May 30, 2017

Hanson Day 2017

I’ve been very fortunate as a Hanson fan and have found myself in more than a few situations that made me stop and think “If I could tell 9-year-old me what I’m doing right now…” Let’s just say 1997 me would be pretty impressed or in a constant state of disbelief with a lot of the situations I've wound up in over the last decade.

This is the year I would have to break it to 9-year-old Holly that present day Holly would have a ticket to a sold out Dance Party hosted by Taylor Hanson but opted to have donuts and go to bed early instead. I guess the 20th/25th anniversary is a fine time to realize you’re not a kid anymore, and Hanson Day 2017 provided plenty of opportunities to feel old and tired with a jam-packed schedule of events, plenty of which overlapped and ran past midnight. Busy as it was, I’m still on board for the most exhausting vacation I know, and they've obviously worked hard to create an event worth every mile we've traveled to get there.

The Art Gallery/Hanson History

The nostalgia at this Hanson Day weekend was almost as abundant as the lines at this Hanson Day weekend. The Art Gallery included a special look back at the past featuring photographs from every year of Hanson’s career in addition to some beautiful throwback pop-art style paintings from Zac. It was probably my favorite set of paintings to date with all of the bright colors and polka dots. I was super excited to visit the Hanson History portion of the gallery after having mentioned the idea of a "Hanson museum" three years ago on here. The new addition featured props from several music videos throughout Hanson’s career including:

-Furniture from the set of “Weird”
-The Are You Listening piano from "Lost Without Each Other"
-Zac and Taylor’s outfits from the “If Only” video
-Weird Al’s outfit & tambourine and the keyboard used in “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin”
-Some of the costumes worn by the children in the new “I Was Born” video.

All of this led up to the iconic giant pansy backdrop from the “MMMBop” video, which they had set up with a photobooth and props for all of us to pose with. This was such a fun surprise that I think everyone loved. We were given free photo strips and the opportunity to record a short video message to Hanson as well.

My own visit to the gallery was a spur-of-the-moment decision made while decked out in full rain gear simply because we didn’t see a line, but we fully intended to go back the next day dressed like normal people and take better pictures. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but what we got instead is certainly memorable. My friend Rachel and I just happened to be wearing rain coats that matched the backdrop perfectly. We picked out “wham!” and “ouch!” props and decided to pretend she was punching me in one of the shots. I didn’t realize it was actually a double-sided caption until we were walking away with our pictures and noticed my angry face paired with a perplexing “Poof!” sign. We didn’t get digital copies, I held up the wrong caption, and we look like a North Face ad. It's perfect.

Acoustic Storytellers
The nostalgia reached its peak when the Acoustic Storytellers "Lecture" opened with an acapella rendition of "Rockin' Robin" followed by "Stories." This show was definitely my favorite event of the weekend even though I got more new songs and a better spot at the regular show. This trip was never about ticking songs off of a checklist or going and doing something new; it was about revisiting the music and friendships that have grown to mean a lot to me over the years, and sitting in the back with my friends during this set was a great way to celebrate how far we've come together, both literally and figuratively, Hanson included.

For the third year in a row, Hanson chose to play "With You In Your Dreams" during the lectures. It fit with the rest of the set and is obviously a powerful song in the band's history, but sobbing uncontrollably during WYIYD during the lectures every year is turning into some kind of weird accidental tradition that I don't exactly look forward to. Isaac solo-ing "A Life Without You" directly after didn't really help, but I'm glad so many people who haven't had the opportunity to attend BTTI finally got to hear it. I enjoyed all of the insights and stories they shared and would love to see this event done again with new songs and more details. And the answer we finally got about where Johnny went after all these years? In Zac's words: "Hell if I know."

The best part of the show (aside from Rockin' Robin) was the moment at the end when someone switched on the disco ball during "Been There Before." I had flashbacks to middle school dances with the little mirrored lights bouncing off of the hardwood floors while I stood in the bleachers. It was just one of those great shared moments that you know is unrepeatable and that you somehow already miss while it's still happening.

The Concert
The main show was almost entirely fan club songs with just a few singles at the end. I don't want to go into too much detail about the new EP songs because they'll get their own separate post soon, but "I Don't Want To Go Home" certainly has the feel of a new fan anthem and I can't stop blasting it in my car. "I Lift You Up" was an interesting deviation from their usual performance style. I think Isaac was holding up his cell phone with Taylor's breathy percussion recording playing into the microphone, and Taylor and Zac were both at the keyboard for the duration of the song, but a spotlight with the intensity of a thousand suns aimed at my face means I can't really tell you what they were doing there. I just know that seeing them both at the keyboard brought back memories of seeing them drum in unison during "Roller Coaster Love" in the same room back in 2013.

Just looking at the setlist, a lot of my favorites that I voted for in the Members Only song poll a few months back made the cut (On and On, Sound of Light, White Collar Crime, and No Rest for the Weary were all near the top of my list), and "Sunny Day" is the only song I can think of that would have made it even better. I'm kind of amazed that with all of the throwbacks and bad weather and the new rain jacket in the store, we didn't get an acapella version of "Rain" anywhere on the setlist, but the set was still solid without it.

Hop Jam
Someone joked that Hanson must have paid off the rain gods for good weather on Hop Jam day this year in exchange for letting the weather be horrible every other day of the event, and I'd believe it. I was a little nervous that I'd be running around doing odd jobs in my rain boots, but the weather was absolutely gorgeous. It was great to see Hanson headline again after taking a year off, and I'm proud to watch the event continue to grow year after year and become an annual staple in the Tulsa festival lineup among the likes of Mayfest and the Blue Dome Arts Festival.

I failed miserably at taking pictures just like I do every year, but most of the best moments can't be captured by a camera anyway. To quote a song I hope to hear a lot more of, I'm more of a "trying to capture each moment like a picture in my head" kind of person.

This year was full of those moments. I'll never forget running for our lives barefoot in a lightning storm arm in arm while getting drenched. There was photobombing a sleeping friend at karaoke, watching a lady with giant rainbow butterfly wings dance around Hop Jam, hauling chairs up a ramp in the rain with a great team of friends, and getting lost in a moment with a cheesy disco ball while wearing an even cheesier pre-fame Hanson t-shirt without apology.

God only knows all the places I'll see, but there's one place I know I'll always go back to.


Becky said...

It truly was a magical weekend, wasn't it?

Canadianduck55 said...

My favorite part of the weekend was the Lectures as well, during WYIYD and Song to Sing I just let the tears flow while smiling and attempting to sing through tears. There is something special about being with my long-distance friend in the audience and turning to her and smiling during Lectures because I am excited that they are playing her favorite song ('Strong Enough to Break').

It is so special to be able to share such a fun weekend with friends i hardly ever get to see. I feel truly blessed that this band brings us together.

It was so nice to see you and talk to you (even just for a short bit) this year Holly!

Kelly said...

I agree that the acoustic storytellers set made the weekend. Perfect set list and they sounded so good -- my favorite moments were Yearbook (including Zac's lack of explanation re: Johnny ;), Fire on the Mountain, Madeline, Man from Milwaukee and of course Been There Before aka the Disco Ball Moment <3

They didn't play Rain, but didn't Taylor make some kind of joke in the middle of a song during Storytellers about raining or a storm? I'm blanking and it's bugging me, haha.

Jackie Boos said...

Great summary of the weekend! I have a question for you: Did you feel like volunteering at all of the events detracted from your fun at all? I kept seeing all of you street team leaders working your butts off and thought to myself, "I hope they are still making time for fun."

I would love to help them out also, but I feel like I would miss out on my beer-drinking time during Hop Jam. :)

What are your thoughts?

Holly said...

@Jackie It definitely requires balance and some advanced planning to make time for everything I want to do. But for me personally, there are two main reasons I don't feel like it detracts from the fun.

1. I don't like beer. Problem solved for me in terms of not fully participating in the Hop Jam.
2. I've been to Tulsa 11 times in the last 10 years. I love going back, but I had pretty much already done all of the typical touristy fan sightseeing things before Hop Jam and volunteering were even a thing. I like that it gives me something new to do each year.

It's also totally on a volunteer basis and not required, so it wouldn't be a problem to pull back and make more free time if I felt like I needed it. :-)

Veronica said...

Hi. I got your link from hnet thread... You blog is awesome.
I just read your review about Hanson day, it is so good!
My friends went there but non of them told all those details you just shared.
I can't wait to go to an Event in Tulsa.
greetings from Chile.

Holly said...

Thanks, Veronica! I hope you'll be able to check out Hanson Day for yourself some time soon.