This year marked my 6th year making the trek to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Six years! I would have never thought I would visit Tulsa for Hanson Day once, let alone six times and probably a 7th, come next year, since Taylor Hanson is forcing us all to come back for their 25th year! Through the years I have learned that MOEs (Member Only Events) are like potato chips, you can't just have one.
This being my 6th year, I didn't the normal touristy things one does in their first year like visit the giant Golden Driller man (who by the way, had to get his package shaved down because Tulsa decided it was too sexual) or take a stalker-like photo outside the MOE house and the 77th street sign post, all which is Hanson Fan must. But one of the best things I did do this year was make a schedule. Every year I forget when events happen. So I wrote everything down from when I arrive, to places I wanted to see, to the times that those places were opened. It really helped and I spent less time wondering. So there is a veteran tip for you.
Hanson Day Events
Check-in/Registration: I arrived on Thursday and check-in was a nightmare this year. A fan posted a picture of the check-in sign and it caused fans to run and line up two hours before the 4pm start time. Not to mention it poured for hours, I am talking more rain than California probably sees in a year and I stupidly left my umbrella in the hotel room because when my weather app told me "A Shower" I thought it was referring to the rain that had happened that morning, so me and hundreds of others stood in the rain for hours. Zac Hanson was nice enough to stop by and I had a lovely conversation with him about issuing electronic tickets to help speed up the line and I heard a cute story about how Zac had to hide the batteries to his kids' Frozen toy inorder stop hearing "Let it Go" on repeat.
Highlight: Definitely the giant cardboard cutout of Hanson promoting Back to the Island.
Hanson Day Pop-up Store: Nothing too new this year, in fact this year was the lowest amount I ever spent in the store. I still don't know why it takes so long for the line to move, the room in only so big and there is only so much merchandise, but it didn't really help that they decided not to have the new merchandise flyers to look at while waiting.
Highlights: People were really excited about Hanson Leggings. I had a nice conversation with Hanson's sister Zoe about how she does her beautiful crown braids.
Karaoke: This was the new event at Hanson Day and it was a blast! I arrived 30 minutes late due in part because I had stood in line all day and needed food but being late worked out in my favor, Taylor Hanson followed shortly after me, scaring the crap out of me, when he came up behind me to introduce himself. He introduced himself to few more people before hopping on stage to join Isaac and a fan singing This Time Around.
Bad or good at singing everyone seemed to have a good time and surprisingly many Hanson fan can sing but I applaud anyone who had the guts to get up on stage!
Highlights: Watching a few of my friends sing with Isaac. Isaac singing (lead) Mmmbop and then singing "Something Loud" off the new Loud Ep, which at the time nobody but Isaac knew.
Gallery: Every year since 2011, Hanson has hosted a gallery to display just how much more talent Hanson has then the rest of us. Zac displays hand painted artwork, this years' featured painted guitars, a keyboard, and canvases featuring art inspired by the new Loud/Play eps. Taylor displayed his beautiful photography and every year I buy a print. I have never bought a Zac painting. They are a bit out of my price range and you have get up at the crack of dawn to do it. There are only about 10 paintings and every year and they usually go to the first people in line. I told myself that that I wouldn't buy another photo print since I have bought one almost every year and I am losing wall space. But this year's photos were gorgeous, the best yet in my opinion. I ended up seeing a photo I deemed "Taylor with Good Hair" and I had to have it.
Highlights: Beside the amazing art, Taylor ended up walking in when we are standing in line and my friend yelled to him " HEY! NO CUTS!" He laughed and ended up talking to us for a minute. He asked if he we enjoyed Karaoke and I asked how he was, when I really wanted to say I liked his outfit (It was on point), but I thought that would be creepy. He said "What?" and when I repeated my question, he said "Deaf, apparently".
Photos: Stand line and get picture with Hanson and other fans. I am extremely grateful that Hanson does this for their fans. Not many bands I know would spend hours taking photos with fans, especially not without charging a lot of money. I will never say no to a picture with Hanson and if you have never had one before it is THE BEST THING EVER!
Lectures: I think this year's Lectures were the best yet. I'm a Taylor fan but Isaac's lecture impressed me most. His lecture stressed the importance of having courage and how even simple acts can make a difference. There was hardly dry eye in the house especially when Isaac told us we were all important and that Hanson values each and every one us. As fan it was something I needed to hear.
Taylor's lecture titled "Unwritten" talked about the importance of not letting things remain unwritten or unfinished. This concept is hard for me since I'm a procrastinator. But I enjoyed the stories of bothering family, day and night regardless if they were sick and the funny story about how "Dying to Be Alive" was created on a keyboard balanced on a broken ironing board that kept collapsing every few notes!
Zac lecture, has been the same concept since the start of these talks. Help Zac write a song. However it always turns into : Sit and watch Zac write the song, while he does silly and amusing things and while this is entertaining at times, it also has become a bit tiring in my opinion, especially since Zac with every coming year seems to believe less and less in the fan bases' abilities to help "write" the song.
The first year we sang on the song, last year we filled out mad-lib type cards that were included in the song and even that year Zac seemed a bit annoyed that we hadn't filled them out correctly even though no directions had really been given. This year Zac, and I don't know if he was on a strict time limit, said "clap like this" and two seconds after we started he kind of dismissed us in a "Never mind, I'll just do it" sort of way and it continued that way until the end. Between that and the constantly laughing at everything Zac says or does, even when he'd tell us multiple times not to laugh ( I know it's own fault), I was done and over the whole thing.
Highlights: I will always enjoy listening Hanson talk, I could listen to them for hours. Ike's lecture was pure gold, and there was moment in Zac's lecture where he made a joke about his mother (who was in the audience) being dead and it was the only time I've ever heard a Hanson be booed. It was hilarious!
Dance Party: The Dance Party which is the same idea from The Roots of Rock tour: Hanson Fans dance while Taylor Hanson DJ's. Last year this was a lot fun, especially since Taylor got drunk and said like 15 minute goodbye speech, the dance always seemed like a perfect last hurray on tour and at the end of every Hanson Day, so it was little strange to have it thrown in the middle of Hanson Day weekend and I kept forgetting when it was supposed to happen. I didn't like this years' venue (The Vangard) as much Cains, it simply did not have enough space. Hanson Fans poured out from every corner, I was sure the Fire Marshall was going to shut us down at any moment. At one point I felt like such a sardine, that I almost left early, instead I retreated upstairs where I could sit and dance without injuring another person. I think most fans are over the whole dance party or maybe it was too uncomfortable because about an hour in, there was definitely more room to move on the floor.
Highlights: Taylor playing "In the City" it seemed to awaken the crowd. Taylor not playing "Another One Bites the Dust" which he accidently played 6 times last year and is now on going joke in this fandom. My friend asked if was going to play it, right before he left the stage and he looked her dead in the eyes, gave her a flat NO and didn't return, he also ended the night with a ballad, which just killed the energy in the room, it was weird and so Taylor.
State of Band: Honestly, I can't remember what day this took place because I always get it confused with the Lectures or think they are one and same. This year it felt rushed and Hanson was late getting started( the State of Band: LATE). The Moeys this year, seemed less interesting than last but I had quite few friends win a Moey. I was sad that my friend Morgen didn't win "Cover Song", I was looking forward to her belting out a Hanson song, Opera- Style!
Hanson had three big announcements:
- We would be getting a New Christmas Album this year but no new studio album.
- There will be new World tour next year.
- The new EP Play, would be released on Vinyl, which I was so excited about before I found out it costs a 150 dollars and there would be no CD version. I have stupidly purchased this, I can't wait until it comes!
Hanson raffled off the Trip to Back to the Island, which I did not win thankfully because I left my ticket in my hotel room. No one had told me when the announcement would take place, I thought they were just going to post it online. They answered about 3 questions and then they up left with hardly a goodbye. Taylor said like "We'll be back, soon!" which confused half the fan base, how soon was soon (a common problem Hansonland), he meant soon at the concert.
Highlight: They raffled off the cardboard cutout of Hanson, and evidently Ike's wife is in love with his cardboard self. I would really like to know how it travelled home with someone and what that cutout is doing now, is just a permanent coat rack in someone's home or is used daily to scare relatives?
The Concert: This was not my favorite Hanson Day concert, I loved all the new songs from Loud and new songs from Play sound like they are going to be a amazing. Hanson recorded us for the EP and this hindered my ability to be fully immersed in the music. I always appreciate being included in any Hanson project, but this year the act of getting my singing parts right, took me out of the moment. Next year, I wouldn't mind if they did away with Fan recording, at least for a few years and it could come back fresh and exciting.
As an American Fan, I was a bit disappointed in the setlist, after the EP. I say American because we indeed get spoiled living in the same country as the band, and the set list was a mix of classic Hanson songs, and there is nothing wrong with that but it was not what I had come to expect out of Hanson Day concert, I hoping for that little extra rare moment, that only happens at a Hanson Day concert, the one thing that makes it different from just a Hanson concert. In the past, I've heard the National Anthem, Hanson singing Breaktown before it was released, weird songs made up on the spot, and Zac and Taylor playing the Drums at the same time on Rollercoaster Love, which to this day is still one most awesome things I've ever witnessed! This year the moment didn't come and I know I wasn't the only fan that was disappointed. This didn't mean I didn't have amazing time, I always do but frankly, I miss when the concerts were held in two small sessions, I always left those feeling like I just witness something one-kind and once in lifetime but I know one large concert makes sense for the ever-growing Hanson Day attendance.
Highlight: Hanson Concert, enough said.