November 10, 2017

MOE Tour: Anaheim

I was home for exactly nine days between the Minneapolis show and my trip to California. Three days in, a pretty big thing happened. A drunk driver in a large van ran a stop sign in front of me on my way home from work that night. I hit him in my compact car going almost 60 mph. The van rolled, the front end of my car was completely obliterated, and I have God and the invention of airbags and seatbelts to thank for the fact that I'm here writing this right now. I consider it a miracle that my worst injury was an abrasion across my chest and shoulder from the seatbelt; it's a badge of honor I'll gladly wear considering the alternative.

Despite some soreness and a pretty gross looking shoulder area, I was determined to still make it to California. I made sure to leave my travel backpack at home and only bring rolling luggage I wouldn't have to carry. I asked kind strangers on planes to lift my suitcase into the overhead bin for me, and they obliged before I could even explain why I needed the help. (They probably assumed I was just a tiny girl with a tendency to overpack and zero upper-body strength, but whatever.) It was kind of a rough start, but I was just happy to be there and thankful that my final MOE tour trip was all flights and didn't rely on my car at all.

I had no intention of trying to tell Hanson about it during the group picture after the Anaheim MOE. There wasn't time, and you can't really shake someone's hand, say "Hey! I almost died since you saw me last week. It's great to be here," and walk away. Instead I lined up against the barricade to pose for the picture, and then Zac's hand clamped down on my injured shoulder and I realized too late that I really should have thrown out some kind of "don't touch Holly today" disclaimer first. The picture was over before there was even time to protest, so I had a literal grin and bear it moment. I haven't seen the picture yet, but there's a 50% chance I look like the half-grimacing little girl in a family photo who is only behaving because her mom is pinching her behind the scenes.

The MOE setlist was identical to the one I attended in St. Pete but with "Get Out of My Heart" added in the middle. During the Q&A portion, they called on a girl several rows back whose question was simply if they remembered her. (I wasn't even sure they could see her well enough to know if they did or didn't.) Isaac went into Hancyclopedia mode and saved the day by actually being able to recall and provide details to the situation she described pretty convincingly. Someone asked a very specific question for Taylor about EDM and his DJ sets that went about 90% over my head and probably at least 60% over Taylor's. The last question I remember was from a younger girl who asked about their most embarrassing moment on stage, and they talked about a botched performance of "Piece of My Heart" from years back where they all just went completely blank trying to perform it live. It's kind of hard to imagine them having that kind of frozen stage fright now.

We stood about halfway back in the crowd after enjoying front row for the MOE, and I was amply reminded that a large part of why I love being up front is not having to watch the show through 27 moving phones. Thankfully we were on a slight incline and could see over most of them, but they were an ever-present part of the Anaheim experience. If everyone is going to have their phones in the air anyway, at least Isaac has learned to make use of it during "Weird" this tour. Watching a sea of lighted phones swaying in unison is actually a pretty neat sight--when it's called for.

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I was happily surprised to hear "Crazy Beautiful" for the first and only time this tour. It's always going to be one of my favorites, and I didn't realize I'd been missing it until it showed up on this setlist. I also finally got to hear Hanson's cover of "Wildflowers" by Tom Petty that I'd been hearing so much about, and it was a beautiful way for them to honor his memory. You should check out this video they shared if you didn't get a chance to witness it for yourself.

And then there was "I Was Born," usually my own personal patronus against WYIYD, that suddenly felt a lot more serious and emotional hearing it for the first time after the accident. Because while I may not know exactly what I'm here to do, it seems clearer now more than ever that I'm meant to be here, period. I'm not the only person who has ever survived a car crash, but I'm ecstatic that I can do, go, and be all of the things that were always possible. I'm infinitely grateful that they still are.

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