As soon as our camper van rolled into Las Vegas the morning of the 25th, I was hit with an indescribable sadness. I knew that I would be seeing the guys in less than a week (at EPCOT for Food and Wine Fest), but it wasn’t really about missing the band. It was about missing the insane lifestyle of following a band, and the memories you make along the way. It was about the people I had experienced the whole thing with and the hours in line we had shared. I was also strangely nervous about the show, seeing as the San Diego concert was so incredible. But, I was (as usual) getting ahead of myself. The Las Vegas show was one that I will never forget.
We parked in the Mandalay Bay parking garage around noon and headed into the casino. I had checked in with a few people already there, and confirmed that there was, in fact, a line inside. When we finally found the House of Blues, we were greeted by a gaggle of girls who we now knew by name. And so, I spent my first and only day in Vegas, inside a corral that the HOB staff had created specifically for Hanson fans. Thrilling, I know.
But, I wouldn’t have it any other way, and since we were in air conditioning and had easy access to bathrooms, food, and starbucks, the day went by in a flash. The venue was pretty organized, and the lines were handled well (thanks in part to Stephanie, who I may or may not have deemed “line-mom”, HANSON YOU SHOULD HIRE HER). We got into the venue (right in front of Isaac’s microphone, as usual), and were surrounded by people who had all made the same trek as us.
The first...third? Half? Of the show was pretty emotional for me. I was just so thankful for everything and how a little over a year ago I was in a fandom lull and for whatever reason, one night I was home alone and decided to re-watch Strong Enough To Break and there I was, going full speed ahead back into the life of a fully fledged fangirl. This year has been insane in all the best ways, and I have this band to thank for that. I cried during Go and SETB (no surprise there) and then straight up BAWLED during Wildflowers. I was emotional, sure, but I was also really exhausted, and I always cry when I’m tired. So...yeah.
And then...the show got real silly. As they were setting up for On and On, all three of them were whispering and suddenly, everyone but Zac was leaving the stage. Taylor barely got “Zac is going to sing a song for you” before bolting offstage, and the rest of the band followed suit. Zac was left alone at his center microphone, looking bewildered, but playing the intro to On and On and realizing that he was going to have to do the little Hnet speech himself. There were clearly a lot of newbies and non-members in the audience, so Zac was having trouble getting people to participate in the call and response. Honestly, I’m not even sure he “taught” it to us before launching into the song (I was also very distracted, laughing at the absurdity of the situation). He said “I can’t hear you guys!”, and the group of us who had been there for the entire week decided to make up for everyone else not singing. We basically just started screaming the response, and dying laughing over it (I distinctly remember sinking to the ground in laughter, and someone pulling me back up). Hey, he asked! No one else was singing! We couldn't leave him hanging!
The band came back and I Was Born was great but...the lights went out and I guess distracted Taylor because he repeated a part of the second verse? The night was spiralling into a very silly concert, but I don’t think anyone minded. I didn’t, that’s for sure. In fact, this is the exact reason why I love live music. Ya gotta roll with the punches, and take everyone along for the ride.
By this point, I felt like the guys were playing the show for the 20-ish of us who were going absolutely insane in the first few rows. The crowd as a whole was very chatty, and not super responsive, so they started making silly faces at us, pointing at us...Taylor came over to our little crew more than usual, and of course we went absolutely bonkers every time. It was so...FUN. It felt like a celebration.
The encore was Man from Milwaukee and I’m pretty sure we all lost our damn minds.
While San Diego was the best show of the tour, hands down...this actually might have been my favorite. It was very special (and hilarious) in a totally different way. It felt like a party, and even though I was completely exhausted at the end of it, I didn’t want to go home.
But, I never really do.
Peace, Love, and Zac solo shows,