My friend Amy and I headed down to LA Saturday to see one of my favorite bands perform at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney–Hanson. I know, Hanson? I first started
becoming obsessed with listening to Hanson when I was about 10 and discovered who they were through one of those teeny bopper magazines I used to love to read. Well, actually, I first thought they were girls from the pictures, but it was an easy confusion at that point! I ended up buying their CD, collecting merchandise–including eggo waffle containers–plastering their pictures all over my wall, and finally went to my very first concert at Shoreline Amphitheater in San Francisco, beginning what become a life interest/obsession.
The concert this weekend marked the 6th time I have seen Hanson live, and each show has been such an awesome experience. The last time I saw them live, also at the House of Blues in Anaheim, I was chosen to be the “reporter” for the show, and was given the opportunity to participate in a meet and greet, interview, and take photos of the band. Needless to say, this concert definitely brought back those amazing memories!
This picture hangs on my wall in my bedroom in memory:
As part of my responsibilities, I also had to write an article for the Hanson.Net website that described the interview and concert experience. I couldn’t find it on the website anymore, but check it out if you’re interested!
C r a z y B e a u t i f u l
A Review of Hanson at House of Blues, Anaheim, CA
The Walk Tour 11/02/07
In July 1997, I attended my first ever concert—Hanson at Shoreline Amphitheatre in San Francisco. That concert marked the beginning in a very long journey, transforming me from an obsessed pre-teen, greedy to get my hands on anything Hanson, to a more mature fan, appreciative of a band that truly dedicates themselves to the music itself and the message behind it. And as long as they continue to write such soulful, feel good music, I will be there with my full support. Part of this support includes being a Hanson.Net fan club member—support that allowed me to be the reporter for the November 2nd concert at the House of Blues. What follows is an account of my experience…
I met my fellow meet and greeters at 4:45pm in front of the House of Blues ticket booth, as planned prior to our arrival. After exchanging names and a few Hanson stories, the tour manager arrived to lead us into the House of Blues, and subsequently, into the meet and greet area. I lead the first group through the door and was immediately greeted by Isaac, Zac, and Taylor. After shaking hands and introducing myself, I settled in back behind the group to allow the meet and greet girls their time with the band and to try my best to capture their excitement with my digital camera. I then took the group picture and the first group was ushered back out into the HOB lobby. The next group entered and nearly the same events ensued. After the final group exited, the tour manager took my picture with the band, with me on toes in between Isaac and Zac as to not look vertically challenged. It was finally time for my real work to begin.
With Taylor at the head, I followed the band down to their lounge area where the interview would be held. Taylor’s wife, Natalie and son, Ezra were quickly escorted out of the room by their husband/father, respectively, so the interview could commence. I took my seat in a faded brown loveseat to the right of Zac, left of Isaac and directly across from Taylor. While I retrieved my notebook and pen from my backpack, Zac, trying to make small talk, asked me where I was from as Taylor and Isaac quietly munched on the veggies in the platters placed on the coffee table; as soon as I located my notebook, it was time to begin. After quickly glancing at my interview questions to refresh my memory, I asked:
On Wednesday, you were honored at the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval and given then keys to the city. What was it like to be honored for your efforts in something you truly believe in?
With an instantaneous interjection, Zac playfully informs me that they were also given a plaque and honored with an official ‘Hanson Day’ declaration, among other awards. He, on a more serious note, continues to say, “the bigger thing is seeing people turn out”. The people he refers to are the dedicated Hanson fans who volunteer to take ‘The Walk’ before each show (to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic in Africa) and support the band in their numerous endeavors. Taylor adds that the band wishes to inspire a way of activism in their fans—they hope to transfer the same dedicated support they receive from their fans to a support a greater cause. Isaac laments about the failures of current celebrity endorsements, making the point that it takes more than just putting your face with a cause to make a difference in the world.
Obviously, you guys appeared in costume of the celebration. Is there any hidden meaning or message behind your costume choices?
Again, Zac commences the band’s response. He, showcasing his normal twenty-two year old male tendencies, explains that he already had a light saber and an Anakin hairstyle so dressing up as the Jedi seemed natural. However, when asked if his light saber was indeed true Anakin color, he regrettably informs me that although the color was correct, the overall light saber was that of Obi Won Kenobi. Taylor, who dressed as Elvis, replies, “Who wouldn’t want to be the king?” Teasing, Isaac says that he was a pirate because he is the drunken one of the group. Overall, the simple answer to the question was: it was fast and it was easy.
I’ve heard you mention in previous interviews that part of the reason you decided to partner with TOMS shoes was to eliminate the middleman needed when donating intangibles such as money. Do you think this is a problem with many current charities and why?
Taylor explains that he doesn’t think it is exactly a problem, however, “It’s going to be necessary for the way we approach charity to change”. We need to focus on our generation’s issues, he continues. People want to know what you are going to do with their money or their support—it does not feel ‘real’ unless they can grasp a tangible outcome. We are witnessing a push into a “new wave” of charities that offer tangible responses such as TOMS Shoes. Large corporations, Isaac interjects, cannot afford to approach charity work this way because of their stockholder dependency. On a personal level, Zac preaches: “As individuals, you can be the leader. You don’t have to be successful to give”. As an independent band in the music industry, Zac continues, they are able to capitalize on their independence to support causes they truly believe in. Interrupting, Isaac concludes with saying we are in the middle of a humanitarian crisis—something must be done before the AIDS virus spirals out of control.
As an English major, I have to ask–Have you read any books lately that impacted you in any way or that you really enjoyed?
“Kurt Vonnegut”, responds Taylor after some thought. He is also currently reading Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World by Craig and Marc Kielburger that stresses the importance of a global community. Isaac replies with two authors: J.D. Salinger and Nick Horny; both of which he concludes, are slightly nauseating and chauvinistic and contain unlikeable characters but overall, are greatly humorous. Lastly, Zac informs me that he just started reading Harry Potter—he decided to start after becoming intrigued by the last movie (Previously, he did not want to read the books because nothing could compare to “Gandalf” and the Lord of the Rings). This sparks an interesting digression as Taylor interjects with the J.K. Rowling’s recent confession of Dumbledore’s homosexuality. The brothers all seem puzzled at why she has chosen to release this information at the conclusion of the series.
As silence once again grips the room, I inform the band that I have no more questions to ask so Taylor says he will find the tour manager so I can be escorted back to the main room of the HOB. I start to rise but am brought back to my seat as Zac asks me if I brought anything to be signed. I take out my ticket to the show and we make small talk about my schoolwork and life plans as they take turns signing my memento. After they finish, I thank them all for such a wonderful opportunity and Taylor escorts me out of the room to the hallway in which I am to wait for the tour manager. As I wait, one of the stagehands insists I help myself to the potluck style dinner backstage. I attempt to politely decline, but recognizing the futility of it, I resign and help myself to a plateful of caesar salad. As we eat, Zac enters the hallway and we strike up a conversation about nutrition and exercise, with Zac of the impression that as long as you exercise, you can eat just about anything you like. The tour manager then appears, and eager to eat his share of the dinner, quickly shows me the way back to the concert area. I attempt to ask him for a photo pass but he hastily informs me that he will take care of that later. This, however, never happens and I am forced to take pictures from my spot in the audience, until, regrettably, my camera is taken away by a forceful yet understanding security guard for the remainder of the show.
Around 8pm, the opening act Frequency Five takes the stage to begin a, well, interesting set: one of the lead singers (there are two) proceeds to perform pelvic thrusts throughout the performance while the other seems to belong in a Disneyland faux performance group. The band performed a forty-five minute set to Hanson fans who were quite receptive at first but anxious to move on to the headliner.
Soon after 9pm, the real show begins—Hanson, clad in TOMS shoes, takes the stage amid hundreds of screaming fans. The band opens with a high energy Great Divide followed by the classic Where’s The Love. Highlights of the show include the soulful Been There Before, acoustic I’ve Been Down, Lost Without Each Other, and Something Going Round. And of course, the show would not be complete without a rendition of their Grammy nominated song, MMMBop, a particular crowd pleaser as 2007 marks the 10th anniversary of their debut album, Middle of Nowhere. The brothers return to the stage for the encore with an energy driven Ugly Truth, ending with pianist Taylor jumping off his piano. Hanson then pauses to once again emphasis the importance of their current activism work and the fight against AIDS not just in Africa but also around the world. After they finish speaking, the brothers group together to bring the concert full circle, concluding with the beautifully harmonized chorus of Great Divide:
I find hope and it gives me rest
I find hope in a beating chest
I find hope in what eyes don’t see
I find hope in your hate for me
Have no fear when the waters rise
We can conquer this great divide
Thank you Hanson and Hanson.Net for this truly once in a lifetime opportunity.