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Around Here, Setlist Voting is Serious Business


For this year’s Back to the Island, Hanson put up a setlist voting on December 12 with the vote ending on December 18th.  They had 2 polls – 1 had each of the tracks off of their 6 studio albums. The other had just under 50 of their Fan Club Members Only EP songs.  Fans were allowed to pick 10 songs off of each list and the ones with the most votes will be played at Back to the Island’s final show.

Back to the Island this year is in Cancun and will have 3 Hanson shows, a solo show from each Hanson and sets from David Ryan Harris and Nick Santino.  My goal is to always come back hearing some new tracks I’ve never heard live before.  From the lists they’ve posted, there are *7* potential candidates. (And I’m hoping a few more that weren’t on the voting list will pop up as well!)

As I mentioned, I take the voting quite seriously.  For the Members Only songs I knew that the approach I was going to take for my 10 votes was going to be to start with the songs I’ve never heard before. Which put me at 7 songs right off the bat.  With my other 3 votes I went with 3 songs that I have heard 1 time – this past Members Only Event in Tulsa.  I thought that those 3 would be fun to hear again.  My votes were for the following:

Beautiful Eyes
I Can’t Wait
Wait Here For You
All I Have To Give
Take My Time
Bad Solution
Ordinary Words
White Collar Crimes
Panic in the Streets
Show Me The Way

For the album songs, I had to take a different approach.  With the 5 of 5 concerts and last year in Jamaica the guys singing Anthem in its entirety – I have heard every album song at least once (as it turns out, I’ve actually heard them all at least twice.)  There were 16 that I had heard 5 times or less, so I took the majority of my votes from those, picking 7 that I’d like to hear again.  Then once again, I picked 3 others that I thought might be fun. (2 of the 3 were from the top 5 songs I’ve heard live – at least from the albums)  The songs I ended up going with are:

Lost Without You
Dying To Be Alive
Tearing It Down
Musical Ride
And I Waited
Minute Without You
Where’s The Love

It can probably be argued that I “wasted” the last 2 votes on the album songs since those 2 are pretty much staples – but after 30 minutes of spreadsheets, databases and much deliberation, I decided it was best not to over think what I was voting for and just get it done with.

Back to the Island kicks off TODAY so we will see once I get back how many of my choices ended up in the set lists for the event.


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Jamaica Trip: Solo Shows

An addition to this years back to the island event was that each member of the band, for the first time EVER, would be performing a solo set.  I wasn’t sure how to count this since I count all my Hanson shows – but I decided to count each one as 1/3 of a show – so all 3 combined would add 1 more show to the count.

First up was Taylor. It was raining a bit during his set so I didn’t get as much video as I would like because I was fearing for my cameras being out in the elements. Fortunately it didn’t rain too hard – but it would have been ok if it did since we were able to just go back to the room and change – unlike every other time I’ve gotten soaked at a concert.

Make It Out Alive
Kiss Me When You Come Home
When You’re Gone
Be My Own
Every Word I Say
Get Up And Go

The next day was Zac, and there has been some rumors and stuff going on about this show. I think everyone that wasn’t there assumed things happened that didn’t based on hearsay.  I did not think Zac was pissed off, I think he was teasing about trying to get everyone to sing louder and if they didn’t he would leave.  As far as ending his set by dropping the guitar near the amp – I think that was all for dramatic effect, not that he was pissed off.  (He did everything on his setlist so it’s not like he was coming through with his earlier ‘threat’)

This Is The Jam
Letters in the Mailbox
Chasing Down My Dreams
Fire on the Mountain
Broken Angel
I Am
Get So Low
Devils Nachos

The final night – they saved the best for last (his words.) and Isaac had his turn. I truly do think the solo sets got better as the event went along and Isaac had a great set! He talked a little bit about lyrics and did the longest set out of everyone.  He was also the first to repeat a song when he did Best of Times but I don’t think that anyone minded.

Minute Without You
So Lovely
More Than Anything
Call Me
Too Young To Kill
Best of Times

I ended up getting 1 new never before heard (by me) song from Zac and 2 from Isaac’s set.

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Jamaica Trip: Hanson Events

Each day, Hanson had their events that they did with the fans.  The first day depending on your color you were either with Zac or Isaac and the next day things were flip flopped.  The last night everyone had Taylor’s afterparty event at the same time.

We started off with Isaac’s trivia sessiona at 3pm our first full day at the island.  I was convinced I was going to win it – but damn the questions were hard!  There were 10 multiple choice questions for us to answer and Isaac did 3 head to head with fans for them to win a t-shirt if they beat him. (Or either way)  He had said that the next day the questions would be different so we figured we would hang out in the back and just keep track of everything (you never know what I might need to snag and use for Trivia Tuesday on Hansonstage…)  They seemed to be a bit easier the second day, or maybe the pressure was just off because we were playing for fun.  Matt Wertz also co-hosted the event – in nothing but his swim trunks.

The second morning we headed out to tie dye with Zac.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use my actual merchandise t-shirt or just a plain shirt I had bought because I was not very happy with what I ended up making last year. (Mostly due to the dye mixing and them not having cups) Last second I decided I might as well dye the Hanson shirt.  Zac gave demonstrations of 3 kinds of techniques and then went around and helped us with it. I twisted mine on my own but was afraid to pick it up to put the rubber bands on it.  Zac put the rubber bands on for me and said to use the grass so I wouldnt have to lift it.  I flipped it over and had some grass and even a twig caught in it lol  I decided to use Yellow, Pink and Blue and it came out really nice even with some purples and greens from colors mixing together.  WAY better than last years!

The final event for everyone was after the 3rd Hanson show. It was Taylor’s afterparty and it went until 2am! (Which kind of stunk considering the first buses to leave the resort were leaving at 6am and ours was leaving at 8:30am!)  Taylor played the jams and Zac joined him on stage.  Also joining them throughout the evening were their backup musicians as well as Paul and Matt.  We had no expectations after the dud of Taylor DJing at Mixtape Festival, but this was definitely a vast improvement. They were dancing and singing along and having a great time.  It was a lot of fun!


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Jamaica Trip: Hanson Show #3

The final Hanson show was the one we were voting on the setlist for.  They started off pretty good – You Never Know isn’t that rare, but it’s fun.  Ever Lonely as far as I know has been played only 1 time since it was a staple on their 1998 tour so that was a nice one to hear again (and one I did vote for despite it not being a song I hadn’t heard live!) and then they went in to Runaway Run which was another that I had heard but wanted to hear again.  Then they just continued to go through more and more songs – all from the albums.

My theory is that they took the highest Members EP songs and put them into that show 2 nights before and then took all the highest voted album songs and stuck them in for the final night because they are easier for them to play because they’ve played them more.  Although it did leave us all wondering “who voted for these songs?” during the set.  (And Crazy Beautiful and Thinking Bout Somethin were not even on the list!)

The guys had also said they would try their hardest to not repeat any songs.  With 3 full Hanson shows as well as each guy doing their own solo show – that was quite a feat.  This show did have repeats though – Thinking Bout Somethin’ was also done night #1, Every Word I Say was done during Taylor’s solo set and Best of Times was done during Night 2, Isaac’s set and the 3rd show – but they said it was ok because “Best of Times” became the unofficial theme of the event.

89 unique songs is quite impressive all the same. For the encore, they were joined by Paul McDonald, JP and Matt Wertz and sang Back to the Island (with lyrics taped to the stage) and then the final song was when they did Best of Times for the 3rd time of the trip.  It is such a great sing-a-long song.

After this show it was time for the afterparty – hosted by DJ Taylor… and that probably deserves its own post! 😉

You Never Know
Ever Lonely
Runaway Run
Can’t Stop
Crazy Beautiful
Strong Enough to Break
The Walk
Hand in Hand
Song to Sing
Been There Before
Great Divide
Thinking Bout Somethin
Give a Little
Penny and me
Watch Over Me
Every Word I Say
Man From Milwaukee
Lost Without Each Other
Back to the Island
Best of Times
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Jamaica Trip: Travel Day 1

DSC05860On January 10 it was time once again to make my way to Jamaica for Hanson’s “Back to the Island” event.  My flight was set to take off at 6am, so I had to get up and be out of the house by 3am to make sure I got there in time.  I arrived in plenty of time – as the security check point wasn’t even open yet.  But while I was sitting there waiting for the plane – it started to snow.  This wasn’t supposed to start until 6am, but here it was just after 5 and it had already begun!  I was on a mission to attempt to get an earlier flight – one that I was supposed to be on but then they swapped around flight times so I had less than half an hour to get it and American Airlines doesn’t allow layovers that short.   But when we got on the plane it was covered in snow and we were delayed an hour taking off due to waiting to be de iced.  I had paid to upgrade my seat so I could be off the plane earlier – but all that got me was yelled at by 2 flight attendants.  Typically I preboard as I am a bit slow to walk and get my stuff stowed, but they never called for pre-boarding so I went on with everyone else.  I needed some help getting my bag up and the flight attendant had a shoulder injury and couldn’t help.  Fortunately I found a guy who helped me stow the bag and pulled it down for me at the end of the flight.

We weren’t able to make up any time so we got in to Miami an hour later as well and the plane had already taken off and was in the air for 20 minutes when I got there.  My friend Kim was in the same boat and actually would have been able to get on the earlier flight because she had no delays in New Jersey but waited for me.  This time we were able to preboard and she got my bag stowed for me and then I would wait for her to get to my row to pull it down again.  My whole row was so empty for the longest time.  Until they had someone in a wheelchair and her daughter come in and sit next to me.  Of course, this meant that we had to wait for everyone to get off the flight before they could get her out in the wheelchair.  One of the flight attendants suggested I jump over the woman to get out of the row.  Yeah, that wasn’t going to be happening.  So Kim and I ended up being the last ones off the flight – but still had to wait in the customs line and all that anyway so it wasn’t too big of a deal.

Matt Wertz was on our flight and we chatted with him a bit while waiting for our shuttle.  They took me, Kim and 1 other girl and Matt asked about him going too – but by this time he was with Paul McDonald as well and there were 5 of them.  The shuttle guy asked how many they had and he said 5 and he said no, there wasn’t enough room.  So I was thisclose to riding to the resort with Matt and Paul but they ended up on a later shuttle.  Looking back – I should have stayed with them and got on a new shuttle because Kim ended up in the front of the bus and I ended up sitting on a jump seat which didn’t do my back any favors.

We got to the resort at about 7pm and then had to fill out our form… which was a different area if your roommate had already checked in.  Our form said the reservation was under “Hanson, Hanson” which I thought was kind of funny.  Then I got my room key and I was in the same room as last year so I took off… to find a way to get to the room without too many stairs.  As I was using my makeshift pool area railing one of the resort workers came and helped me get the bag to my room.  When I opened the door I heard Maribeth yell “YOURE HERE!” and then she told me she had the worst travel day ever.  I told her that I did too!

Turns out, her shuttle had a flat tire on the way there and the bus driver first kept going, then finally decided to stop, turned away a different bus that came to pick them up… and it took her FOREVER to get there and she had only been there about an hour when we thought she’d be there much, much earlier than that.  To top it off, they couldn’t find our reservation (AGAIN!) which is why our sheet said Hanson, Hanson on it.  AND when she went to check in for merch the 2nd year pins were already gone – not sure how that happens if you have a record of who was there last year and who wasn’t.

At that point we considered taking a nap before heading out to the show at 10pm but decided against it.

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Back To The Island – Day 4 and 5

On the 4th day of Back To The Island – Maribeth went snorkeling while I hung out in the lobby and played on the WiFi.  Hanson had announced they’d be doing it again next year and I was reading all the girls who were at home complaining because we got priority to book first and a discount.

We went to the beach for a bit and were going to go from the beach to the autograph signing, but ended up going back to the room when we noticed I was getting a bit burnt.  We changed out of our bathing suits and then found out that we were not only getting an autograph but we were doing PHOTOS WITH THE BAND as well.  Good thing we didn’t roll up in our bathing suits!

The funny thing at the M&G was – Isaac and Zac just kind of asked how I was doing but Taylor decided he was going to ask me if I was going to the show that night.  I kind of wish I had said no – but I said Yes in what I am sure was a confused tone.  Why would I pay all this money to fly to Jamaica and skip the last show? haha.  I know he just was trying to make small talk, but it was amusing.

Then we just kind of hung out until the last show… We decided to bring a chair mid-beach so I could be a bit closer.  Girls started standing on tables closer to the front completely blocking our view so we had the Island Gigs staff ask them to move.  Very frustrating that they had to be that close and standing, but they listened and moved off to the side.  I ended up standing behind my chair and hanging on to it for support once the show started though because more and more people were standing in front of us and not scrunched up towards the stage.

I also loaded up on glo sticks. Perhaps too many, but I wanted to use them all and not have to bring any home!

They did 2 new songs – their first single from the new album “Get The Girl Back” and another new one that Zc sings lead on called “You can’t Stop Us Now” which I absolutely am in love with.

During Give a Little they had 2 guys and a girl up on stage to dance and it was freaking hilarious. I wish I got it on video. Someone must have, I’ll have to track it down and post it because we were cracking up the whole time.

They were also joined by Warren Haynes for “Soul Shine” as well.

After the show we ended up waiting for the guys to come out from the “backstage” area. Isaac came out and a bartender asked for his autograph but Isaac didn’t have a pen – but guess who did? Oh right, me. So he borrowed my pen and then all 3 of the guys left a little while later.

Turns out they went to the piano bar, which Maribeth found out about when she was in the lobby for WiFi. I was in the shower so I missed out on most of the fun, but I did get to hear Zac singing from outside our door because they had opened the doors at the piano bar so at least I got to feel a little special! (And considering how crowded it was, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to get much closer anyway!)

Then next thing we knew it was time to have our bags outside our door so that we could take our shuttle. We went for breakfast, packed up our carry ons and I managed to break my leg brace… when the dresser tried to eat me. (Not looking forward to how much the replacement is going to be!)

But we made it to the airport and only got my bug spray confiscated. (Not sure how I got it there but couldn’t take it back, but that’s ok. I almost left it behind anyway!) then we had a few hours to kill at the airport.

The rides home were uneventful except that I definitely got a cold from SOMEONE on board… and then I made it home without a problem from the airport and was happy to have the next day off to relax!

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Back To The Island – Day 3

We kicked off Day 3 with tie dye with Zac.  The staff was hanging out when we got there and we were told to stay cool and they told us a bit about how no one paid any attention to them once Zac had come with the first session.  Zac showed us a couple of tie dye techniques and and then came around to each of the groups to see how we had done.  Tricia, one of the staff members, was helping Maribeth with her design and then taught Zac a new technique while he was with our group – which ended up in him draping his shirt over my shoe for the demonstration!

After Tie Dye we hung our shirts out to dry and then we went to hang out at the pool for a bit.  Then I ordered a wood carving of the Hanson symbol and then we went to the beach to hang out for a bit.  We saw some crabs at the beach too.

While Taylor and Isaac’s events were going on with the other session, we hung out in the lobby to snag some wifi and also to see if we could catch a photo with Taylor or Isaac when they were leaving / going to their sessions.  Of course, many others had the same idea and while some were successful, we were not, mainly because I am not aggressive enough.

Night 3 the show was Charlie Mars and Robert Schwartzman. We had hoped Robert would be on first, so we could catch his whole set, stay for maybe 1 Charlie song and peace out. Instead, Robert was at dinner with us so we knew that Charlie was on first. We actually timed it perfectly though because we heard maybe 12.5 Charlie songs and he was done and then we hung around for all of Robert’s set.

Isaac came on stage and did “Ain’t No Sunshine” with Rob and then they traded covers and did “Tell Me Why” which Rob knew and Isaac didn’t. It was interesting to see it all come together on stage!

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Back To The Island – Day 2

The second day we slept in until 11!  We also found out that our neighbor was Hanson’s backup player Demitrius.  (Later we found out their bass player William was also our neighbor)  We took a tour outside of our back door and one of the water sports guys showed us where some fish hang out.  We also spotted the nude beach – complete with a guy on it. Of course.

We went to lunch at the Reggae Cafe near our room and there was a cat with no eyes that sacred Maribeth.  We were going to make a stop at the pool but there was some light rain going on.  We went back in the room and waited for the rain to pass and saw that 2 lounge chairs outside our door were open so we went to hang out there – immediately spotting a crab in the water!

At 3 it was time to make our way over to cooking with Taylor.  We found a table that also had wifi, so that was exciting as I could “live tweet” what was going on.  Taylor was taught by the chef how to make a couple of things while we all watched.  Honestly of the 3 events we did, this one was the most boring.  They first made Jerk Chicken, then some salt fish and finally Taylor asked them how to fry plantains because he likes eating them and wanted to learn.

After that it was time for mixing drinks with Isaac.  To get in the mood we got strawberry daiquiris.  Isaac was hilarious and had to watch the bartender make a drink and then try and copy it.  It seemed to be a lot more interactive than the first event and Isaac was joking around, enjoying himself and enjoying the drinks.

Then it was time for the acoustic show – which has been dubbed “the show no one remembers” – uhh yeah.  We started in the back and I had one of the drinks that had been named the Isaac Hanson… then Maribeth found us a spot on the side of the stage right by Zac where we remained for the rest of the show.

Zac did another new song – the shocking song with a swear word in it! (shit.)  After the show was over we went to the bonfire and then rested up to be ready for Tie Dye with Zac the next morning at 11!

Back To The Island – Day 1

Day 1 of my vacation was off to an early start.  After getting home from Kris Allen at 11pm, I went to bed and got up at 3:30 AM to finish packing and head off to the airport.  My flight was at 7, but I wanted to make sure I got there in plenty of time.  And I did.  The shuttle at the valet parking got there immediately after I did, the security line was pretty quick and then I had an hour to spare before boarding.

Of course, that hour of waiting was not without excitement.  A police officer went down the jetway of the gate next to mine and looking out the window there was a fire truck.  A man ended up getting wheeled off the plane and EMTs with a stretcher went over to check him out.  I stopped watching at that point because I didn’t want to be rude.  Hopefully everything turned out ok!

The flight to Philly was quick and I was met by an attendant with a wheelchair who helped me get to my next gate.  My friend Maribeth met up with me at the gate and then we waited until it was time to board.  She had seats a row in front of me, but when we were ready to take off we realized the plane was nearly empty and we each had our own row! So she bounced back and forth to sit by me and play with our cameras a bit – AND we got free cake from first class.

We went through customs at the Montego Bay airport and then went to wait for our shuttle to the resort.  Our name wasn’t on the list but they told us we could get on the shuttle anyway and it would be leaving in 20 minutes.  Also on our shuttle was Kim and Christalyn and Jess and Val, which was nice!

The shuttle ride was 90 minutes and kind of bumpy.  When we got to the hotel they seemed to not know who we were, so we panicked a bit but quickly our reservations were found and we were escorted to our beachfront room.  We were very centrally located and the view from our room was amazing!

We ended up going to dinner at the Italian restaurant and then heard drums.  When we walked out of the restaurant we found that Hanson was doing soundcheck on the beach! We heard them do Thinking Bout Somethin and And I Waited.

Then we headed back to the room to nap a bit before the show that night at 9:30.  We also thought we would shower and were not so happy when we realized we had NO HOT WATER!

That night was the first electric show.  There wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary, but Zac did debut a new song to us – “Save Me From Myself” as his solo.  Then I was happy because concerts where I can add new songs to my list of songs heard live makes me very happy 🙂

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