May 16, 2012

Tulsa 2012: No Sleep for Banditos

It's that time of year again, the time when I inevitably find myself in Tulsa. I flew this time, bringing my driving vs. flying ratio to an even 3:3. The trip was off to a great start with a two hour drive to Charleston where flights were cheaper and my best friend was willing to provide carsitting and chauffeur services free of charge. From there I had to practically run to my connecting flight in Atlanta that boarded a mere 5 minutes after my first flight landed--in a different terminal, of course. It always is. Thank God the sick kid on my flight waited until 15 minutes before landing to vomit on the plane.

My luck carried over to my friends when we found Beth's keys locked in the car at the hotel after they picked me up. We got rained on a lot waiting in line to check in the next day, and waited an ungodly four hours in line at the I <3 Hanson store later that afternoon. Major props to Hanson and their staff for keeping the store open late for everyone that waited in line for so long. The last fans didn't get out until around 10:30 that night, even though the store was supposed to close at 8. Let's pretend I didn't wait four hours and only buy one shirt.

The movie night was fun, maybe even moreso than I expected. Everyone was quoting TT&MON and it turned out way more funny than annoying. I could have passed on MONA, mostly because I was there so instead of enjoying the performance I was stuck scanning the crowd for myself and people I know. It was like trying to watch a movie but knowing your friends are extras in the background. Still, this was my 5 year anniversary since seeing Hanson for the first time and MONA was that very first show for me, so it was a nice sentimental moment anyway.

The block party was fun because it gave us all a reason to be in one big place and hang out, but aside from the lemonade stand and the merch booth, it didn't seem like people were buying much. I did enjoy the "Activity Bison" and made my own contribution despite a complete lack of  artistic ability (I contemplated writing something inside the buffalo to "make it my own" as per the instructions, then realized people at the tiny table might kill me if I sat there taking up time and space composing a paragraph). I got hot and maybe a little dehydrated and was ready to go back to the hotel room after that, but it's hard to do that when you travel in a huge group and the group keeps disappearing. I stood around miserable for a few minutes wishing they wouldn't take so long. Turns out they were all down the street by 3CG icing cupcakes to surprise me with since my birthday was on the 7th (I would've been born on Hanson Day, but I guess I was already running on Hanson time).  Since this is the 3rd time they've done this, you'd think I might start to catch on. Maybe next year.

[Insert lengthy ramble narrating all pointless line drama]. I originally explained all the pointless line drama, then I realized that it was, well, pointless. Come away from this knowing that the staff tried to enforce the 6:30 line up time, for which I am grateful. Things didn't work out so well and there were a few stampedes and clusters so everyone ended up jumbled. In the end it was a pretty level playing field in my mind since there were several hundred people there shortly after 6:30 and we all essentially waited the same amount of time anyway. I would have cared a lot more about all the cutting and pushing and stampeding had it been a regular show I had waited hours for. I didn't, and those that did weren't supposed to. It's not worth the word count I originally gave it.

Later staff picked people out of the line to sit in prominent places since the event was being filmed. It's not my favorite thing in the world, but it happened at MONA and it happens all the time in any live broadcast with a studio audience. I wasn't incredibly surprised or offended, again especially because we all essentially waited the same amount of time--it wasn't like I camped out only to have people show up later and get front row. Some of the people picked were already in front of me anyway. The people chosen were lucky; most of us that were left in line were not. It's life. I was, however, EXTREMELY disappointed hearing everyone tear apart the appearance of those selected, and the loud boos that followed them into the venue when they were let in first. I can't imagine a single person that "booed" would have said "Oh no, no thanks. That really wouldn't be fair to the others!" if they were asked.

The show was great. I got to hear so many songs I had never heard live before, and a few favorites I had. The video of Hanson at Mayfest in 1992 was one of the most adorable things I've ever seen, especially mini Hanson playing air guitar. Rain was great. Think was great. All this Love Crap was double great because my friend Holly #2 is the one that suggested they write it in the first place, and she was there to see it. I enjoyed the video clips to go along with the new EP songs, and Be My Own is growing on me every second (Isaac on the glockenspiel FTW).  I messed up the TBS dance worse than I can ever remember, but then I realized it was because Taylor was simultaneously messing up the TBS lyrics worse than I can ever remember. We recovered during the chorus and moved on. They said they would probably do another event in the fall in Tulsa for fan club members to hear their new songs for 20:12, and I'm thinking I'll be back for trip number seven before the year is over if I can help it.

We stood around and talked a lot after the show, saying goodbyes to friends that were leaving and trying hard not to leave ourselves. We wandered around to a bar in the area that had live music, probably just avoiding the inevitable. A few minutes later we headed back towards Cain's to meet up with some friends at a different bar and instead spotted a crowd of people waiting outside the venue door. It was really crowded so I didn't have much hope of them staying out long enough to reach us, but we ended up talking to all three Hansons and getting pictures with each. I accidentally led Isaac into doing his famous Kermit impression (FUTY, Isaac?) and may or may not have done an abbreviated version of my Charlie Mars impression for Zac.  It was so nice of them to brave the swarm outside and to take the time to take what had to be hundreds of pictures that night. They and their staff really gave us so much of their time and energy this weekend.

We ended the night with a chocolate milk party and started our final day as any good day should start, with cupcakes and chocolate milk in bed.

Tulsa trip #7 in the fall?

May 5, 2012

¡Cinco de Mayo es cinco años de Hanson también!

This May is a big milestone for Hanson. It marks 20 years since their formation as a band and 15 years since the release of Middle of Nowhere that launched their career. MON is now six years older than I was when I first fell in love with the music. Wrap your head around that for a moment.

But fandom landmarks aside, this May is important to me personally because it marks five years since I first saw this band live, my golden anniversary. Five years ago on 5/5, I flew to Tulsa, Oklahoma for my first Hanson experience. I guess I’ve always been a little go big or go home for these guys. I can remember feeling absolutely nuts for traveling over 1,100 miles for my first show, but at the same time, I felt so alive at the thought of going out and doing something crazy for once. When I got there, I was in awe of the fans. They had come from all over the world to wait for hours in line. They told me stories of meeting Hanson and camping out and going to dozens of shows. They showed me their tattoos and told me their favorite memories. I wanted dozens of shows, enough to pick a favorite. I wanted tattoos and memories. It all felt so fast, like diving headfirst into a relationship without looking. I made myself a promise. I had to wait five years. If I was every bit as Hanson crazy in five years, if I was still nuts enough to hop on a plane to Tulsa, then I could get my tattoo.

Today it’s been five years, and I’m taking a moment to assess how the time has passed, see if all my predictions were true. I can’t say I want a tattoo anymore; my body is still ink-free and will probably stay that way. But I’ve had my dozens of shows and my own memories. I’ve sat and talked to the new fans that have just rediscovered the awesomeness that is Hanson, just like I did. And next week, I’m hopping on a plane to Tulsa for my 55th show. Yep, crazier than ever.

Time capsule/prediction time…

In another 5 years, on their 25th/20th anniversary (wow!) I will:

-Still be a crazy Hanson fan
-Have seen at least another 20 shows (this is aiming low. I wonder if I’ll hit 100 by then)
-Have been to Tulsa at least 2 more times
-Have seen them in another country
-Still not have that tattoo
-Probably still not have drumsticks either

May 2, 2012

MMMBop turns 18; Hanson brothers remain 12.

Pop music fans around the world are perplexed, music critics say. What is the cause of this recent stir? Records show that pop song and chronic ear worm “MMMBop” of Hanson’s 1997 release Middle of Nowhere turns 18 this year. The song first appeared as a track on an indie album called Boomerang that was recorded in ’94 and released a year later. Yes folks, “MMMBop” has finally become legal.

The controversy, however, lies in the fact that Hanson themselves still remain 12, a phenomenon that has many looking to the media for answers.

“Look at them!” One outraged MTV supporter raves. “They were just featured on the MTV website. This picture is from last week. They can’t be a day older than thirteen!”

“It's unnatural,” a second critic agrees. "Something just isn't right. Have we been lied to?"

And just around the time of its 18th birthday, rumors are circulating that a beer of the song's namesake is in the works. Huffington Post recently spoke with Zac Hanson, resident drummer and youngest member of the age-defying band.

"We are soon going to be selling our own beer. I'm not joking - MMMhop IPA anyone?" Zac reportedly said.

Readers are demanding to know why the young teens have been permitted to create an alcoholic beverage they are not yet of age to consume, and with an 11-year-old spokesmanboy at that.

"It's true," a local L.A. Times reader admits. "I just read that the Hanson boys are making a beer. I looked at the picture that accompanied the article (shown left), and I said to myself, are they even old enough to drink? Hansonopoly is much more age-appropriate if you ask me."

It is unclear at this time whether the MMMboys have tapped into some age-defying secret, or if the media has been misconstruing their real ages for some time. Extreme Hanson activists have even taken to spreading the rumor that Taylor is having his fifth child to counteract the allegations that Hanson are still in their adolescence.

When asked directly about the age issue, MTV representatives are quoted as saying "It's a secret no one knows," but declined to comment further on the subject. It's a little bit weird, if you ask us.

*Note: It has been brought to my attention that "MMMBop" is NOT on Boomerang; it debuted on the indie album MMMBop in 1996, and therefore isn't actually 18 yet. Once upon a time, I knew this. Fortunately, part of a good satire is making stuff up, so just go with it. Kudos if you made it this far without realizing the error. I was convincing, right?