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Back to the Island 2017

Earlier this month I headed back to Jamaica for the 4th time for my 5th Back to the Island event with Hanson. (1 year was in Cancun, Mexico).  This year it was at the same resort as last year, which I really liked as far as the resort but didn’t really like as far as the food.  That seemed to still be an issue this year but I think what I didn’t eat in “regular” food, I made up for in desserts!

This post will focus on the concerts – of which there were 5. Or 7. Depending on how you count.  Early last year we voted for the themes we wanted for each of the Hanson shows to have and we never found out what won until that night.  I liked the surprise of trying to figure it out before they announced it, but had to show up prepared for it to be a Christmas show and ready to change into my Christmas Hanson shirt at any time.  Fortunately that was the only theme you could really “dress” for, unfortunately it never ended up winning.  So we had 3 full-band Hanson shows, 1 solo show from each Hanson (which I could as 1 Hanson show because Isaac + Taylor + Zac = Hanson, of course) and then 1 show from special guests Andrew Ripp and John Fullbright.

Night 1 – Rock All Night  (Setlist)

This was the kick off show and I was exhausted by the time we got to it. I don’t think I had ever wanted a Hanson show to be over so badly before, which is so out of character for me but I needed to get some sleep! They kicked the show off with the chorus of Back to the Island acapella and welcomed us all back to the Island (although there were a LOT of first timers there based on the screams whenever they asked!)  I liked that this was a rocking set and it really kicked things off.  The setlist had some rarer songs in it as well which I liked and I loved the throwback to Ever Lonely which they had done every night on their first tour in 1998 but much, much, much less more recently.   I was on the right side of the stage for this show (Taylor’s side) as opposed to in the handicapped area on the other side because no one ever brought chairs there!  I couldn’t see Zac unless I squatted down and looked through Taylor’s keyboards and kept saying I just wanted a “small fix” of Zac, so when they finished off the set with Zac coming up front for I Believe in a Thing Called Love I was very happy 🙂  That is, until he told my friend he couldn’t give her drumsticks because he only had 2 pair and then walked off stage only to give the drumsticks to someone else instead.  I’m sure there was a logical explanation, but it rubbed me the wrong way.  (Also pretty impressive was that they did not have any in-ear monitors so they had to turn the speakers in on them and Zac mentioned he couldn’t hear much at all, but they still managed to put on a great show!)

Isaac’s solo show (Setlist)

Last year, Isaac was very late for his solo set and made it a request hour which a lot of people didn’t like. (I liked the idea of it, even though he didn’t play anything I shouted out at him)  This year, Isaac was relatively on time and was very prepared for his set.  He also told us a little bit of the back story with a few of the songs he played, which I always really like hearing. He once again did “A Life Without You” which has only ever been played at the solo shows at BTTI. I also got 4 new songs out of him – Beautiful Eyes – which he explained was about dying during child birth which I never actually realized listening to it before and he had played back in 2000 a few times but not at any of the shows I was at and then he did 3 songs that had never been done before – David Garza’s Too Much as well as Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (which I do feel is covered WAY too much but I let that slide) mixed in with Amazing Grace.  Could Isaac have won the solo show for the year again?  Yeah, I think he did.  Most of the time Isaac’s set ends up my favorite.

Night 2 – Acoustic (Setlist)

When we sat down and saw that the stage was set up for an acoustic set I had 2 feelings.  The first was “Yay! I should be able to see Zac tonight because he will be up front!” and the 2nd was “Oh crap I think they may play With You In Your Dreams”  My Dad passed away 2 months before and I knew my first time hearing it was going to make me cry.  Throughout the set I kept counting how many songs they did and knew that the show was almost over and THOUGHT we were in the clear – but they stuck it in as the last song.  Good thing it was last because I was such a mess during the song I’m not sure I would have been able to make it through the rest of the set.  Instead I had some time to regroup before Cards Against Humanity with Zac started.  There was nothing too remarkable about this setlist – acoustic was not one of my choices for the sets but I mean, any Hanson show is better than being anywhere else and any Hanson show on the beach is better than any other Hanson show. (Maybe.)

Taylor solo (Setlist)

The 2nd solo show was from Taylor. Taylor always has more songs to choose from than the other two since he sings lead on the most songs.  Before he started his 3rd song he talked about how it had almost been a single from Underneath and then didn’t end up making the album and something about it having “Bubblicious” in the lyrics.  There is one song from the 2003 era that I had NEVER before heard live.  In fact it’s part of the reason I started keeping track of how many times I had heard songs live and perhaps is the reason I now run a site that calculates that for everyone (hansonstage) and this was the song that Taylor was about to play. The song that I posted about on every time there is a “what do you hope they play?” thread.  I honestly do not know what to do with myself now that it has a “1” on my list.  What song do I obsess over now? I feel like that was the ultimate achievement.  Then 5 songs later he did it again – with another song that probably would have been my next obsession – another song from the same era that they had only ever really teased in concert before (and only a couple of times, at that) – Breaktown.  I didn’t even get video from the beginning because it took me so long to process what was really happening in front of me when he started it.  Taylor also did a couple of songs solo that I thought were a little bit weird – You Never Know was weird in a GOOD way with him solo and Get The Girl Back was weird in a.. not so good way with just him doing it solo.  Taylor also did a ridiculous set of 15 songs.  I kind of thought it never was going to end and I think I would have been ok with that.

Special Guests Set

I was very excited for Andrew Ripp to be a guest at this BTTI.  I had seen him previously open for David Cook and chatted with him about Hanson after his set and I knew that he would be a fun time and was a lot of fun on stage and had a great voice.  I didn’t realize how awesome he would be throwing a setlist together on the spot while I laid in a beach chair looking up at the stars with the waves crashing behind me.  It was perfect!  Of course, then I got sick and after 1 of John Fullbright’s songs I ended up having to leave and missed the rest of his set.  He didn’t really grab me with his song and I could hear some of it from the room, at least.  But it seemed like Andrew Ripp won a LOT of people over and I hope he is in consideration to be an opening act on a future Hanson tour because even though he’s just a guy with a guitar he has ENERGY which is what so many of their openers seem to be lacking.

Zac solo set (Setlist)

Zac’s solo set was probably my least favorite set. That’s not to say I didn’t like it, but I did have trouble getting in to it because a lot of the songs were about loss so I was just struggling with keeping it together for his set.  I did like that he told some background stories about the songs and what they were about because a lot of times they are so vague about those things.  He also did Juliet and Do You Believe In Love which are a couple of my favorite Zac leads, but even that couldn’t really redeem things for me.  He also didn’t give me any never before heard songs.  Sad face.  He is getting better and better at being on stage alone, I think though.  There’s definitely been an improvement since his first solo set back in 2014.

Final show – Members Only (Setlist)

The last time they did a members only themed setlist was 2014 and I think that if you ask anyone who was there they will say it was one of their favorite Hanson shows ever, if not THE best.  I am not sure that it will ever be topped, but they did try with the setlist they put together for the final night.  A lot of the Members Only songs have never been played live before, but unfortunately only one such song made it into this setlist (Freak Out) and everything else I had heard.  They did end up doing I believe all from the “Sound of Light” EP which is probably one of my favorites of their members only EPs.  The show started out with no lights on the front of the stage being on – which was strange.  Then they were completely in the dark before the 3rd song so we turned our cell phone lights on them until things were fixed.  That was weird and I wasn’t sure why they had them go onstage if the lights were an issue, but I guess they had to somewhat keep things on time.  Feeling Alive on the beach was amazing – I love that song so much in general but just putting it in the beach setting brought it to a whole other level.  They seemed to be having trouble starting out with Roller Coaster Love and I’m not sure Isaac wanted to play it or remembered how to play it but they worked it out.  They finished the encore out with some album songs (singles) that hadn’t found their way into other sets.  We did see they skipped “Ive Got Soul” from the setlist, but no great loss there.  For the finale they brought up Andrew and John to sing Back to the Island and Andrew even did a rap (the lyrics were on the stage in front of him but either way, totally impressive) and then our 5th year at BTTI was over and only Taylor’s after party was left before we’d all have to head back to the real world.


I thought that this year had some really solid setlists and some really good performances.  Things seemed a bit more polished than last year and I am ready to fork over all my money for year 6.




Hanson at Disney

I finished out October and began November by heading down to Orlando to see Hanson at Eat to the Beat at EPCOT as part of the Food & Wine festival.  Each night they played 3 sets for a total of 9 shows over 3 days.  The middle day happened to be Halloween – where I was dressed as Snow White and Hanson and crew dressed as The Avengers.  Zac was Thor, Isaac Captain America and Taylor Iron Man. Backup musicians were Black Panther and Spiderman with crew dressed as Wolverine, Hulk and Loki.

The first two days seemed to be a bit similar with several repeats over the two days. By the third they seemed to find their groove and varied things up a little bit more!  I was hoping for MMMBop at each of the 9 shows since prior to arriving I had heard it live 91 times and it would be nice to hit 100, but instead they did it at 2/3 of the shows each day.  100 will be coming up soon though! (I just have to remember to pay attention)

More details and pictures from my trip to come in the upcoming days. I’ve just had some trouble adjusting back into the real world since I returned.

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Throwback Thursday: Hanson 10/22/08

Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s): Dave Barnes, Everybody Else
Venue: Webster Theater
Cost: $35



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Hanson Alive @ Five

Several months ago I had a dream.  I was backstage at a Hanson show with some of my friends and we were setting up hot plates full of food for Hanson and the crew to eat.  It was almost my birthday. We were in Stamford, CT.  I woke up thinking to myself – does Stamford even have a concert venue?  Then I realized that Stamford always has their summer Thursday evening concert series “Alive @ Five”, I saw that an announcement was set for mid-May, but promptly forgot about it, knowing I’d be too concerned with getting ready to head to Tulsa for MOE to worry about the lineup.  Then the lineup was announced – and Hanson was set to be the second weeks entertainment! And just 5 days before my birthday.  (Now if I can dream the winning lottery numbers so I’ll never miss another Hanson show again, that would be great)

We got to see some of the soundcheck, where they of course made up a fake song, went through the same song a few times, threw in a little Ghostbusters at the end of a song… there were some issues with the set up so I think that allowed for them to be on stage a bit longer, which was awesome for us but not so much for them since they were having so many different issues.

Being as it was a Connecticut show and the first time they’ve been back in 5 years, I *needed* front row.  We ended up getting there pretty early to stake our claim on a spot up front.  It was looking like we’d be home free, in the first or second row… when mother nature had other plans.  We were told that a storm was coming and if we wanted to, we could hide out in any of the local restaurants.  Of course, if we left our spot, we’d never be able to get it back so we threw on ponchos and raincoats and stood in the rain for about 15 mins waiting for the storm to pass.  It was windy, the tents that had been set up for the festival were flying all over the place and there were a few flashes of lightning (which we had said we’d leave if we saw, but we still stayed put)

After the rain passed, DJs and entertainment from Kunjan Collective got us hyped up for the opener – Alec Chambers.  There is something about openers for Hanson that I always end up not liking them and thinking their sets are too long no matter how good they are, because I just can’t wait to see Hanson.  This was no different.  I’m sure Alec is wonderful outside of Hanson concerts and since he’s local perhaps I should give him another chance some other time.  But I just wanted Hanson on stage!

After Alec’s set there was some more hype from JHype and Theo from Kunjan Collective and then finally, just after 7, it was time for Hanson!  I wasn’t sure what kind of set we were going to get, as their most recent shows were done for the US Navy overseas and I hadn’t seen any of the setlists.  We figured a fair mix of the singles since it was more of a casual crowd but I have to say I was really, really pleased with the setlist! Taylor had mentioned they’d save Runaway Run for the show and I think if they came out and only sang that I’d have been happy! They opened and closed with a cover, but the rest of the set was all originals. Taylor did trick me a bit when I was writing out the setlist – I often will hear a couple opening notes and be able to tweet out or write down what the song will be before they even started singing it.  Before one song Taylor talked about how they had an album called Anthem… and everything was leading into them performing “Get the Girl Back” but then Taylor said… “And the girl is named PENNY!” and they ended up doing Penny and Me.  Get the Girl Back didn’t come for a few songs later.  I think he was more confused than trying to trick me though 😉 The show was over by about 9:30 and we opted to head right home instead of try and get pics with the guys, because it looked like a bit of a crowd had formed by where they would be coming out.

I wish that show meant I’d be seeing them more, but while I am trying to figure out a trip to Disney World to see them this fall, I will have to wait until next year for their big world tour to see them do a full set again.  It seems so far away!

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Throwback Thursday: Hanson May 3, 2008


08-05-03Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s): Kate Voegele, SK6ers
Venue: Chameleon Club, Lancaster PA
Cost: $38



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Throwback Thursday: Hanson April 29, 2008


Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s): Kate Voegele, SK6ers
Venue: Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ
Cost: $39



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Throwback Thursday: Hanson April 26, 2008


Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s): SK6ers
Venue: Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom Hampton Beach , NH
Cost: $34


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Throwback Thursday: Hanson April 25, 2008


08-04-25Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s): Kate Voegele, SK6ers
Venue: Calvin Theater Northampton, MA
Cost: $38


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Hanson Day Weekend 2016


I have started this post over and over several times but since it kind of needs to be posted… oh, yesterday (that’s when I originally had it scheduled for) I figured I’m just going to throw together some words and  hope it makes sense.

Last weekend I made my 8th trek to Tulsa, my 7th for a Hanson Day (weekend) event.  I got in on Thursday, we went to lunch at Spaghetti Warehouse (and we probably won’t be doing that again) and then waited around for registration to begin.  I was doing some volunteer work for Hanson helping them out and my first shift was registration that was supposed to begin at 4, but ended up starting early around 2:30 instead.  I realized on the flight there the one thing I forgot was my raincoat – and of course it rained.  After my shift was over we went to the store where I spent far too much money.  We took it easy the rest of the night even though there was Karaoke going on because we knew we would be jam packed the rest of the week.

Friday we headed to the gallery and while I would love an original painting done by Zac, I was not willing to stay out overnight in order to get one and that is what most of the girls in the front of the line did.  I did end up getting one of the 40 canvas prints that was done of one of the paintings and a book that showed all the artwork that was done.  While we were waiting in line, Zac was there chatting (but left as we reached where he was in the line) and later Taylor came by – but he left once we were finally allowed upstairs! Poor timing.  Then it was time for group photos, I had to do some more helping out with registration and it was time for the lectures.  The lectures are an add-on and each band member does something different.  Isaac did his lecture on “You Matter” which was motivational and about how we were all in that same room together for a reason and everything happens for a reason and if you do good it will make others want to do good too.  Taylor’s lecture was called “Unwritten” and gave us an inside look on how he wrote some of the bands songs – and how if he didn’t wake up in the middle of the night or didn’t continue writing a song while everyone else was sick, some of those songs would remain unwritten and even though there’s only a few notes or a few chords they can all be put together in different ways to create different songs.  Zac’s lecture was called “Choo Choo Trains of Thought” and he wrote a song with our help… that sounded like… a train.  It actually came out sounding really cool, a really neat beat and I am looking forward to it being released!

Friday night was also the street team leaders dinner where we had some BBQ, got to hear from the guys some things that would be coming up and then we headed back to the hotel for a Tim Tam party before the Dance Party that evening.

Saturday we met up with a friend for lunch and then got ready for the State of the Band.  During the State of the Band they talk about what is coming up in the next year (since they consider their calendar year to begin in May) and have also started doing something called “The Moeys” which are awards handed out to fans based on different categories.  This year I was nominated for MVP so I was super nervous!  State of the Band started late and to be honest I was so nervous I don’t remember much of it.  There will be a world tour next year and also a new Christmas album for 2017 with the working title “Wintery Mix” (sic)  Of course, my MOEY category was last – BUT I WON! I got up on stage (With the help of Isaac and Taylor) and accepted my award and had to give a speech. When I got back down to my chair I said “I don’t even remember what I said!” There is a huge chunk of it I can’t remember – from getting up the stairs until I got back down them haha fortunately my friends took video and Hanson streamed it as well so I can fill in the blanks 😉 It was really awesome to have won a fan voted award – especially since I have spent so much of my life being bullied and an outsider due to being disabled and being a Hanson fan. It’s nice to find a place where I “belong” and people like me enough to vote for me!

Saturday night was the members only concert as well. The first part of the show was them playing the new members only EP “Loud” and the second was them having us record elements of the companion EP that will be out in October called “Play”  The rest of the show was your general Hanson show – except the sound system seemed to be off and there were a few lyric flubs.  It wasn’t the best concert ever, but even a not so great Hanson concert is better than anywhere else I could have been in that moment.

Sunday was Hanson’s beer & music festival – The Hop Jam.  They were not performing and I was volunteering so from noon until the festival was over I was hard at work helping out the team wherever I could.   I did manage to catch part of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros set though, and was glad I was nearby for the encore when Hanson went up on stage and did “Instant Karma” with the band.  I feel silly summing up the whole festival into a paragraph, but I’m not sure you really care that I did 400% of my step goal, folded a ton of chairs and banners and took down signs from light poles all evening!

Next years event should be bigger and better since it will be 20 years since Middle of Nowhere and 25 years as a band! I am looking forward to it.  I’m also looking forward to them coming back to CT for the first time in 5 years this summer!


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Throwback Thursday: Hanson 12/1/07


Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s): Standard of Living
Venue: Club Infinity Buffalo, NY
Cost: $28


Great Divide
Been There Before
Can’t Stop
Crazy Beautiful
Strong Enough To Break
Being Me
Blue Sky
If Only
Where’s The Love
Penny and Me
Running Man
Watch Over Me
Lost Without Each Other
Run Run Rudolph
Something Going Round
Joy To The World
Change In My Life (acapella)

Recap: Ah, this show… there was supposed to be a snow storm starting the next morning, so we were going to sleep over in a hotel for a little bit and then head out to beat the snow.  Except that when we left the venue, it had already started! So we left right away, stopping to nap here and there once we got ahead of the snow on the highway.  Probably one of the crazier things I have done for Hanson.  It ended up being the only time I have heard them sing “Joy To The World” (The 3 Dog Night song, not the Christmas carol) as of yet!

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