inside a bit. At one point I looked over and noticed none other than the missing Mr. Riabko who I was not sitting beside. A little later, I looked back again to see if he was still there, and caught a glimpse of his girlfriend (who is also in the play) running up to him with a hug and a kiss. I know he hadn't been on as Melchior for the past few days, so I think maybe he had been away and I witnessed a tiny reunion. That same show, I noticed Ben Moss, one of the actors (and quite possibly one of the most adorable people on the planet), grinning wildly as his spotlight went out, then quickly switching to a solemn look as it came back on a second later.

I'm not sure if I should blame Kyle's presence or where I was sitting, but I saw a lot more out of character actions the next day. At one point Kyle was walking directly towards me with his side profile facing the audience, and I watched as he slyly used the eye that was away from the audience to triple wink at someone behind me (probably Ben Moss, who was sitting behind me). Later there's a song where Kyle is in the center of the stage facing the audience, and everyone else is crouched down on stairs with their backs to the audience facing Kyle. I noticed his real-life girlfriend smirking at him, but thankfully he didn't visibly respond. I feel like there was another time when I noticed the two of them smiling at each other when they weren't in the spotlight as well. Another time, Kyle was near the back of the stage with his back turned on the audience, so I was probably one of maybe 3 people who could see his face at all, and I realized he was doing some kind of odd mouth exercise where he was opening and closing his jaw really wide. Also, right before my favorite scene that I already mentioned, Georg/Matt turned around to the piano teacher (who was sitting next to me) and winked at her as if to say “are you ready for this?”

Random and unrelated, yet still entertaining

After leaving the stage door and getting autographs on my first night, I started to walk back to my hotel and had to pass by the main entrance of the theatre again. As I passed by, Ben Moss (no idea why I keep using his last name but not Kyle’s or Matt’s…but we’ll go with it) came out of the door with a huge suitcase. The entertaining part is that it was one of those wheeled suitcases, yet he was carrying it by hand instead of rolling it on the sidewalk. I walked behind him for a bit (not stalking, just apparently going the same direction), and he probably walked a good half of a block before finally putting the thing down and rolling it. I was tempted to say something sarcastic to him, but didn't want to be the creepy girl who strikes up a conversation by teasing him about his suitcase. The verdict is still out on whether he’s really strong or just dumb.

March 7th, 7:30 pm, row Y seat 301 in balcony

Not much to say here. I requested one of the few $10 cheap seats in the back of the balcony and bought the ticket right before the 1:30 show on the same day, so I really expected to be shoved away in a corner somewhere. Seat 301 in Row Y turned out to be dead center in the last row of the balcony. The central location was nice, but honestly I couldn’t see any facial expressions at all, and had I seen the show for the first time from this location, I would have been terribly lost. Still, I’m glad I saw it from this seat because there were a lot of amazing lighting effects I had completely missed from sitting on stage. Plus I kept hearing people whispering about “what all of those people are doing sitting on stage” and got to set them straight.

My view from the balcony. I've got to admit, it was pretty neat having like 75 stairs framing the way to the center of the stage in front of me.

February 17, 2009

Hanson Day '09 RSVP=Chaos

Official details were announced, and the initial plan was to have two sessions on Sat. May 16th, at 3 and 7 pm, with the possibility of a 3rd session if necessary. This works out perfectly because I'm out of school by this time, and it's still only about a week after my 21st, so I can still pass it off as a celebration. (It's also oddly creepy because I had a dream the event would be held on the 15th). With about 250 spots per session, I really didn't see a 3rd session being necessary, though it did begin to look like the 7 pm slot would fill up first. From what I remember, I don't think MONA or the Orlando event had to turn anyone down. Plus with MONA being an official recording, I just assumed it was more important and more people would be willing to travel for it. So I just assumed people would fight over the 7 pm session, it would fill up, and they'd be left with a smaller 3 pm crowd. I don't normally like being wrong, but this one I'll accept.

Here's the part where I plan to rub things in if you're of the opinion that Hanson fans are few and far between. RSVPs started being taken at 5 PM. Since I would be out of my room until at least 7, I had a friend RSVP for me on the off chance that the 7 pm session filled up quickly and I got separated from my friends. When I got back and checked around 7:30, I was completely shocked to see that BOTH sessions were already maxed out (and as of today word is there are only about 120 spots left in the 3rd session, which is being held at 8 pm on May 15th). This means that 500+ people RSVPed in under 3 hours, and another number of people were placed on a waiting list. Not only that, but it's not like these 500+ people are all native Tulsans. No, they're from all over the country--heck, all over the world! And it's limited to fanclub members, so it's not even representative of all Hanson fans, just the pushovers that fork over $40 a year (no hard feelings; I'm one of them). Just think, if this many people would jump on the opportunity to trek all the way to Tulsa from various places, how many more are out there, right now, thinking "I love these guys, but I'm not going to Tulsa!" Lots, that's how many.

I think the song "Coming Back for More" is wildly appropriate at the moment, and not even just because my friends and I jokingly said we're "Coming back for Moe!" (MOE-->Members Only Event).

Edit/Update: Aaaand, as of today (2/18/09), the 3rd session is full and there are no plans for a 4th. That's 750 RSVPs in less than 72 hours, plus the amount of people stuck on a waiting list that didn't do it in time. Take that, someone else!