December 2, 2013

My Anti-Bucket List: 2013 Edition.

Back in early 2012, I wrote a blog post proposing the concept of an "anti-bucket list." The idea is to identify a list of things you have already accomplished instead of setting a list of unattainable goals for the future. Besides, sometimes I find the experiences I never dared to dream up and write down on a list to be more fulfilling than those I've been anticipating. Spontaneity can trump years of plans if you let it.

Since revisiting my original Anti-Bucket List, I thought of all the new things I've done in the last 19 months and decided maybe it's time for an upgrade. Then I took it a step further. What if instead of tallying up all the fun things I've ever done into one big trophy of a graphic, I held myself to a single year. 2013. Could I accomplish enough in one year to warrant a new list? Would such a list be disappointingly barren, or surprisingly full? It's a challenge I may take on yearly from now on--not to fulfill a set of predetermined requirements, or to make myself feel useless if I can't come up with anything--but to take the time to identify the fun, unexpected things I have accomplished this year. It serves as a fun evaluation at the end of the year as well as motivation to keep going in 2014.

So here it is, my Anti-Bucket List for 2013: the traveling fan edition. What's on yours? (think outside of the box; it doesn't have to be travel-based). What else can you add in the next month?
Photo: Negril, Jamaica 2013

Want to make one of your own? Try It's free and simple to use.

November 22, 2013

Anthem Tour: Charlotte

Charlotte, NC, Nov. 20th, 2013

The final show of a tour is one to be both anticipated and dreaded. It’s bound to be good, but the thing about happy endings is that by definition, they have to end.  It sets in motion that anxious feeling of not knowing when you’ll see your favorite band again (unless you already have a flight booked to see them in Jamaica in January…you know, just for example).  I've heard people refer to it as PHCD—Post Hanson Concert Depression.  Call it what you want, but the only cure I know is already having the next show planned before you reach the “last,” and of course, it’s temporary. The only real treatment is to never stop going, always outrun the "last" show.

Charlotte was the closest stop to my house all tour, so it felt really strange to get in my car and drive myself to a single show.  No delayed flights, no car full of friends, and worst of all, I had to get back in my car and drive home afterwards instead of heading to some new city where I can’t park to save my life. It's probably how normal people always experience shows, right? (and makes for a kind of uneventful blog post, sorry!)

The whole day was uncomplicated. The weather for the walk was perfect, and we had a great turnout nearing 200 people. Taylor called me "Vanna White" for holding up the walk registration sheet at the end, and I had to laugh when my friend Valerie accurately pointed out that that would make him Pat Sajak. (irony: Vanna White is actually from my hometown)


The show began with a Hanson tour finale tradition by pranking opener David Ryan Harris. During his last song, Hanson & crew blasted a different song over the sound system and came out doing some strange dancing in a line. It was so random I feel like it must have some real, concrete origin that none of us recognized. The dancing reminded me of marionette puppets (Isaac did it best), and there was something oddly familiar about it that I can't figure out. Taylor came out with a box on his head. We may never know.

(There's a poor excuse for a video of the end of this over on my instagram)

Perhaps more unusual than Taylor in a box was the older lady and her man friend that came to stand behind us. The things they were doing before the show even started belonged under the privacy of a set of high school bleachers or some equivalent. We were happy when the guy left until she started screaming in his absence, the kind of screaming that comes at random intervals and doesn't even seem to line up with anything happening on stage. She talked right over Hanson asking us to be quiet for their a capella "Too Much Heaven" cover, so I finally turned and tried to politely say "They're about to sing without any instruments or microphones. If anyone is talking, we won't hear it." She muttered something angry but was mostly quiet during the song (at least, quieter than the two guys that started shouting and distracting everyone about 10 seconds later). Have I mentioned that those a capella key changes will change your life? Because they will. I don't always elaborate enough on the pure talent of this band, but if you're not impressed by three a capella key changes done seamlessly in harmony, then you don't understand music.

After they finished, Isaac ranted about how he thought he was in the south where people were supposed to have manners, but that maybe the northeast was better. He was starting to play "For Your Love" when crazy lady pushed me in the back and shouted "B**** you have NO right to talk to me like that!" Cue really confused blank stares from everybody around me, because I hadn't said a word since before the last song. It was either the worst delayed reaction ever, or she had been carrying on a fictional argument with me in her head. After another silent moment when I thought it was over, she pushed me and said "You won, B****!" and then left. After a similar situation in Seattle and gum in my hair in Vegas, I think I've somehow taken on the role of pied piper of the crazies.

The solo set was perfect because Val got to hear "For Your Love" after her wedding, Zac pulled out "The Walk," and Taylor finally played Crazy Beautiful as a solo after I chased him all over the country asking for it (scratch that--continent. The last place I asked was Vancouver. I'm exaggerating, but only a little). For the encore at the end they brought David Ryan Harris out and played a few Christmas songs, the perfect finale for a show so late in the year.

I drove home with that sad mixture of feeling completely satisfied and nostalgic knowing that my favorite memories from this tour are just that--memories, past tense. I think that's part of what we're all feeling when we refer to some type of post-show depression. It's not just that we're sad there isn't another show to look forward to (yet), it's that we had some really great moments already, and you can't relive or replicate them no matter how hard you try. So you come home, and you tell it to your friends. You post pictures on Facebook, or you update your blog and know that even if you can't go back, you can still remember. And you can start plotting for next time.

November 3, 2013


Welcome to the new and improved If You Give a (Fan) a (Ticket)!

If you've been here before, welcome back. If you're seeing this page for the first time, you're late! (kidding, glad to have you.) I started this blog five years ago after my 11th Hanson show. I knew that I loved writing, that I would continue going to shows, and that I wanted a place to keep track of all the fun details. I suspected the stories would get crazier and the memories more fuzzy, and I was right. You're looking at the result, and I'm glad to have kept up with it for this long. I hope you'll enjoy it and the changes I've made.

What's new:
  • The url! R.I.P. jasminesprinkles. (Hindsight: never name a blog after an inside joke with a Hanson that you didn't quite get and that they'll never remember anyway.) No worries, all old links should still redirect to the right place.
  • The facebook page: Like it, share it, frequent it! 
  • Google + page
  • Email:
  • The wrap up post to my Anthem Tour blog series. You can find it right here or scroll down to read it underneath this post. 
What's coming:

More changes. The Facebook page is brand new and pretty empty. I haven't even started a twitter yet. You can probably expect a few more design changes and maybe some new additions to the website in the near future. If you have any suggestions for changes, please let me know either here in the comments or at my fancy new email address.

Thanks for reading! Feedback is welcomed :-)


Anthem Tour: Vancouver & Home.

Vancouver, BC, Canada, Oct. 2nd, 2013

It’s cold. You’re sitting in a sleeping bag on a sidewalk in a country you’ve never been to before.  It’s past midnight on a Tuesday, but to the drunks wandering in and out of the bars, it’s perpetually Saturday.  Homelessness peppers the sidewalks, and there are so many questionable activities going on that nobody is surprised by the five girls in clean sleeping bags beneath the venue marquee. You wonder if this is normal in Vancouver.

One man finally stops.

“What are lovely ladies like yourselves doing camped out on a sidewalk?” he asks.

“We’re here for the Hanson show,” you say.

You’re prepared for the usual onslaught of “MMMBop” jokes and irrelevant cracks about long-haired children and mistaken gender.  Instead, he says:

“Is it really worth it?”

You can’t tell him about all ten of the shows you saw in the last two weeks, or the fifteen or fifty or two hundred you saw before that.  You can’t show him some mental montage of all the places you’ve been and the people you’ve met. You can’t even pull out your phone to show him a song clip because you’re not about to pay out of country roaming fees for ten seconds of the wrong part of “You Can’t Stop Us.”  You can’t tell him these things because he’s drunk and you have about a twelve second window before his attention wanders to the next sedentary female, and because even if he wasn’t, some things can’t really be explained.

You settle for “Yes.”

He insists on buying you fries and water from the McDonald’s down the street because he’s wasted and maybe it seems like a pretty chivalrous thing to do for a bunch of sidewalk sleepers. You politely decline and he’s off to the next bar on this Tuesday/Saturday night.

The night drags on. Someone asks if you're "George's girls," and it takes you a moment to realize that logic says George is a pimp and you've just been mistaken for prostitutes (in sleeping bags?).  An older woman in a blonde wig insists you take a handful of contraceptives from the bucket attached to her hip, but you decline those too. You also decline the drunk guy who keeps saying that he "NEEDS" to sleep in the three-inch-gap between you and your friend. You tell him he doesn't.

Yes. Still worth it.

The Vancouver show was one of my favorites all tour, weird camping experiences and all.  The small fan club event held before the regular show was a definite highlight and worth the wait. There were around 50 fan club members in attendance, and we got a few acoustic songs, a Q&A, and group photos with the band. I sincerely hope our photo is a full body shot so my friends and I can all have a good laugh at the variety of footwear going on (hello, rain boots & platforms!). 

My favorite part of the event was "On and On," hands down. First, it's my favorite song from this year's EP. Second, they stepped away from the microphones and walked to the front of the stage to sing the final chorus directly in front of us, face to face, and it was GORGEOUS. And third, I've been saying all along that the last line in that song screams Brokeback Mountain, and Hanson finally confirmed that they're aware of the similarity too. It's this really sweet love song, and the last line is "I can't quit you." (I believe the original line in the movie is "I wish I knew how to quit you," but it was close enough to send me into a fit of giggles the first time I heard it in Tulsa this year). Anyway, Hanson blows my mind singing this gorgeous a capella version of one of my favorite songs, literally five feet in front of my face, and then they end the song like this:

"I can't quit yoooooou........Jake Gyllenhaal." Ladies and Gentlemen, my favorite band.

They surprised all of us at the end by asking if we had any requests. People immediately shouted for "Cried," and they eventually gave in and played just the chorus. Then they played all of "Ever Lonely," which made up for the fact that I couldn't think of a single thing to request. I'll be better prepared next time. 

During the regular show, my friends and I really appreciated Zac bringing out "Fire on the Mountain" for the first time this tour. They know fans travel to multiple shows, so it's always nice when they switch the setlists up a bit. I can remember thinking a few songs in that I should have asked them to play "Something Going Round" when I had the chance during our group pictures. I didn't ask, but I was thrilled when it showed up near the end of the set list anyway. It's always been one of my favorites live; I love when they drop the music and stop singing and all you can hear is the crowd carrying on the word "NOW" without them at the end.

Afterwards, we waited by the bus one last time to say goodbye at the end of my favorite trip to date. Taylor was sick and didn't come out, but we thanked Isaac and Zac for a great run of shows and left with pictures and smiles knowing that all of us would be back next time, and knowing that "back" doesn't necessarily mean Canada, but anywhere.

We woke up deathly ill right on schedule the following morning (thanks again, Zac) and started the 22 hour drive back to L.A. The one thing I didn't get to do in Vancouver was visit an old Supernatural set and take nerdy pictures there (Supernatural:TV::Hanson:music, okay?). Naturally, at the U.S. border I turned my phone back on to see a post from a friend we said goodbye to the night before. There was Jensen and Jared and the Impala, parked in her hotel lot we had parked in just 24 hours before, shooting a brand new scene. I guess you can't win them all.

As if the 22 hour drive and subsequent cross-country flight weren't complicated enough, I woke up to an email saying that my flight home was canceled. I was re-booked on a red-eye a full 11 hours after my original flight instead. But wait, there's more! My connecting flight was delayed, too. TWICE. By the time I got home, I had to beg a coworker to cover my shift, I had to pay for an extra day's parking at the airport, and I had spent roughly 33 out of the previous 72 hours in cars or on planes. I came home, dragged my things inside, and opened my suitcase to pull out my phone charger before crashing into bed. Inside is a wad of ticket stubs shoved in with dirty socks and rain boots and a pair of drumsticks tucked into an umbrella bag.

Yep, still worth it.

October 28, 2013

Anthem Tour: Portland & Seattle

Portland, OR, Sept. 28th, 2013

I had no idea what a weather wimp I was until this show. It was rainy and cold and I was completely miserable and unprepared. My shoes and socks got drenched to the point that water began soaking OUT of them instead of in; it was that bad. Naturally, I would choose to visit Portland just in time for one of the rainiest cities in the U.S. to make rainfall history (cliffnotes version: The day after we were in Portland, news outlets reported that Portland saw more rain this September than in any recorded history dating back to1872).

At least the company was good, and we got to catch up with a few old friends and make a few new ones (the drunk, semi-shirtless girl that started laying on me during the show excluded). I also got to mark Voodoo Donuts off my imaginary bucket list.
Photo courtesy of @maalaearose

Seattle, WA, Sept. 30th, 2013

We were cold and miserable enough in Portland to make a rain gear stop on the way up to Seattle. It's amazing the difference a pair of rain boots and a proper rain coat can make (both in your happiness and in your carry-on luggage). This show was Paul McDonald's last and a lot of fun. Hanson showed up during the last song of his set dressed in white denim floral jackets that were reminiscent of Paul's wardrobe during American Idol.  Taylor pushed his way through the crowd with a camera before jumping on stage, and Zac started playing an entirely different drum beat, eventually forcing the song to become a great cover of "Maggie May" instead.

We got a great balcony spot and felt like Statler & Waldorf watching the packed, sold-out crowd from above. Through the course of the night we watched two people pass out and a fight break out over front row that left Taylor politely threatening fans to step back or get no show. I guess we chose the right night to stay off of the floor.

The weirdest part though was the fight right next to me in the balcony. It started when the girl on my right strayed a little too far from her spot and left a gap between us, so someone tried to squeeze in. The first thing I did was turn and tell her that I intended to dance and jump and have fun and not move an inch for her. As a result, she and her mother spent the next half hour brutally pushing the girl that was next to me, but trying very hard not to touch me at all. They would literally pound this girl with their elbows on one side, and then turn and apologize to me because they were starting to touch my arm a little. It was the strangest thing. It ended with the first girl leaving, the one that pushed in stayed next to me, and somehow I never had to move an inch. I was torn between feeling grateful and completely and utterly confused.

The acoustic set was particularly good. Isaac asked the crowd if we would prefer him to play the guitar or the piano. The rarity of Isaac on piano won by a landslide, and we were treated to a solo of "More Than Anything." I've always been a little indifferent about "Kiss Me When You Come Home," but hearing Taylor play it as a piano solo earned it a lot of bonus points I didn't know it had in it. The show ended with a collaborative cover of "It's a Long Way to the Top" with Paul and J.P., a tradition I've witnessed with three openers now. Don't ask me who did it best; it's always a good time.

October 26, 2013

Anthem Tour: Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA, Sept. 26th, 2013

I don't know if you've ever camped out for a show before, but I'm sure you can imagine that the experience is not always pleasant. And truth be told, it's a subject I usually avoid bringing up because there's really no way to say "Hey! I slept on a sidewalk for Hanson" and not be judged for it.

Be that as it may: Hey! I slept on a sidewalk for Hanson. This is probably not new information, nor is it new ground for me (get it? puns). Whereas parents will tell their kids "Don't do anything I wouldn't do," I tend to live by the philosophy of "Don't do anything you wouldn't post on the internet."  So here I am, living up to that rule as well as the argument I'm constantly throwing out to people that judge me for camping out in person:  If I cared that much what everyone thought about it, I wouldn't do it in the first place.

The reason I'm bringing it up is because I only took two pictures in L.A., and they're both of sleeping bags. Why? Because I have plenty of pictures of Hanson and walks and friends. This, however, was my first time sleeping on a 30 degree incline down Sunset Blvd. in the heart of Hollywood. I suspect it doubles as my last:



Remember when you were a kid at the fair, and they had those long slippery slides that you went down on a burlap mat? You know, the ones where you raced your friends to the bottom and had to keep going one more time to break the tie?

This was kind of like that, only the end goal was to NOT beat your friends to the bottom. Let's just say it was a long night, and that the street sign pictured at the bottom of my sleeping bag served a functional purpose beyond communicating parking laws.

All that and we were still some of the very last people in the front row; it happens sometimes. We knew it was L.A. and that meant Hanson would have friends and some famous admirers in the audience. Nikki Reed performed with Paul again, and Joe Karnes of Fitz and the Tantrums joined Hanson for "Get the Girl Back." A few days later, I heard a rumor that Andrew McMahon was there, too, and whether or not this means anything to you, it meant total jealousy to me. (If you've somehow lived under an Andrew McMahon-less rock, go check out his music. NOW.) When I got back home a few weeks later, I found that he had instagrammed a photo from the show and captured me in a moment of looking completely bored. Hey, it was before anyone hit the stage, i.e. power nap time for anyone that slept on concrete the night before. If I ever see Andrew on stage with Hanson one day, I promise the reaction photo will look a lot different.
Photo courtesy of Andrew McMahon:

On the topic of Anthems and Andrew McMahon, I'll leave you with reason #1025968 I love his music so much. My own personal anthem for travel, his song "I Woke Up in a Car":

Well I woke up in a car.
I traced away the fog
so I could see the Mississippi on her knees.
I've never been so lost; 
I've never felt so much at home.
Please write my folks and throw away my keys.
I woke up in a car.

(...or, as the case may be, on a sidewalk.)

October 22, 2013

Anthem Tour: Anaheim

Anaheim, CA, Sept. 25th, 2013

It felt wrong to be on Disney property and not ride any rides. I'd pick Disneyland over waiting in line for Hanson any day if I could afford it, but I already used up my spontaneous theme park money on Knott's Berry Farm at the beginning of this trip. And in the true spirit of cheapness, we also chose to forego Pass the Line and just went for decent spots in the back for this one. Lucky for you, that makes it the one show this tour I took a few pictures at.

I assume the show was sold out because I've never seen a House of Blues so packed before. Paul McDonald's set was a bit different than what we had come to expect because his wife, Nikki Reed, joined in for a few more mellow songs. They looked really happy together. It was also wingman Jonathan Pears' birthday, so Hanson and Nikki brought out a cake and sang "Happy Birthday" and "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" with the crowd to celebrate.

Taylor wore his best Paul McDonald attire for the occasion.

And Zac tried, too.

A happy (somewhat blurry) good time was had.

Isaac hinted on the walk that they would start changing the shows up a bit, and they didn't disappoint. Zac's solo was "Get So Low," and we got to hear a great new cover of "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," complete with Taylor on bongos. Then they took us back a good 16 years and kept the bongos out for the first part of "MMMBop." I've never seen so many cell phones shoot into the air so fast (and even an iPad...which is just bad concert etiquette, my friend). For once, I'll let a few photos do the rest of the talking. Consider this Anthem blog the picture book edition.

October 18, 2013

Anthem Tour: Tucson & San Diego

Tucson, AZ, Sept. 22nd, 2013

One downside of doing multiple shows on a tour (and the entire reason I started this blog) is that inevitable moment of "Tucson, Tucson...which one was Tucson again?" that's happening to me right now.

I don't at all mean that the show was forgettable, I just mean that I forgot, you know? (Kind of like how when my dog eats something, it doesn't necessarily mean it was edible, either). And sometimes all it means is that nobody shoved you or called you names that night, and you had a fairly relaxed good time.

Tucson walk
What I do know is that the lady in charge of security at the Rialto was really nice and efficient, and that I already emailed the venue to tell them just that because I think positive feedback is just as important as complaints. She took the time to map out the walk and take it with us and seemed happy to do it. She cared about making sure people didn't walk in the road, and she brought extra bottles of water that she offered us when we got back. It was a welcome change from the kind of venue staff that looks like they can't wait to be rid of you and treats you like a pest rather than a paying customer (I'm looking at you, Bluebird Theater. I also believe in leaving Yelp reviews).

Other than that, I know this was the day Rachel finally got drumsticks from Zac, and the day we saw an old man in a wedding dress ride a bicycle down the street--large boombox in tow--belting out some gloriously bad 80s song that I wish I could remember. I also really wish someone got it on video.

San Diego, CA Sept. 24th, 2013

I remember San Diego. It's the one with no public restrooms. Let this be a lesson to you should you find yourself sitting in front of the San Diego House of Blues for many hours at any point in the future. I don't mean the HOB didn't have a public restroom; I mean the million Starbucks, clothing shops, 7-Elevens, etc. in about a five block radius had no public restrooms, and there is no "I'll just hold it until we get home" in that scenario. It was also super hot and I spent a good hour napping in the fetal position under my umbrella because I'm a wimp in any weather extreme.

San Diego is also the one where Isaac wiped out straight off of the stage and took the piano down with him at the end of the show. "Going out with a bang" has never been so literal.  It was after the final bow and Taylor and Isaac had swapped sides of the stage to grab fans' hands in the crowd. I missed the big moment because I was busy avoiding death by being crushed into the barricade while Taylor greeted the people around me. I just heard the massive bang and turned to see the piano on its side and Isaac popping up from the floor with a sheepish grin and a wave that said "I'm okay!" From what I understand, he had been grabbing fans' hands and someone pulled a little too hard or perhaps wouldn't let go. To try to regain his balance/keep from being pulled down, he grabbed the piano for support, failing to remember that the "piano" is actually a much lighter keyboard in a mostly hollow piano shell. It's not built to hold the weight of an adult male, hence why Taylor no longer cavorts around on top of it. I'm glad pride was the only thing injured, at least.

October 15, 2013

Anthem Tour: Salt Lake City & Las Vegas

Salt Lake City, UT, Sept. 20th, 2013

SLC was a lot of fun because I got to see a few friendly faces I hadn't seen since the last tour.
I know, my tan is your pale.
That day was a toss up between San Diego for the hottest day of the tour for me because the line was sitting in direct sunlight all day. Salt Lake City is probably where I started working on this serious watch tan I had by the end of the trip ----> 

I accidentally found an Old Navy behind the venue and bought shorts, partly because I wasn't prepared for all the heat, and partly because I don't know how to exit an Old Navy without buying something first. After that, Zac wandered out past the line to shop for some kind of sport/game equipment and was nice enough to stop and talk to the fans in line and take pictures. It's one of the few times I've met the guy in daylight, not counting walks. Rachel and I chose that day to wear our semi-matching nerd shirts, so we took advantage of the situation and added a third nerd to the herd for a quick picture.
The most memorable part of the show for me was finally getting to hear "A Song to Sing" with the extra verse (click for an instant replay. Video courtesy of Taylor M., not me). It started out as a Taylor solo, but then his brothers quietly joined him for that final chorus and extra verse. It was the rare kind of moment I just wanted to watch silently and not sing along for fear of missing something I might never see again.

After the show we had a fun conversation with Isaac that turned out like some kind of "Greatest Hits" compilation because we discussed punching and kermit, both topics we've covered with him before. Perhaps we just look like people that want to discuss physical violence and puppets. (My muppet shirt was even hidden by my hoodie at the time). Just as we started talking to Taylor, some guy showed up behind us and Taylor's face lit up as he jumped the rock next to us to get to him. He was nice and came back to talk to us and the rest of the line after a quick bro-hug. We found out via twitter later that it was Matt Wertz and we just didn't recognize him in the dark.

Las Vegas, NV Sept. 21st, 2013

In Vegas we picked up two more friends for the trip and spent another hot day in line and seeing a little of the city. I spent my obligatory 25 cents in a slot machine just to say I've gambled in Vegas, and that was that. I felt more accomplished for buying a $1 hot dog, to be honest. The barefoot walk was easily the hottest walk I've ever been on, and I saw some really brutal blisters in the aftermath. Mine were just filthy. 

There were two distinctly memorable moments for me during this show. The one that I prefer to remember was that Zac played a request for a friend's birthday for a song that meant a lot to her. I was so happy she finally got to hear it! The second moment was getting gum in my hair.

Here's how it happened. I was the last person in the front row on Isaac's side, and the barricade wasn't long enough for me to be on it with my friends. There was just enough room for ONE person to stand where the gap was between the security guard and the barricade. It wasn't a good spot, but I took it because the one draw was that nobody was in front of me.

Naturally when a tall drunk girl in a dress the size of a tube sock wedged herself between me and the security guard, I didn't appreciate it. She turned to me and said "Oh I'm sorry, you can still see, right?" I guess she wanted me to put on a fake smile, grudgingly lie and say "yes," and whisper angrily to my friends behind her back for the rest of the night. Instead I gave her the truth which was a big fat "No?" infused with a DUH! She turned back around and acted like she had done her duty by asking and had no intention of moving. Options ran through my head, and I picked the one that seemed the most civil that would still get me my spot back: I just squeezed back in front of her and refused to move. No pushing or elbowing or anything violent, just a quick squeeze back into my own space that I held onto a little better this time.

A few seconds later, I felt a light touch in the middle of my back, and though it's never happened to me before, it was so predictable I knew exactly what was happening. I pulled my long hair over my shoulder, and sure enough there was a wad of nasty purple gum stuck near the bottom. Did she want me to cry and leave? I don't know. I pulled it out easily (thankfully!) and told the security guard. He didn't seem interested in doing anything about it, so I did.

I turned around and asked her, "I'm sorry, did you want this back?"

She threw her hands up and shrugged, opened her mouth wide, and gestured animatedly inside as if showing me that there wasn't gum inside proved that it wasn't hers. Right. Her mouth was empty because her gum was sitting in my hand. At a loss for what else to do, I said "Here you go!" and stuck it to her arm to be rid of it. I heard the security guard laugh and didn't see her again.

Problem solved I guess, but is there gum sticking etiquette, guys? My brain didn't even come equipped with the proper response to such a silly action. What should one do in that situation?

October 11, 2013

Anthem Tour: Denver

Denver, CO, Sept. 18th, 2013

Every city has at least one street everybody knows to stay away from in that questionable area of town. You know the one where you live. At home for me, it's part of Racepath. In downtown Charleston, it's Spring Street. And in Denver (correct me if I'm wrong, locals), apparently it's Colfax--the street The Bluebird Theater is on. No one told us this before we booked a hotel a mile down the street from the venue.

Of course no one told us there would be flooding and all the decent hotels would be booked and that we would be idiots to wait until the day of the show, or that a homeless man would be camped out sunbathing next to our car, either. It was a little Victorian themed bed and breakfast, and on such short notice, we were put in the basement where the owners lived with one shared bathroom for the "floor." The Great Gatsby Room was introduced to us as "the dungeon," and we were told not to worry, that only the second floor was haunted. It set the tone for a couple of overly paranoid out-of-towners to be a bit more jumpy than usual.

The basement stairs leading down to our room.                                      Our room door.                        
                     Our door from the inside.        Creepy file cabinet in the bathroom. Live, Laugh, Love, Linger.    

The show was fun, minus a little scuffle with a fan who didn't seem to think it was fair that we managed to save ourselves room to dance and she didn't. Digression time.

Front Row 101

Having front row is 50% getting it and 50% keeping it. Your struggle is not over the minute you step into your favorite space; you have to be proactive once you're there or you won't be there for long. I'm not suggesting that you throw elbows or go all Incredible Hulk on the people around you; I'm saying that if you bend down or turn to the side or make any sudden movements at all, that space will inevitably shrink from the people around you edging into it. It's not always intentional, but it's show science. You move, and your spot will, too.

So to the girl who so rudely screamed at me for holding my own space: I'm genuinely sorry you didn't hold your spot better; I know it sucks to have front row and not be able to enjoy it because you can't move. I'm sorry your friend didn't come early enough to save a spot for herself up there with you, and that you thought if I would just move over and crowd all the people to my left, she could squeeze in, too. I wasn't fond of the idea of pushing my new friends into the wall on that side. I'm sorry Isaac didn't see you slamming your elbow down onto my friend right on top of his sound pedals--that would have been gold to watch. I wish you better luck and manners at your next show. P.S. You should have been eyeing the girls on your other side; they were the ones that took your beloved space while you were glaring at me.

In all seriousness, I know that probably sounds a bit harsh/too mean, but it was really unfair for Rachel and I to be screamed at and elbowed when we never moved an inch to take anyone's space. I wish it had gone better for everyone, and as snarky as I sound, I really am sorry this person didn't have a better experience. I'm just also sorry it was taken out on us for no apparent reason.

*puts soapbox away* Back to the show.

For having a spot right up against the stage in front of Isaac, I saw very little of him that night. The spotlights were so intense that I wore sunglasses for most of the show and still could only make out his silhouette at best.

I was excited to hear "Need You Now" for the first time, and Taylor's solo of "Weird" was a nice surprise, too. I'm a sucker for piano, and I really enjoyed getting to hear the piano part stand out so much with nothing but his voice. It was nice hearing "Already Home," too, but it felt like maybe it went back into the vault for reworking since we didn't hear it again.

After the show, security greeted fans by the bus with shouts and threats to call the police. Naturally, everyone responded well to that kind of treatment and showed the same courtesy to the venue as they extended to us. Meaning of course that everyone moved to the other side of the street and stood, if anything, more determined to stay than before out of spite. I had to laugh a little watching two brave fans literally skip past security on the sidewalk knowing that nobody can be faulted for skipping in public.

All three guys eventually came out and were nice enough to chat and take photos for a while with those still waiting, much to security's annoyance.

The next morning we got brave and looked in the "Linger" drawer at the hotel:

         Nordstrom "Body Bags"

October 10, 2013

Anthem Tour: Albuquerque

Albuquerque, NM, Sept. 17th, 2013

I don't have a lot of luck when it comes to travel plans. My last Hanson trip ended with me calling AAA to come jump our car at midnight on my birthday in the middle of nowhere, SC. The trip before that was to Jamaica, and our bus broke down on the way home--roughly six times, no exaggeration. This trip was no exception. Let me give you a timeline (we won't discuss the canceled flight on the way home yet):

Sept. 14th
5-10 PM I work
10-midnight I drive home, then finish packing the car.

Sept. 15th
12-3:30 AM I drive to the Charlotte airport, 3.5 hours from my house. I intend to pass out as soon as I board my 5:45 AM flight.
4-5:30 AM Airport check-in & boarding
5:45-7 AM We sit in the plane. We sigh and look at our watches and make angry status updates on our phones. Passengers traveling to Connecticut are asked to exit the plane and rush to another flight. We know this is a bad sign for the rest of us. Turns out there's a fuel leakage and we need a new plane.
7:30 AM I stand in line back in the terminal, waiting to find out how United proposes to get me to L.A.
8:10 AM My connecting flight from D.C. to L.A. leaves. I'm still sitting in Charlotte.
9:45 I board a new direct flight to L.A, 4 hours after my original flight.

After I finally landed in L.A. around 12:30 west coast time, Rachel picked me up and we rushed to Knott's Berry Farm for the rest of the day.


We hit the road to Albuquerque on Day 2 and visited the Grand Canyon on the way there.

On show day, I participated in the smallest walk I've ever seen with less than 50 people. I also stuck to the front of the walk, where I stepped in some kind of microscopic needle-like booby traps before the rest of the crowd. If you walked and didn't feel them, you're welcome. I picked them all up in my own feet first.

It was a great first stop on the tour because it was a seated show, and Paul McDonald opened his set by coming down into the crowd and walking the aisles with his acoustic guitar (leaving J.P. and his hoard of instruments on stage). We saw Paul & J.P for 10 out of 11 shows, and they put on a good show for every one. Check them out.

And then I got to stand in my favorite place in the world, even though I've never been to New Mexico before:


It felt like a great show, but I'm sure I'm a little biased. Isaac put on a KILLER performance of "Being Me." I literally think it was the best performance I've ever seen from him of anything, ever. I know that's a strong claim to make, but it was that good. We were excited to hear their new cover of "Happy Together" for the first time, and I remember particularly enjoying "Juliet" with Zac on the piano and Taylor on drums. I ended the night by fulfilling something on my imaginary Hanson bucket list--drumsticks!

October 8, 2013

Anthem Tour

I missed my flight. I rode roller coasters. I saw the Grand Canyon and got yelled at in French. I stood front row center for a seated show and got a pair of Zac Hanson's drumsticks...

and that was just the first three days.

Tour season. For a traveling fan, it's time to see and do anything. You go into it knowing there will be a mix of amazing memories and the kind of huge WTF moments that can only come out of sleeping on a sidewalk in a foreign country. You welcome the good and the bad and the air of craziness that accompanies it all. Consider this post a prequel to show-specific reviews that I'll post later when I'm 1) better rested, and 2) less sick. Traveling fan 101: you will be sick when you come home. Always. If you come home well-rested and healthy, you didn't hit the road hard enough.

My trusty car did the entire east coast run last tour, all the way up to Maine and straight back down through Florida. The poor thing just wasn't up to that level of dedication this year, so I did the most responsible thing a girl in my situation could do--I flew to L.A. where I met up with my friend Rachel (who owns the same car but newer) and did the entire west coast in her car instead. It made for a crazy, beautiful tour symmetry.

On day one, we hit Knott's Berry Farm. Day 2 was the Grand Canyon, and then came the Hanson shows:

Sept. 17th Albuquerque, NM
Sept. 18th Denver, CO
Sept. 20th Salt Lake City, UT
Sept. 21st Las Vegas, NV
Sept. 22nd Tucson, AZ
Sept. 24th San Diego, CA
Sept. 25th Anaheim, CA
Sept. 26th Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 28th Portland, OR
Sept. 30th Seattle, WA
Oct. 2nd, Vancouver, BC, Canada

There was little sleep and lots of driving, eleven shows, eight barefoot walks, dozens of friends both old and new, and 21 days lived at warped speed out of a car. I couldn't possibly capture it all in a blog post or a photo review, but I'll do my best to share what I remember.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite travel quotes as a permanent disclaimer:

"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."- Benjamin Disraeli

August 29, 2013

The Art of Asking: Help me win tickets?

Remember back in 2011 on the Musical Ride Tour, there was a contest to win a pair of tickets at any tour stop, and you got an extra entry for every person that used your link to enter?

I did a full month of tour that year, and that free ticket was worth more to me than you know. I posted a blog entry at the time and I asked you guys to use my link and help me out. Some of you did, and I was lucky enough to win that pair of tickets to a show in NYC.

Another tour, and another three weeks down the coast for me (the west coast this time!), and free tickets are worth a lot to me once again. If you're feeling generous and are also interested in winning your own pair of tickets !PLUS A M&G!, we can do this again.

Click this link. Enter this contest. May we both win!

After you've done that, here's a pretty neat video about the power of simply asking people for help and the amazing response that often comes from humbling yourself enough to ask.

Update: Sometimes I'm not sure if my insane luck is good or bad. For this edition of Holly has weird luck, I just happened to enter this contest for the ONE show this tour that has sold out in advance so far, and I'm ticketless. You using my link to enter just became more helpful than ever. I can't really afford to bribe you or anything, but find me in line at a show and I'll give you a high five and share my Scooby fruit snacks or something :-)

July 27, 2013

If a picture's worth a thousand words, I'm way behind.

I'm no photographer. As far as shows are concerned, half of the time my camera stays packed along with all the other things I didn't really need to bring, and the other half of the time I'm too busy jumping and clapping to hold a camera steady anyway. (And I will totally judge you if you're standing on your tiptoes holding your camera 6 feet above your head with some sort of hidden go-go-gadget arm talent for the entire show).

Besides, in the event that I DO bring my camera, this inevitably happens:

Backstory: I bought a waterproof camera for Jamaica so I wouldn't ruin my good Sony on the beach. Guess who never had to set foot outside of the hotel room to drop it on the tile floor anyway?

Photographer or not, the Sony (RIP) did capture some fun memories, and in all my nerdy wordiness, a lot of them never made it to the blog. If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, I probably owe you guys a lot more than 13 extra pictures by now. In honor of the late great DSC-H20, a random collection of photos from various places for your viewing pleasure:

(The original version of this post included polite unobstructive tags slightly off to the side in each picture. I've always thought it's pretty annoying to see a great picture with a watermark right over someone's face. Turns out, it's also pretty annoying to find your pictures floating around with the tag intentionally cropped out, so my apologies for the updated "this is why we can't have nice things" style watermarks.)

Asheville 2008

Myrtle Beach 2008

Nashville 2008

Charlotte 2009

Charlotte 2009

Charlotte 2009

Charlotte 2009

Charlotte 2009

Charleston 2011

Washington DC 2011

Epcot 2012

Jamaica 2013

And lastly, one that is arguably too low quality to post, yet too cute not to share:

Tulsa 2013