October 2, 2011

And We Won't Go Down (Chicago, pt 1, 9/27)


The first night was good. Beth and I managed to stand in a great spot in the balcony behind a roped off set of reserved seats, that, luckily enough, nobody ever showed up to claim. We got in place just in time to really watch Meiko's last song, "You and Onions Make Me Cry." I stood around for a few minutes after the set was over, then decided it was a good time for a bathroom break. By some phenomenon I've never experienced, Hanson was on stage before I got back to my spot. I suppose I'm used to standing and waiting for what feels like (and often is) hours , so this was just completely weird to me. We had a good view and plenty of room to dance, though I suspect anyone that could see us thought we were nuts during "Thinking 'Bout Somethin'."

A definite highlight of the show was when Isaac announced that they were going to play a song they had never played live before and dedicated it to his wife. I spent the entirety of the song feeling a mixture of enjoyment and confusion because I had no idea what the song was and whether it was a new Hanson song or some cover I wasn't familiar with. It had a bit of a country vibe to it, so we suspected cover. After it was over, Isaac explained that it was from a band called "Unamerican," which still didn't ring any bells (we found out later the song was called "Tonight's the First Night"). He nailed it, of course. Maybe it's due to the fact that his anniversary was so soon and his wife was there (as Taylor let slip before the song), but Isaac was really in his element for these shows.

"In the City" was another highlight. I've never cared much for the album version of this song, but give me a reason to jump and I'm all yours. Speaking of jumping...this song provided the single most terrifying moment I've ever experienced in my life. A few songs prior, a man with a cane had pushed into the reserved area in front of us and sat down. We weren't exactly happy, but security told him he could stay and it was near the end, so we moved over a little so Beth could still see and focused back on the show. We paid him little attention, but it's hard to completely forget the person suddenly blocking your view. All that I noticed was that he didn't visibly react to the music at all, simply sat there without moving while Beth and I put all of our remaining energy into keeping up with Taylor's jumping. And just at the climax of the song, at the very end when we finally stopped to catch our breath, I watched the weirdest thing happen. This guy leans over the balcony in front of him (which was at least a foot wide, like sitting at a bar), puts both his hands and head over, struggles to lift his left leg over, and simply lets go.

Watching this happen was absolutely terrifying. That final second of seeing his feet go over was awful, and I had no doubt in my mind at the time that he was committing suicide. I'm sure this was an overreaction in a tense moment, but I still can't think of much else that would send someone head first out of a balcony willingly without regard to the people below. I won't waste your time with speculations of why, and I think anyone that claims to know why is wasting your time too--this is simply what I saw and how my mind reacted to the scene in front of me. I had a split-second thought of trying to grab his feet and save him, but thankfully my mind managed to register that I would probably go over with him if I tried, so I stayed put.

While all this is happening, I'm getting tackled by a security guard trying to stop him. Maybe "tackled" is too strong of a word since I somehow stayed on my feet, but I definitely took a sharp elbow to the head and ended up with hair all in my face and crooked glasses from the blow. The guard took out the short section of rope in front of us and missed grabbing his feet by seconds. Then we all stood there completely flabbergasted with hands clasped over our open mouths and vaguely registered that Hanson was talking about it from the stage.

It was an awkward ending, and Hanson didn't come back out. I was so upset that people were chanting for an encore, but I suppose most had no clue what had happened and just wanted another song. I know from talking to others that night and the next day that no one had any serious injuries, which is a miracle. But I swear, every time I say I've seen the most epic thing possible at a show, something trumps it. If I ever see anything crazier than this, I'm out. Game over. It was fun while it lasted.


Ally said...

There were a bunch of people on HNET talking about the guy that went over the balcony...that's crazy that you were right behind him! Glad to hear everyone was okay. I have no idea what I would have done in that situation.

Caitlin said...

I can't believe you were right there for all of that! I still can't wrap my head around the fact that this happened at a Hanson concert. While I was still recovering from my own show, ha.

There are just so many questions we'll never have answers to.