May 29, 2024

Hanson Day 2024

Dearest Reader,

Those not in attendance at Cain’s Ballroom this past fortnight have surely missed the social event of the season.

Translation: My review is late because I used my only day off after flying home to binge watch the new season of Bridgerton instead of writing this post. My bad.

Fortunately, there was hardly enough drama, scandal, or match-making at Hanson Day to warrant the continued use of the Lady Whistledown format. (Though it is this author’s humble opinion that many young ladies in pursuit of making the acquaintance of a Hanson brother would be well-matched in tenacity and enthusiasm with the marriage mart mamas of the ton amidst a shortage of eligible suitors.)

But let’s put one nerdy fandom aside and focus on the one that actually brings us here.
As usual, I find myself struggling with how to discuss an event that's always a good time but looks the same as previous years on paper. I could probably write the entire post by copying and pasting excerpts from past reviews. Is it still plagiarism if I'm copying my own work? For now, I’ll spare you the memory lane mashup of quotes that still ring true and start by focusing on what wasn’t the same as past Hanson Days.

Food On The Move

The first difference for me was coming in a day early and attending my first Food On the Move event. To be completely honest, I’ve always supported Taylor’s involvement in FOTM from a distance, and it has never been clear to me if the organization really wanted Hanson fans to get involved in person or if they simply accepted that stamping Taylor’s name on something is going to draw our interest. If anyone has had the same reservations, I have to say that Taylor and Kevin’s speeches at the luncheon showed nothing but gratitude and encouragement for fan involvement. I’m not saying you should book a flight to volunteer at FOTM in hopes of rubbing elbows with Taylor (the same way the walks were never meant to be a mobile M&G), but if you have the ability to give back with your time or make a donation, they clearly want to make FOTM bigger and better and are thankful for any support they can get. Taylor and Kevin both spoke so passionately about what they are doing to help make things sustainable for a long term difference, and I can't wait to see how much progress they make by next Hanson Day. You can visit to learn more or make a donation.

HTP & Karaoke

The biggest change to the Hanson Day agenda this year was moving both Karaoke and the HTP recording from their usual location at The Vanguard to Cain's Ballroom with a much larger capacity. While I’m all for preserving the intimate vibes of a successful event, it has never made much sense to me to create an event that excludes people when you know so many are traveling extensively to be there and want to participate. It’s one thing to be disappointed that you can’t travel to go to an event; it’s another to make it all the way to the right city and still not be able to get in the door. I was happy they risked moving things to include more fans, and I enjoyed not panicking quite so much while buying tickets!

The HTP reporters asked great questions, and I have to agree with Katie's suggestion to release the EP a week before Hanson Day. Back in the day, we used to be handed the new EP at registration, IF it was ready, and then it was a scramble to locate a CD player and try to listen (I can recall one year's impromptu "listening party" crammed in a car in a Taco Bueno parking lot). More often than not, our first listen would be in Cain's with no clue of the lyrics, glaring at the loud talker next to us hoping they would shut up so we could make sense of what we were hearing. And let's be honest. Taylor's enunciation can be questionable on the clearest recording; there's no chance we're hearing those lyrics right for the first time in a crowd. (Cool song, bro, but why are we dancing like donkeys?). It was always a privilege to hear those songs for the first time ever in a live setting, but it also felt like a challenge to fully appreciate them until I got home and listened on my own.

The streaming EP listening parties offer an easier solution, but trying to listen in a room of six friends I haven't seen in a year is like trying to play a game of "who can stay quiet the longest" with a room full of kindergarteners. We just can't help excitedly talking over it. Releasing the EP on May 6th seems like the perfect way to give us more time to learn the songs and also celebrate actual Hanson day, which often gets passed over quietly. I understand Hanson's perspective of not wanting to take away part of the excitement of going to HDay, but consider me part of team release the EP on May 6th. Maybe the compromise is putting it in the media player for us on the 6th and still streaming a listening party during HDay with all of the behind the scenes/making of content.

In the interest of not wasting this whole segment feeding you my opinions on the EP release, I’ll also mention that there was a funny moment during HTP where Zac implied that they strategically crafted Hanson Day and waiting in lines on purpose to provide us with the opportunity to form bonds and make friends, and that we should be grateful for the opportunity to wait. Not quite wrong, but also…not quite right. Dear Zac, some of us make friends by the 3 hour mark and enemies by the 8th. If you’re going to take credit for my friends, just know that you’re equally responsible for ALL the interactions we've had in your lines. (In all seriousness, I haven’t made a line “enemy” in years, and the registration line has improved a lot in recent years. The store line is more of an enter-at-your-own-risk, you know what you’re getting yourself into if you see 200 people ahead of you and still choose to stand behind them situation).

As for karaoke, I’m not sure if I’m about to put an unpopular opinion in writing or if everyone in attendance will agree: Karaoke @ Cains > Karaoke @ Vanguard. They still capped the attendance to less than the full capacity so that it wasn't overcrowded, but it didn’t feel empty, either. Isaac was constantly present, and the crowd loved surprise co-host Mac Hanson. The two sang “Country Roads” together to kick things off, and I quickly lost track of how many times Isaac popped up to sing with fans. “Goodbye Earl” will always be my jam at these things. Mary Anne & Wanda 4ever; I bet their friendship could've withstood 8+ hours in a Hanson line...but probably don't try to cut them.

Beyond Perennial  & Hanson Day Concert

Whether you loved the Beyond Perennial setlist or not, the stats don't lie: every last song of that set was a fan club release. They played about half of Perennial and filled in the rest with other fan club songs. No singles, setlist staples, or MON songs, and for that I think they deserve a round of applause. My favorite song of the night was "Time Baby Take It," which tbh I kind of forgot existed, but to be fair, I think Hanson did too. It was just really, really good in the moment and I'm so glad they let it out of the vault.

One minor outtake is they introduced "Better Man" by saying it had never been played live before, but my brain was shouting "You played that on the Wintry Mix Tour!" followed immediately by a memory of hearing Zac sing it as "Trash Man" in Jamaica. Hansonstage confirms I've now heard it 7 times and they've played it 14, so I'm not sure how they collectively forgot playing it a whole 13 times. 

I was fully prepared to dedicate my first sentence about the Members' Only concert to the fact that they didn't play the entire new EP this year, but then I double checked the set list and proved myself wrong. I'm taking this as another sign that they should just give us the EP sooner so I know what I'm hearing at the show. In addition to the full EP, we got several of the setlists staples missing from the first night, a pretty somber ending ("Young and Dumb" and "Tonight"), and a Taylor solo of WYIYD that I am convinced needs to have time restrictions placed around it because sir, you already made us sob over that one in January and I would like a break. 

Dance Party

I am such a sucker for these themed afterparties. I don't care a thing in the world about dancing, but I am here for a good excuse to wear something fun and unpredictable. This year's theme was a little all over the place with Star Wars references and nods to Y2K, but it resulted in a fun range of outfits from inflatable aliens to storm troopers to Zenon cosplays. Everyone looked great!

I'm sure if you saw me in my starry outfit, I blended in with every other basic girl there, but the truth is I stepped out of my comfort zone to put on that dress in public. I originally had another outfit in mind, but while struggling to find the right matching top, I came across this see through bodycon mini dress covered in stars that I felt too old/too conservative/too fill-your-own-insecurity-in-the-blank to wear, but for some reason I couldn't stop eyeing it. I told a friend that I kept going back to this dress every time I tried to finish out my outfit, and instead of talking me out of it, she told me if I felt like I could pull it off that I should wear it now while I can (real talk: girl, you're not getting any younger!). I bought it; I wore it; I had a fabulous time. Get you a friend that will tell you to wear what makes you happy and dance around with you in matching ridiculous boots.

Themes I'd like to see in the future: Slumber Party, Masquerade, Crayon Box (is this a thing? It should be a thing. Everyone just picks whatever color they want and dress in it head to toe).

Bonus Content

In addition to all of the usual Hday things, this year:
-I was coerced into daily STG gelato, which is delicious if you've never tried it.
-I accidentally gave a stranger terrible directions to the baseball stadium, only to then accidentally wind up at the stadium at the same time as him and be heckled mercilessly for it. Sorry to uphold the stereotype that women don't know directions. At least I know he's not still out there looking for it.
-I got to celebrate a dear friend's wedding, and I'm so happy we were able to take all the cheesy wedding photos and see her looking so beautiful. It's fitting that we met on a sidewalk when she was 14 and now we're taking sidewalk wedding photos. Congratulations, Morgen & Jacob <3 


In summary, Hanson stepped up their setlist game by playing fan club songs at a fan club event, the semi-unclear dance party theme ended up being a hit, and the new EP is my favorite of the last several years. I'll leave you with this: Support the cause, wear the dress, buy the ticket, get on the plane, and while you're doing it all, don't forget to be the person that encourages others to do the same. Also probably don't ask me for directions.

If you are a fan club member, you can log in and click here to watch the Listening Party, Hanson Time Podcast Live, and Hanson Day Concert & Nightcap.