May 24, 2016

Hanson Day 2016 Part 1: Loud

When I started this blog, I just wanted a place to keep track of all of my show memories so I wouldn’t forget them. I never consciously decided to weave in any specific theme or overarching message, but over time I think one naturally appeared anyway. Ask any fan that has ever traveled for this band, and they’ll tell you that Hanson has given us all so much more than mp3 tracks and an autograph collection. The theme is that music is this wonderful catalyst and the byproduct is friendship and genuine human connection. It’s a topic I seem to talk about more and more frequently as those friendships continue to build and grow within the fan community.

This year, I want to go back to ground zero: the music. For me, a truly great show is rarely ever isolated to just the music; it’s a combination of the performance and plenty of other variables like the company, location, or some specific interaction. This particular show didn’t fit that mold for me. Don’t get me wrong, the friendships and all of those other variables were great as usual, but something about the new music just firmly planted this one in the “other” category in the best way possible. It's great to be able to get something more than auditory satisfaction from music, but I think at the core it's still important to be able to connect to the music on an individual level and not get completely taken away by the wonderful byproducts we value so much. Something about this show felt more personal and internal than communal to me and fit well with Isaac's discussion of music and spirituality having a place together. This one was all about the music for me.

The songs they debuted blew me away in a way that I haven’t felt before at any of my 100+ shows (the closest was hearing Use Me Up for the first time live at the MOE in 2009). That probably sounds like a huge exaggeration, and maybe I got caught up in the moment a bit, but that's my honest first reaction. The music felt fresh and inspired and enthusiastic in a way that I didn’t get from the last few EPs (or maybe ever, if I’m being honest).  I’ve made the comment here before that going to a Hanson show is not a religious experience for me, but I have to say this is the closest I’ve come so far to revoking that statement. The music from Play in particular was just outstanding to me. There was one song called “Feeling Alive” that made me feel like I wanted to cry because it was so good and so right. It made me emotional for no good reason that I could identify other than pure satisfaction of a song well done.  I don’t even remember how it went, but I remember how I felt. Maybe the feelings I had were facilitated by the vaulted ceilings and the crowd of raised arms below me at the Brady, but it felt like a Hanson revival of sorts. I hope the recording can capture even a fraction of what it felt like to be in that room for me.

If you watched the Making of Loud live streams at all, there was one that started with a short clip of Zac playing a song on the piano that had the line “Do you believe that somebody’s made for you.” It was really pretty and I was worried that it was going to be another great segment that would go into the Hanson vault for years to come, so I was surprised and delighted to hear it at the show. It went from what sounded like a ballad in the stream to this epic pop song that Zac said has the biggest vocal range out of any Hanson song yet, and is probably only second in speed to “White Collar Crimes.” It sounds like Queen and Hanson and birthday cake and money raining from the sky. I am not leaving disappointed.

I don't remember much about "Joyful Noise" or "Man on Top" except that I liked both of those a lot too, and "Man on Top" had a "na na" part that I swear was just a few syllables shy of being the Clarissa Explains it All theme song. Sorry if you'll never unhear that now.

The songs from Loud are all catchy and earworm worthy and my brain can't seem to decide which one it wants to put on a permanent loop. I think it's a toss up between "No Rest for the Weary" and "Stop Me in My Tracks" so far. They ended up removing the kazoo parts, and I have to confess I think it was a good call because it sounded great without it. I'm not sure the world was ready for the sound of a swarm of bumblebees humming along to Hanson music. I've just read through all of the lyrics and I can't even tell you how excited they make me, especially "No Rest for the Weary." I'll cut the Loud commentary short because I'll do a full review of the EP later since I already have it in hand.

I've mostly avoided reading other fans' opinions and commentary on the weekend so I could figure out where I stood first without second guessing myself, so I don't know if I'm the lone crazy that absolutely loved it all or if I'm speaking for the class again. Maybe people will read this and go "OMG, were we even at the same show?" and think I'm being sappy as usual, but I hope there's a pretty big group of "OMG, me too!" I can honestly say I have so much confidence in the sound of this new music, and it makes me excited to see what the future holds for Hanson and for us.

Part 2: Play (Hanson Day Events)


Courtney said...

I could not agree more! I am so excited for this music, in particular Play - I got so emotional I did cry, I was just overcome. So good.

Cecilia said...

Watched the stream and they blew me away! Play is AWESOME. They made me cry like a baby. It was so refreshing to hear GOOD music and inspiring lyrics <3

Anonymous said...

I absolutely LOVED the new music, much better than last year's EP. But I loved Music Made For Humans a lot, and felt it was fun and experimental for them without being totally out there and un-Hanson. And this weekend's show was so much fun. I don't know if it was the BEST Hanson show I've been to, it's always so hard for me to choose one though. There's always something a little different, something that stands out. Like you said, the 2009 MOE (my first ever) was amazing, and it felt very intimate. No Tulsa MOE has felt that way since, no matter how great they've been in their own ways. But there was definitely something special about this years MOE concert, and the music definitely did feel fresh and exciting. It made everyone in my MOE group very happy, no one left the Brady Theater with any complaints.

Kelly said...

Don't ever worry about whether you're on the same page as anybody else--if you love it, you love it. But it *was* a really good Hanson show, just for the record.

P.S. I have a definite, immediate favorite on Loud, and it's one of your top two :)

The Good Groupie said...

I think the phrase "Hanson revival" sums it up perfectly. There was something new and refreshing, almost an underlying buzz of excitement in everything the band shared all weekend. It left me excited for more new music later this year and for what they have in store for us in 2017 as we celebrate more milestones together.

I'll be honest - there have been points in my fandom where my faith in the music has wavered a bit. Some songs haven't had the same passion I was accustomed to hearing or sounded like they were straying into new territory I wasn't sure I would enjoy.

Nothing about the songs on "Loud" or what we heard from "Play" brought those thoughts to my head. This is by far one of my favorite fan club EPs possibly ever, and since it will have such a close connection to "Play" (and I assume all the songs were written around the same time) it makes me wonder if this band was simply made to create albums, not EPs.

I was one that left Saturday night feeling as if the show was just a bit off...but I think it had a LOT to do with where I was standing. (The sound was kind of crazy and too loud where we initially chose to be - once we all moved, we were golden.) And I think you're right about the guys letting down their guard a little. With a few days to process, now it just feels like it was beautifully organic and a little step behind the curtain.

asphodelia said...

I know I've already said to you in person when we bumped into each other at the gate, but the new music has restored my faith in Hanson. It's exactly what I was hoping for - music with guts and passion, something which imho was severely lacking in their last 2 EPs.

I haven't been to anywhere near as many shows as you so my terms of comparison are not the same, but despite the technical glitches, I totally agree with your perception that that show had something different going on, that the music really mattered. It was a very emotionally charged performance and even if I was quite far at the back of the hall I still felt involved - something that doesn't happen very often.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought that show was phenomenal, even if things went wrong from a technical point of view. Sometimes a 'new' fan like me can be made to feel a little naive - 'oh, you haven't seen as many shows as I have honey, this is not a good one, believe me lololol' - so it's nice to hear that 'older' (not age-wise) fans felt the same.