Hanson in Anderson, IN

This year Hanson have been doing a lot of “one-off” shows – as in a show here and there in a (seemingly) random location and not as a part of  a full tour.  They all seemed to be at casinos too, but that’s the norma for me with 2 of our major concert venues being in casinos here.  But this casino had one of the weirdest set ups and seating charts I think I’ve ever seen.  Turns out, one of my friends had gone to college in Anderson, IN and I had spent the night in IN once but wasn’t counting it as a state I had visited and had that Friday off work so we made a deal that if we could get tickets in one of three rows in the center section, we’d go.  Somehow after we probably should have given up with a nightmare of a presale I came through and gotten 4 seats in our 3rd choice row.  The venue is usually used for viewing horse races so the stage was only really close to a couple of sections but the room was VERY wide.

I left most of the planning to my friend as she was familiar with the area. I got picked up at the airport and we headed to The Lemon Drop a little hole in the wall burger joint for lunch. They had a train going around and a weird message on their sign outside that took us WAY too long to realize what they meant. We hung out at our hotel for a bit, drove around the campus of her college (that took about 5 minutes lol) and decided to head to the casino.  I played for maybe 30 mins and only lost $5 so not all bad.   Then it was finally show time…

Our seats were 7th row, but there was an aisle between us and the rows in front of us.  Now that Zac has taken over as front man for the time being, he has been walking through the crowd playing cowbell – I figured this would be the perfect spot for if that happened – and sure enough during Fired Up he walked right past! (And wasn’t too far away when he did a second lap as well)   I seemed to figure out the perfect set up for this show since I had no chair in front of me to hold on to – I stood for 30 mins, sat for 30 mins (where I could still see Taylor most of the time) and then rocked out for the last 30 minutes!  It was a really fun show!

After the show we were going to go to a 24 hour donut shop because before the show, post show donuts seemed like a GREAT idea.  After the show though… real food seemed like a better idea.  I guess Hanson had the same idea because as I marched into the restaurant excited to see they had a TouchTunes jukebox, I was stopped in my tracks when I spotted that Isaac, Taylor & Crew were *also* there.  We had some secondhand embarrassment when the jukebox started playing MMMBop (turns out it was the manager on duty who did it!) but we took over and played some *NSYNC, Aqua, and Jon McLaughlin (who is from Anderson!)  We were going to just leave them alone, but as they were leaving even the restaurant staff was asking for photos so we figured we might as well join in.

Saturday we finally hit up the donut place, went to Muncie for some Thai and then the campus coffee shop. Then it was time for me to head back to the airport for my whirlwind trip to come to an end.  But I added a new state AND discovered Airport Sherpa at BWI which is *amazing* I usually don’t eat because lugging my stuff through the airport to find a place to eat can be difficult. With Airport Sherpa, you pick one of the airport restaurant that is partnered with them, and for a delivery fee, someone picks up the meal and brings it to you.  GAME. CHANGER. (Z896987K is my referral code if you want to give it a go! I am not sure where it is at other than BWI at the moment but I do hope it expands!)

But it was a great trip, I hit my 3rd new state for the year (I had 2 each of the past 2 years) and I am now at 27/50 and I think 23 or 24 that I have seen Hanson in!

Rhode Island Comic Con

After a couple of successful years at RICC, we had decided we would skip this year and use the funds to go to LeakyCon instead since it was an all Harry Potter related con.  When RICC added Evanna Lynch (Luna from HP) we figured we’d try to go one day to meet her… but once they added James & Oliver Phelps (Weasley twins) and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) we were all-in for the full weekend.

Friday

We didn’t have too much to do on Friday, as it was a short day and not all of the guests would be there.  I did the Weasleys team up photo and we went to see the panel “Richard Dreyfuss: A Legendary Career Retrospective”  We were happy that they had a new moderator, but the panel was not all what we were expecting.  The moderator asked him what he didn’t want to answer and he said Jaws was off the table – he knows everything about Jaws and any question about Jaws he has heard before – but if you had something he hadn’t heard before he’d give you $10.  If not, you’d have to give him $10.  He also went on a… rant? about Civics no longer being taught in schools and he is writing a book about it that should be out soon. *shrug emoji*  Not quite at all what we were expecting and we hoped that didn’t set the theme for the rest of the con.

Saturday

We had a pretty packed schedule for Saturday and our only potential conflict – with the Stranger Things panel being the same time as Elijah Woods.  Once we found out that you needed to get there early to get a wristband for Stranger Things we decided to sleep in, roll up a little later and just go to Elijah’s panel.  We had 3 straight panels starting at noon – but didn’t figure into our sleeping in plan that the parking garage may have been full!  We had to park at the Providence Place Mall which actually worked out ok as it was not a long walk and we were starting and ending our day at the Omni Hotel which was closest to the mall!

Our first panel was “Catherine Tate: A Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Career”.  She had no moderator and just fielded the questions herself and chatted about her career.  I don’t really know who she is but my friend I was with wanted to see her but she was very entertaining.   Our second was “Saved By The Bell Reunion: A Trip Back to Bayside” and was supposed to be Mark Paul Goselaar and Elizabeth Berkley, but Elizabeth canceled at the last minute so it was just MPG.  Front row in front of him was almost too much for me to handle.  He even did a tumble tuck and roll onto the stage after (purposely?) tripping up the stairs.  He had a moderator who really knew his SBTB stuff and it was really entertaining that MPG remembered next to nothing from the series.  Next up was “John Barrowman: A Hero, A Villain, A a Hero Again.”  This was the first panel we were told no photos for and we were BUMMED.  But John took the mic from the side of the stage and said his fans could take all the photos and videos they would like!  He also had no moderator, was absolutely hilarious and sooo much fun. He even sang A Thousand Years to end the panel.  He went over time and we had a little bit of time to get to the convention center for my Evanna Lynch photo op.  We were rushing, got up to the top of the elevator and were blocked by… John Barrowman.  Would have loved to briefly chat with him – but just had to say excuse me so we could hustle to the NIGHTMARE that was photo ops. You had to enter the complete other end of the room, get past the massive Saturday crowds only to find a wall of 800 people you have to push through to get in line.  Fortunately I made it in time – but wanted to put on a different shirt and didn’t have time for that.  Oh well.   Then we had about an hour to kill before a photo with Christina Ricci, so we wandered around a bit and then made it through the masses AGAIN for the next photo.  Things were running behind and were SO unorganized but fortunately it all worked out and I ended up first through to meet her and she was so sweet!

With some more time to kill before our last panel, we went and got Gaten’s autograph and Mark Paul Gosselaars.  I couldn’t even speak to him but got an autograph and a photo with him. I guess better to not speak at all then say something stupid.  “Beyond the Shire with Elijah Wood” was in the smaller room (with Stranger Things in the bigger one) which was maxxed out in occupancy.  It also was only 30 mins instead of 45 like the bigger panels and it was just not enough time!  He was adorable and funny though and I just love him.  Then it was time to leave our busiest day.

Sunday

We started Sunday by going to meet Evanna Lynch. Then we had to hustle back over to the hotel and didn’t make it in time for close seating for “Growing Up On Camera: Q&A with Christina Ricci” but made it into her panel just the same (more no photos)  She was sweet and so fun to listen to talk about her career.   After leaving Christina we went to “Puppet Party: A Sunny Day in the Smallest State” which ended up with everyone crying because Carroll Spinney (Big Bird, Oscar) had retired from Sesame Street earlier and was now retiring from Cons.  Who knew that the Sesame Street panel would be the one to make us cry?  Then we did a GREAT job getting the rest of the signatures we needed – Catherine Tate, Bonnie Wright, James & Oliver Phelps (who were SO sweet and chatty.)   Some of these autographs I mention might just be featured in the Fanthropy Running Club’s Yule Ball Auctions soon… 😉 😉 Bid on them for a good cause!  Then we made it to the “Avada Kdavra! Wizarding 101 in Harry Potter” which was a great way to close out the weekend!

Wish photos were allowed even for the first minute during the later panels so I’d have something for my scrapbook – last year RICC posted some photos and I snagged those but I haven’t seen anything posted yet 🙁  Next year is already scheduled but not an off Friday so I guess I’ll have to see if I can save a vacation day or if I’ll be ok to just do 2 days based on the guest announcements!

Hanson at Caesars

At the end of October, Hanson played a show in Atlantic City. This was my 209th Hanson show, but probably one of the most different shows I had seen!  A few weeks before the show, Zac was in a motorcycle accident and broke several bones, leaving him in a sling and unable to play the drums.  Rather than canceling the show, they had Dash Hutton come along to play the drums and put Zac center stage to sing, play tambourine and rock out on cowbell.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but Zac gave it his all and was having a blast! He even walked through the crowd playing cowbell during a song! (And dropped his mic during a song as well!)  The setlist was pretty similar to what they have been playing recently – but switched out Juliet (where Zac sings lead and played piano) for one of my favorites, Musical Ride, where Zac sing lead (and usually drums).  I am not sure if Zac will be up front or not for my next show next week, but the sling is gone and it seems like my December shows will have things back to normal  – but I’m not sure I am ready to give up on the fun that is Zac as the frontman so soon!

Mat Kearney Ridgefield Playhouse

Mat Kearney came back to CT for his City of Black and White tour in Ridgefield at the end of October. I did the VIP experience which got me a poster, exclusive vinyl and a m&g with Mat. He came out and sang “Learning to Love Again” just him and his guitar and told us a bit about the writing of the song and chatted a bit with the group. Throughout his set he also told some of the background of his life and the songs which I really enjoyed. This seems to be the norm on acoustic tours which probably explains why I have been enjoying to go to so many this year! He teased a bit about CT and geography and how the area was so bougie and we must take helicopters to work and how easy it is to get from state to state because he is from the west coast where you drive for days and are in the same state!

(Just have to note his opener was Eli Teplin and he went to do a song about Curious George on guitar and it was not coming through the sound system so he stepped away from the mic and did it all with no amplification and completely rocked it when he otherwise could have given up and did something else and that was worth mentioning!)

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Leaky Con Boston

In early October, LeakyCon 10 made its return to Boston, MA. I had never done a leaky con before, but heard it was an absolute must do so my friend and I decided we would skip RICC this year and do Leaky instead.  As the event drew near, we weren’t sure if we made the right choice. (RICC had Luna, The Weasley Twins and Ginny Weasley added as guests.)  Leaky Con had Percy Weasley, Jacob Kowalski, Vicktor Krum, Lee Jordan and Blaise Zambini.  A lot of the panels seemed to be on fan theories which wasn’t really our cup of tea.  But we had made our decision and had to stick with it.  Our expectations were pretty low for the event.

Friday we weren’t sure what to expect with check in.  We had asked for our tickets to be mailed to us, but there was a mix up and they weren’t so our shipping fees were refunded and we had to pick them up instead.  There were only a couple people in line in front of us, so that worked out quite well.   Our first panel was Spotlight: Stanislav Yanevski.  I also did photo ops with Stan and Chris.  (Fun story – I was first for Chris and the camera wasn’t working.  Photo Ops usually are quick and you just get to say “hi and bye” but because they were trying to get the camera connected we had more time.  The photog said to hang tight while she fixed it and Chris said “Its ok we can stand here and cuddle” and we had a bit of a chat about where I lived and how he went through CT on the train on the way to/from NYC and that he’d be going to NYC on Sunday!  And Chris was a photo op I added at the last second because I’d be meeting so many other Weasleys at RICC… yeah. We’re going to that too.)   We missing the Louis Cordice panel because of the Chris photo op.  And opted to leave before the Wizard Rock Concert.

Saturday we had just about nothing planned.  We did the Spotlight: Wizarding World Actors panel which was supposed to only include the HP actors but Dan Fogler joined in on as well.  We hung out with Potterhead Running Club (and went to a meetup with them for dinner!) and wandered the marketplace looking for cool cosplay outfits! No photos for Saturday either – but Luke Youngblood (Lee Jordan) stopped by the running club booth! Too cool!

By Sunday we were exhausted! We did back to back panels – Spotlight: Luke Youngblood and MuggleCast Live! with Chris Rankin.  We missed Dan Fogler’s spotlight because by the time it was time to go to it, we didn’t want to move.  I did a photo with Dan and we did one last panel – Using Our Magic to Make the World Awesome which featured Brian from Potterhead Running Club as well as several others. It was very interesting and maybe we should have considered more fan panels – but maybe next time!

I think going in with no expectations left us pleasantly surprised – now we are trying to figure out how many other HP actors we are missing that go to cons… hmm. Seamus and Dean? Neville? (RICC, you ready for next year? lol)

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Carrie Underwood Foxwoods Grand Theater

Carrie Underwood has been hitting up large arenas on her Cry Pretty 360 tour. When I saw she was going to be coming to Foxwoods but in a more intimate setting, I knew I had to try and get tickets. I didn’t think I was going to end up breaking the bank and landing myself a 2nd row ticket, but it is what it is! By the time the show rolled around – I was tired. I had Haley the night before and had to be at work bright and early the day after so I was very happy when they said not only would the show be starting at 7:30 – there would be no openers and it would only be running 90 minutes versus her usual 120 minutes. Yay! Even with grabbing merch after the show I ended up leaving the parking lot before 10pm! The first 3 rows ended up allowed to go up to the barricade but I opted to stay in my seat as I’d have been farther away down the barricade. I’m not sure what fancy tricks she has up her sleeve for the 360 tour but this was just her, the band and her voice, no fancy anything. And it was great! Although there was a string of songs that were a bit too sad to be all in a row like that! When the show was almost done, she called a fan up on stage to rap during The Champion. She was sitting just a few seats behind me and did a great job! From what I can tell, her set was very close to the 360 set – just missing the medley – which from talks from fans around me who had gone to other shows, she did those with the openers and they weren’t there! I’m really excited to scrapbook this show – in addition to some great pics I think I pretty much nailed the tour logo cut out and got some eye gems from the merch booth to really bring it all together. I know I haven’t posted scrapbook pages in years, but maybe I will catch up at some point!

 

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Haley Reinhart Fairfield Theater

When I saw that Haley Reinhart was coming to the Fairfield Theater, I was pretty pumped.  She was one of my favorites that season of Idol (and the only one the whole house agreed on being great!) and I hadn’t seen her since I had gone to the Idol tour 2 times the year they toured.  When I found out that Tyler Hilton was going to be opening the show I was even more excited because I love any chance I can get to see Tyler!  Before the show I was in the parking lot and heard “When the Stars Go Blue” from a busker near the train station.  It turned out, Tyler heard too and stepped out of his RV to cheer (and later go see him to record some videos for Tyler’s Instagram)  How cool!  Tyler did a shorter set than I am used to since he was opening and is usually the headliner in Fairfield.  It is always interesting to see how artists change their banter based on if they know everyone is there to see them or if they are trying to win them over.  I don’t think I ever heard his story about his roommates in Nashville quitting their office job to pursue music full time and ending up forming Lady Antebellum!  I knew they had a connection but somehow had never pieced it all together!  Before Haley’s set I did the VIP M&G experience and she did 2 songs for us – Honey There’s the Door and Shook.  Then she signed merch for us and did photos.  Just as sweet as I remembered from when I met her on the Idol tour!  I was kind of mesmerized by her nail polish when she was on stage because it was red, but when the lights hit it, it had this iridescent chameleon color change look to it.  I don’t know if that was how it was supposed to react to lighting or just a cool thing that was happening.  This was Haley’s first show of this part of her tour so we got a couple songs that had never been done live before! She did a 14 song set and a 3 song encore! The majority from her latest release – Lo-Fi Soul (It is the Lo-Fi Soul Tour, after all) and a few from her other releases as well.  I just love how she re did several covers to fit with her bluesy/jazzy sound! Just an amazing, amazing voice and I am surprised she isn’t more popular and on bigger stages – but I guess her style is a bit niche.  Hopefully she will come back this way again soon!

Haley Reinhart Setlist StageOne, Fairfield Theatre Company, Fairfield, CT, USA 2019

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Kris Allen at Stage One

October 5th Kris Allen brought his 10 years, 1 night tour to the Fairfield Theater. I had purchased the VIP M&G package so we got to have a little Q&A with Kris before the show and also try to “stump” him with the song requests. We were told to try and pick something that would not be on the set later that night – but as I was trying to be surprised with what his set was, I had no idea what was and what wasn’t on the set. Some of the other fans conspired together to pick the same stumpers – so we ended up getting Out Alive and Fighters. My choice was Faster Shoes – but it did end up on the setlist that evening! He hung out for a bit and we got photos with him and then we had some time to kill before it was showtime. I ended up going for front row this show instead of my usual 3rd row (no stairs to deal with) and at the end of the show a young girl asked if I was ok and if I needed help getting up the stairs. I declined, but thanked her for checking in. Later I saw her and her family chatting with Kris at the merch table and she seemed absolutely embarrassed of them. They may embarrass her, but they definitely raised a nice young lady! (None of the adults around asked if I needed help!) The show was just Kris – no opener and no backing band. He also told some stories in between the songs – sometimes about the songs themselves or about other things in his 10 year career since winning Idol. (Has it really been 10 years? We are old…) His setlist was 19 songs and I thought he did a great job taking us through not only some of his Idol songs but through all of his albums to present day. His new album is called “10” and has 9 tracks on it – he said that was on purpose because there is still more to come!! After the show I picked up a CD version of the album and had a chat with him about the name Katie vs the name Katy and how I am Kathryn and should spell it Katy and his wife is Katherine and spells it Katy not Katie so we somehow balance each other out in being backwards. He asked if I wanted a photo and I said “well, we got one earlier, I don’t think we changed much?” His merch guy let out a laugh and Kris said, “Well I sweat a little?” but ultimately we just said our goodbyes and did not take another photo. (Nothing will top the one we took a few years ago and someone mistook us for a married couple when I had it on my facebook. It’s on my dating app profiles now – maybe that’s why I’m not getting many dates?)

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Andy Grammer and Ridgefield Playhouse

On October 2, Andy Grammer returned to the Ridgefield Playhouse. It was my I think 3rd time seeing him there, 5th time over all. The show started with something I hadn’t seen before – with an opening act (for the opening act) who did spoken word poems. Different, but yet, it worked. Opening Act Nightly was from Nashville and a fun 3-piece band.

When it was time for Andy’s set to start, our attention was drawn to he balcony. He also started with a spoken word poem and then went into his new album’s title track, Naïve. I hadn’t really had a chance to listen to Andy’s latest album (despite a copy of it coming with the tickets) but his set was a mix of new and old and all wonderful songs with a few stories mixed in – one was about how he spoke with a psychic and his mother ordered a song from him through the psychic asking for a song that would be all the things she would say to Andy’s daughter if she was there. He wanted to give it a Paul Simon Graceland feel because that was her favorite album – and he got in the car only to find out that the tribe on that album would be in LA – and he got them to record on the song with him! So Serendipitous! He also had an audience member come up and talk about difficulties and overcoming them – Jill spoke about coming to terms with her mother’s illness and not taking the good times with her for granted. Opening poet Sean came back out and the two came up with a poem/song on the spot about it which was pretty cool to see! This show felt a little bit like a therapy session as well and that may have been just what I needed! After the show we waited outside the venue and were able to say a quick hello and thanks to Andy and get a photo with him!

Andy Grammer Setlist The Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT, USA 2019

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Hawaii!

When Hanson announced they were doing a show in Hawaii, I knew I had to go, even if I had to race back after the show for a personal commitment the following weekend. A few friends also were in on the trip so we booked an Airbnb and all were coming in and leaving on different days. I found a decently priced flight from JFK that was direct and about 10 hours. I opted for the cheaper economy seat, but wasn’t a fan of having my backpack under my feet the whole trip and decided to rethink that for the way home.

When I landed, I had to wait for my rollator (my first time traveling with it) and someone came with a wheelchair and then left when I said I was waiting for the walker. By the time it came, everyone else was long gone and I had no idea where I was going. Turns out they have shuttles but I completely missed that and started walking. I had plenty of time to kill as 2 friends were off on a tour and the other friend didn’t land for another couple of hours, so whenever I got to the Airbnb I got there. And then a guy came up and asked if he could help me. I told him no, I was fine (I had my backpack on and carry on sitting on the seat of the walker and was perfectly ok with that set up and had made it through JFK no problem that way earlier) but he insisted – and grabbed the bag off my walker to help me. Then tried telling me I needed to go with him to Kona. Fortunately he was walking at my pace and I was trying to figure out how to outsmart him because there was no way I’d physically be able to get my bag back from him. We wandered around for a bit – I kept telling him I was ok and he could go to security for his flight, but he kept saying no and asking me the same questions over and over “Where are you from?” “Do you live here?” his name was Joey and he was from Alaska and he was DRUNK. Which made me a little bit at ease because I could totally outsmart a drunk guy. Finally he asked security where there was an elevator and I must’ve had a look on my face that showed him that I was in distress because HE told the guy to give me my back and let me get on the elevator and that where he needed to go was elsewhere. We finally got out of the elevator and I started walking for a taxi only to find out Uber/Lyft were on the next level up, Joey saw me looking at a sign and came back out towards me but I booked it to the elevator and got away from him. My favorite was when he asked me if I had added him on Facebook yet. My phone has been hiding in my pocket this entire time and all I know is your first name and what state you are from – and now I am not getting to add my attempted kidnapper as a friend.

Tuesday another group of friends were coming in and the rest went to hike a waterfall, so I spent half the day getting acquainted with our AirBnB. I went to meet them to get added as a driver to the rental car – even though I wasn’t sure my plan to head off anywhere alone was going to happen because Joey had ruined that for me. We were hoping to head to a beach to see the sunset, but somehow a quick trip to the parking garage to drop the car off turned into a 2 hour saga that fortunately had a happy ending. We finished the day with birthday sushi – and I tried a couple pieces of tuna and enjoyed it. (But had rice for the majority of my meal)

Wednesday was our big day and when we woke up to see it was raining we were very concerned about our luau that evening. We headed off to breakfast of malasadas (if youre going to try a filled one – be very careful as they SQUIRT! We learned that one the hard way) which is a Portuguese donut. They weren’t bad but I’m not sure it was what we were expecting. (Fillings were a bit bland.) Then we got to Pearl Harbor where I fell in a puddle and the guy who helped me up felt the need to touch my butt. (This trip wasn’t shaping out to be very great so far) It was raining, but we were able to get on the boat and see the Arizona Memorial which had just re-opened earlier in the month. As soon as you entered you could smell the oil still leaking out of the ship. We googled and apparently it had been filled with 1.5 million gallons the day before the attack and leaks approximately 9 quarts a day – so 77 years later it is still leaking. I think that was just the most amazing/shocking thing. My (very tired) Math is telling me that it will leak for 1800 years following the attack.
Then it was time to get ready for our luau. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect and was told the food is just so-so at any of them. The Paradise Cove luau we chose seemed to have a nice location, a lot of pre-show activities and the food was not bad either! It was just sooooooooooo hot! But eventually the sun went down, the pig got roasted and we were able to eat and enjoy the show. It was a lot of fun!
Thursday morning I went to the pool, the Hard Rock Café (and got my largest hard rock bear to date) and then a dole whip! I also splurged and bought myself a plumeria ring. I headed back to the room, showered and went to hang out in line for the Hanson show. The venue said they could hold 1200 and 500 tickets were sold – but I snagged a spot in the back by the soundboard and it definitely seemed a lot more packed than that! (Although many cleared out once they played MMMBop!) The venue even had special Hanson in Hawaii posters – they were just giving away! So cool! The show was a typical festival set, but it was high energy and a lot of fun. After the show Taylor had an after party – where we mostly just hung out on a couch and people watched. After we had an after after party and ate some pizza rolls we had bought on a Costco run. Best idea ever? Best idea ever.
The next day I had to leave – my flight took off at 3pm Hawaii time and landed at 7am NYC time – and then I had to be off to a benefit that started at 10am. (Which I was 2 hours later for but it’s all good because I made it) I also saw that Pete Alonso tied the rookie HR record just before I boarded the flight so that was exciting – even if there were no Mets hats to be found. (Lots of Yankees though. Ughh.)

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