After getting home from the St. Pete concert, and after about an hour of being too wired to go to sleep but too tired to do anything but eat pizza and lay on my bed chugging water, I CRASHED. But, there wasn’t too much time to sleep...before I knew it, Sarah’s alarm was going off and we somehow woke up to drive to Atlanta to do the whole crazy thing over again. I felt...well honestly really bad that morning. I was coming off of a week of Hurricane Irma evacuation (aka barely any sleep and lots of stress and anxiety), a weekend of travelling to Kentucky, playing four live gigs in three days, a day of camping in line, and over two hours of jumping and screaming in the sweltering front row. BUT, I’ve done a lot of things whilst under the weather, both with and without a voice. As a performer with a notoriously weak immune system, you just learn how to rally. God bless Sarah for being patient with me while I was being the most annoying...okay here we go! Thoughts from Atlanta!
And in the moment, when the dust is spun
You’ll have time for contemplation underneath the desert sun…
You’ll have time for contemplation underneath the desert sun…
- The entire Hanson catalogue of music ALMOST takes you all the way from St. Pete to Atlanta and back again. We didn’t go in chronological order, and we even listened to Snowed In and some of the very deepest cuts, but we almost made it all the way home before switching over my second favorite musical trio - The Lonely Island.
- It is possible to be just as excited for your best friend’s meet and greet as you would be for your own. Sarah got a meet and greet for Atlanta and at first, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty jealous. BUT, I was mostly excited for her. And when we got to the venue and had to be split up (a travesty), I found myself bragging to the people around me that she was about to meet the guys and peeking into the window to watch when she went in (WHAT?! That’s not weird!! #codependent). I couldn’t figure out why I was nervous!! Even after I went into the venue, I was shaking with excitement FOR HER, and seeing her huge smile was just as good as having the experience myself!
- The line in Atlanta was the polar opposite of St. Pete. Both line experiences were awesome for different reasons, but they were vastly different. In St. Pete, we got there hours before the sun rose and watched as the line continued to grow throughout the day. We were asked by countless people who we were waiting for, and our answer caused some pretty bewildered faces. By 5pm the line was blocks long. In Atlanta, I lined up 5:30pm and was not far from the door. I was surrounded by people who were clearly more casual fans, and some people who admitted to not knowing that Hanson was even still playing music until they caught wind of this tour. But I will say that everyone around me was in awesome spirits, and genuinely excited for the show, which made me really happy. There was even a woman who kept talking about how the only band she would see more than once was the Backstreet Boys and I was like girl, I get you. I understand you.
- Getting front row in St. Pete was an EVENT. Getting front row in Atlanta was literally me walking up to the barricade and meeting Sarah right in the middle with literally no resistance. So...that was cool.
- Again, nothing will beat those first five songs and the epic transitions woven in between them. Utterly obsessed forever.
- Highlights of the night:
- Great Divide was pretty epic. As we all know, The Walk isn’t my favorite album and it’s rarely one I just listen to when I want to listen to Hanson. But hearing this passionate, intense song live was awesome.
- Go was once again a highlight for me. Zac is just...so...amazing live and like...yeah. This kind of felt like Zac’s show to me. He was so on point and really just leaving it all out there on the stage for us (I think he was just really excited for his new 26”).
- I think I blacked out during Juliet in St. Pete (it was just a lot okay? I was overwhelmed), but it was definitely a high point for me in Atlanta.
- Strong Enough to Break made me cry very hard...AGAIN.
- Penny, always. My love for this song has taken on a life of it's own, but I always feel a smile from someone during it, and here’s why.
- With You In Your Dreams used to make me emotional when I was much younger, but I’ve been pretty desensitized to it. I’ve heard it so many times. This night, however, I got pretty choked up! This is a very messed up thought process so, bear with me, but right before they started singing Ike said that the song was going out to anyone who had lost someone special to them...cool, that’s a normal sentiment. But I’m me, I have a whole host of dead dad issues, and I love to make everything dramatic and sappy. So for some crazy reason, I started thinking about their kids (all gazillion of them), and how when these three men die, their kids are going to have this song. This song is one of many that, to me, are about my Dad. They are going to have their actual dads saying “I’ll be with you in your dreams,” and that is such an amazing gift. Why do I do this to myself?! Why is this what my brain does?! So anyway I cried for the SECOND time that night. Typical.
- I Was Born is just so stunning live. I mean...listen. It took me a while to warm up to the song. When we first heard bits of it, I was pretty much ready to run a campaign to get “Feeling Alive” to be the 25th Anniversary song instead of the song we got. But at the end of the day, and with Taylor’s speech before the song, and hearing everyone scream “BEFORE”...it’s a really special moment of the night.
- There’s something to be said for having an audience comprised of casual or returning fans. And that is that everyone is like...SUPER excited to hear MmmBop. So yeah, MmmBop was pretty cool.
- Three words. IN. THE. CITY.
- They played I Don’t Want To Go Home for the final encore and it really is the BEST last song. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this new fan anthem. We don’t want to go hooooome! Ever!!!!!
- This crowd was one of the loudest I've ever heard!! It was the first time since seeing BSB (again, with the BSB!!!) Millenium tour in 1999 that I had to cover my ears because the sound of the screams was rattling my skull.
- Even though I told myself I would take it easy and not scream, of course I didn’t do those things because I have no self control at concerts!! None!!! So I could tell my voice was toast as soon as the lights came back up. But that was okay...worth it. I decided I still wanted to stagedoor, even if it was just to squeak out a few words and snap a picture.
- The bus line was LONG, but we had plenty of entertainment because there were lots of people who used the concert as an opportunity to...well...drink a lot! Living their best lives, honestly.
- Concert stagedooring is different than Broadway stagedooring. And listen, that’s a thing that I KNOW but it still shocks me every time. Maybe because I have spent so many hours of my life loitering on 49th street outside of the Eugene O’Neill theatre so that is my normal, but I never seem to remember how long it takes after concerts. Sarah and I waited patiently (props to her because I literally wasn’t speaking because I’m a FREAK who FREAKS OUT when I start losing my voice) and Zac came out and was incredibly nice and gracious. He made time for the every single person in the very long line.
- Even when you can only squeak out a greeting and ask for a selfie, meeting your biggest songwriting influence is the coolest thing in the world. I didn’t have time or energy or the voice to really get into any shop talk with him (I’ll have more chances later), but I was very grateful to meet Zac and have a silly moment with him. That boy is literally why I am the kind of lyricist I am today, so I was just a tiny bit star struck. After waiting a little longer for the other guys, I decided I was too tired and too hungry and just a tiny bit too cranky to wait any longer. Sarah and I waved goodbye to our concert buddies and headed back to the hotel.
Even though I was too hungry to even stomach the fast food we got on the way back to the hotel, and even though the next day I would have no voice at all, and even though I would cry because I was so tired and frustrated at my body shutting down, I fell asleep indescribably happy that night. There really is nothing like Hanson shows, and experiencing them with your best friend is...kind of the best. It was such an honor to be by Sarah’s side for her first Hanson concert, and to watch her watch them. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the powers at be for putting me in a show I didn’t even audition for that she happened to be in, so that almost two years later we could be squeezing each other’s hands when the boys sang “hold on to the ones who really care, in the end they’ll be the only one’s there.” Thanks for being my front row buddy, weirdo! Okay before this gets too sappy, I’m gonna wrap it up.
See you in Anaheim, boys!!
Peace, Love, and no goats just normal stuff,