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O-Town at Resorts World Casino

A Saturday at the end of June we made the trek to Resorts World Casino “New York City”.  It was more like Middle of Nowhere Queens… This was the Pop 2000s Tour – hosted by Lance Bass of *NSYNC with performances from Ryan Cabrera, Aaron Carter and O-Town. We went for the VIP M&G which was supposed to be a photo with Lance *and* O-Town as well as VIP table. We were a bit disappointed to see that the tables were behind the GA tickets, but of all the tables we had what seemed to be the best one, at least.

We lined up and did our photo – and were disappointed to see that Aaron Carter had joined in as well.  Boo. They took 2 photos on our phones and 2 on a professional camera which made for a lot of people looking at the wrong cameras in photos which was frustrating. They should have said they were first taking them with one camera so we knew where we were looking…

Then it was time to start drinking in order to make it through Aaron’s set.  Lance kicked things off introducing Ryan Cabrera, who came out in an *NSYNC shirt. Lance then introduced Aaron and in the moment I didn’t think there was actually enough alcohol to forget his set but that plus the fact that it was like a month ago and I am just writing this now… highlights did include when he “played” the piano tattooed on his arm.

Then Lance came out and read from a piece of paper his “intro” for O-Town all about how he looks up to them and they are the greatest boyband 😉  Their set was pretty similar to the ones they had done earlier in the year and since we weren’t close enough for phones to be grabbed and I’m still bitter mine had never been grabbed I opted to take a bathroom break during “These are the Days” – only to have to run back to my spot when I realized they started singing “It’s Gonna Be Me” next! And I made it back in PLENTY of time for Lance to join the guys on stage for Bye Bye Bye!!!!

As usual we jumped in line for post show selfies with O-Town and they were wonderful, as always!

When Jake mentioned the summer tour to us earlier in the year he said he thought we would like the lineup and while I’m kind of sick of seeing Ryan Cabrera and would never willingly see Aaron Carter if not “forced”, giving me the chance to go 3/5 on my *NSYNC quest was most appreciated! (Can they take JC out with them next tour?)

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Hanson Day Tulsa 2018

2018 Hanson Day was my 10th trip to Tulsa, OK to see Hanson.  When I first started planning my trip back in 2009 I am pretty sure I billed it as a ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to experience their home town.  In 2009 they recorded the Stand Up, Stand Up EP and there really weren’t any other events.  10 years later (and not really ‘consecutive hanson day’ events either – since 2010 was a Halloween event!) and it is fascinating to see not only how the Hanson event and activities have grown, but how Tulsa has continued to grow and flourish.

My trip started with some excitement. I had only 40 minutes to get off my plane from Hartford and onto my flight to Tulsa in Dallas.  When my shoes set off the metal detector upon arrival in Hartford, my gate was the furthest away and every flight around me was getting delayed due to weather, I was hoping I’d still make it and all the drama was working itself out early.  When the pilot came on and said we would be delayed 10 minutes because of weather and he hoped to make up the time during the flight but before landing told us we would be 5-8 minutes late, I started mentally preparing myself to drive from Dallas to Tulsa.  And when the jet bridge wouldn’t move to connect to the plane, I thought that any chance I had of making it was over. When we landed I was at the mercy of the wheelchair pusher. I informed him my flight was taking off VERY soon and let’s see if we could make it.  He was being thoroughly pessimistic about the whole thing – and then informed me that gate A8 was THE. LAST. GATE. In A.  Yet somehow, despite hearing “Flight 299 to Tulsa, you need to be on the plane NOW” we made it – and I wasn’t even the last one to board the plane.  Thanks American Airlines for holding that flight because if not it would have been Strike 3 for you.  (When I booked the flight it was an hour or so layover and they changed it on me)

Thursday morning our day kicked off waiting outside Ida Red to pick up an Albertane Tour 20th anniversary pint glass and try the special drink they had come up with.  After that we got our Hanson.net wristbands and hopped in line for the store.  I spent a new record amount of money, but in my defense I was picking up merch for 3 others in addition to myself.  Once you take out their totals,  I was pretty much on pace for my usual amount, despite being a bit underwhelmed with the merch this year. (But I’ll confess, that $100 blanket is beautiful and I can’t wait to put it on my bed.) Then there was some eating, some volunteering, some more eating and then it was time for some karaoke – where facebook and snapchat filters set me into a fit of hysterics.  Maybe I needed some sleep…

Friday we got I line for the gallery pretty early, and while there were some original paintings left by the time I entered, I opted to get a couple of prints instead. We also participated in the String Theory ball of yarn.  After the gallery it was time for group photos, so we headed down to Cain’s Ballroom for that.  We stopped at Prairie Brewpub for my first visit before getting ready for the Storytellers concert.  I was pretty nervous that they were going to play With You In Your Dreams and my fears came true when Taylor started mentioning that they wanted us to sing in a chorus.  The setlist was Albertane Tour throwback (and Money was a song I had never heard them perform live before) and I liked that they “themed” it to a 20th anniversary – but… I can really do without WYIYD for the foreseeable future.  Then it was time for the ST Leaders dinner where my cane almost took someone out… and I realized that IPA Cheddar Burger meant that the cheese had the beer in it… and was gross.  I ended up falling asleep instead of going to Taylor’s Dance Party that night. Oops.

Saturday we had a later day, starting off with the Listening Party of Zac’s special music project “The Machine”, it was definitely interesting… then we headed off to Pinot’s Pallette where we painted our own version of Zac’s pansy painting from the gallery.  I went roque – from the moment the instructor said “paint your canvas light blue” and mine was light orange.   I did a mixture of oranges, yellows and reds for my pansy.  It probably could have used more yellow, but overall it came out pretty good.  That night was the full Members Only Concert and I was really digging the 100% members only song setlist – until it got to the solos and then it kind of lost me… and then they played Where’s the Love which I love but am a bit sick of. (Honestly though I know I complain about the setlists but I’d rather be at a Hanson show with a (imo) lame setlist than pretty much anywhere else in the world. So.) After the concert we rushed off to Firkin Feast – and after the gross burger the night before I was wondering what I had gotten myself into, but I actually enjoyed 2 of the 4 beers that they offered after thinking I would never find a beer I would actually like, so that was a plus, and despite the menu not being at ALL what I would ever choose to eat, I ate each of my courses in its entirety and enjoyed it!

Sunday was The Hop Jam Beer & Music Festival.  Hanson wasn’t performing, which made things a bit less hectic and crowded.  I volunteered handing out fliers at the entrance with a great group of security guys (way better than the group I was with last year) and still had a chance to check out Paul McDonald’s set from my hotel room and some of Manchester Orchestra’s as well.  I was also pretty close to Guthrie Green which had the local bands playing and was pretty impressed with what I heard from there as well.

Monday it was time to go and my flight home was pretty uneventful except for the fact that the best flight I could get home for points on Southwest was to take a detour to Denver with a 4 hour layover.  I can’t complain, it was only $6 and I got to have a delicious Einstein Mac & Cheese bagel!

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Blog Catchup

I’ve been having a terrible time trying to keep track of what I have to blog about and what I haven’t. Or putting together actual blog posts and reviews. So here’s a brief recap of what I’ve been doing for the past 2 months…

The Last Bandoleros
My friend Lauren asked me if I’d be interested in checking out The Last Bandoleros at The Wolfs Den. I really had no idea what to expect (w

e had met one of the members something like 10 years ago!) but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought they would be more country but they were not so I am sold! I picked up their EP after the show and have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.

Jeff Dye
Lauren also dragged me to see Jeff Dye. You may know him from Last Comic Standing or Better Late Than Never. I typically don’t like comedians but Jeff had me laughing his entire set and he was a lot of fun to chat with after the show as well. I’m pretty sure this won’t be my last blog post about him.

Kinky Boots
David Cook made his Broadway debut in Kinky Boots in NYC – so of course I had to check it out! Also in the show was Wayne Brady and Kirstin from Pentatonix. I wasn’t sure what to expect since he would need to have an accent since the show takes place in England. But he did great and it was so fun to hear “him” come through on the songs. A really, really fun show as well.

Andy Grammer
Andy Grammer took his “The Good Parts” tour to the Ridgefield Playhouse. We had about 6th row for the show. Everyone was sitting until Andy made a comment on it and said we could stay seating if we wanted, but we could stand too. I had a feeling that would be how it works because the Playhouse tends to sell their closest seats to members of their ‘club’ and they are usually there moreso to support the venue than as a fan of the band. Although I’m not sure how you can sit still listening to Andy and all of his upbeat songs! After the show we had a chance to meet him briefly and snap a few photos. Always enjoyable!

*NSYNC Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Sometimes all the stars in your life align up perfectly and you end up getting booked on a trip to California just a few days before *NSYNC is set to get a star on the walk of fame, so you ask your manager if you can extend the trip out a bit and she agrees… so a baseball game, Disneyland and seeing all 5 members of *NSYNC on stage together again end up happening. The ceremony was a LOT of standing around and I am not sure I will ever get feeling back in my legs or feet but it was truly amazing to be a part of such a special moment! Now I have to plan a trip back to LA because we were far too exhausted after waiting for the ceremony and then for The Dirty Pop-Up Shop to head back and see the star!

Ruben Studdard sings Luther Vandross
You know I love me some Idol, so when Ruben came to the wolf den to sing the songs of Luther I had to check it out. Unfortunately we didn’t get in line early enough to get a good seat and for a while we weren’t even sure we would get any seat, so I think being on the side of the stage kind of lost some of the interaction for us, but I thought Ruben sounded great and it was a lot of fun to hear him do a different song catalog (even though he did do a few Luther songs back on Idol).

Tim Tebow and The Rumble Ponies
Tim Tebow is a Met… so when the Binghamton Rumble Ponies made their way to Hartford to play the Yard Goats, we went to check him out. 2 rows from the field yielded some great photos and an autograph for my friend Christine. Tim ended up coming out of the game early, but it was also a work night so we were happy to have an ‘excuse’ to leave early! We had fun playing baseball bingo during the game and enjoyed some great BBQ. We’ll be back when he makes his triumphant return next month… hopefully this time I can snag an autograph for myself J

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O-Town @ Stage One

A couple of days after seeing O-Town at the Wolf Den, they made their debut at one of my favorite venues, Stage One in Fairfield, CT.  This show was a bit different because we were able to purchase a pre-show VIP package to spend some more time with the band.  We were told to be in line by 3:45, which we were, but unfortunately due to other venue restrictions we were stuck out in the cold for nearly an hour and a half.  Upon entering the venue we got to watch soundcheck with the guys – where they did Love Should Be A Crime, 2 of their new songs – No Goodnight and Whatchu Wanna Do – which was explained by Jacob by being about sex but ended up with us all being taken to Church… and I think the other one they did was Shady Business.  After the goofings around of soundcheck, we got 2 photos with the band and then had some time to kill before the show started.

Fairfield Theater is a seated venue, so we purchased a membership to the venue in order to get an early shot at tickets and got 2 seats in front row and 2 seats in 2nd row, everything else was already snapped up by the time I got in to buy them.  I kept saying that the 4 empty seats in the front row (center) were going to be “old” people who had no idea who the band were, so I just had to laugh when my prediction was correct.  It was really awkward and the guys were trying to make them feel welcome by sitting on the edge of the stage and singing to them and stuff… but they ended up leaving about half way through the set.  Our friends jumped down to join us in the front row and it seemed like that changed the whole vibe of the show – the guys came closer to the front row and were just a bit more relaxed once they knew it was fans in the front! The set was the same as the show at the wolf den, super high energy and a lot of fun.

After the show, we did our selfie line and got to chat with the guys a bit about the people in the front – Dan said he was glad they left so “our girls” could come down front with us and that it was a really bizarre experience.  Jacob said they were still working on routing for the new tour for this summer, but we should like who they will be touring with. That made me curious to know who he thought I would be excited about seeing… and hoped it wouldn’t be Aaron Carter since they are doing some show with him in the UK.

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Trent Harmon in the Wolf Den

Saturday night reigning American Idol winner Trent Harmon took the stage at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den.  I really wasn’t sure what to expect from a show – but I left very, very pleasantly surprised – the show was high energy and a TON of fun.  Unfortunately I don’t have the setlist so this review is going to be pretty short and sweet.  Trent also didn’t come out to sign after the show, which was a disappointment, I really would have loved to meet him!

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Hanson at Sea World

When I found out that Hanson was coming to Sea World, I knew that I needed to be there. I didn’t realize quite how much of a whirlwind trip it was going to end up being, but I snagged myself a front row seat and then booked some flights.  When all was said and done, I left the airport at 5am, landed in Orlando at 8am and had a “free” day in Orlando.  With another winter storm coming to town Monday night into Tuesday, I ended up buying a flight for Sunday after already having booked a flight for Monday just in case.  I ended up leaving at 11:30pm on Sunday night, landing 2:30am on Monday morning, getting home at 3:30am, sleeping a few hours and going to work. Not one of my brighter ideas but my Monday night flight ended up canceled and I didn’t have to use any vacation days.  Worth it? Definitely.

The way Sea World was set up you were able to pick out your seat at 9am and then enjoy the park for the day instead of having to wait in line all day to get to the theater area.  We were able to do some shopping, some eating, and see some sea life.  We didn’t end up riding any rides, but it was a fun day all the same!  At 5pm the Hanson show began and I was just in front of Isaac in the front row.  The setlist was a pretty basic show that I was expecting, but there was a lot of energy from the guys and I had an absolute blast! And of course, ended up sun burned.

Although the show had a lot of backlash from some fans and some Sea World haters… the show and the day was a ton of fun and I really hope they will consider playing there again!

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O-Town at the Wolf Den March 2

March 2nd O-Town made their return to the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun for I believe the 4th year in a row. (I made it to 3/4)  I ended up getting to the line at about 4pm and it was not too bad. I am sure the crazy weather made many stay home who otherwise would have been coming out.  Trevor was going through the line when I got there giving hugs and saying hi before soundcheck started. He commented on my shirt (Slytherin) and asked what it was – then said he wasn’t a Harry Potter guy but maybe he should be a Harry Potter guy because he really liked the shirt LOL

They let us inside at 6:30 to give us time to have a few drinks before the show kicked off at 8pm.  They played about an hour set and premiered 2 new songs that should be coming out on their new EP sometime soon! The setlist seemed to focus on more of the new tracks (Lines and Circles and beyond) than the older nostalgia tracks, which was a bit of a disappointment. Not that the old stuff isn’t great as well – I guess I am just less familiar with it.

After the show everyone who bought a T-Shirt (for $60!) was able to get a wristband to get selfies with the guy after the show.  I always groan at the ever increasing price of the shirts but happily hand over my money and love getting to say a quick hello with the guys.  I just wish the Wolf Den shows had VIP available too because there’s nothing I love more than throwing $250 at boybands. 😉   I told Jake I would see them on Sunday and he started telling me to make sure I was careful driving home! <3 And as usual, our selfie came out the best of the 4.  Always a fun time seeing them and I’m pretty pumped that I get to see them TWICE in one weekend this “tour”!

Some highlights from the show…

New song – Whatchu Wanna Do

New Song So Good Night(?)

The dance to Sensitive was INSANE

We Fit Together is always a highlight

 

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Backstreet Boys The Axis Las Vegas

A couple weeks ago I made the trip out to Las Vegas to check out the Backstreet Boys residency. (Which has since been extended for a few more months throughout 2018 if you’re interested)  We opted to also stay at Planet Hollywood which was really nice – easy to take a nap and then get ready before the show and then just head downstairs to the venue.  A nap was definitely needed as the show started at midnight EST.

While BSB aren’t my favorite and they didn’t play my favorite song (I wasn’t really expecting them to) the show was pretty much all up beat hit after hit and was a TON of fun!! Our seats turned out to be really great as well – minus the amazon husband who of course was right in front of us.  But the boys made great use of the catwalk and AJ even came down the aisle of our section during the show!

For Shape of My Heart they usually bring a fan up on stage – this night was a special one because Brian’s family was in the audience and they ended up bringing his Mom up on stage for the song which was really special 🙂

Throughout the show they played a lot of old videos of the guys from when they were little and as well as touring as the Backstreet Boys which was a lot of fun to watch. We also ended the night getting a $10 glass of water/soda in a BSB branded cup.

A lot of the merch sizes were sold out because it was supposed to be the tail end of the residency – but it had just gotten the extension announcement a couple of days before. The shirt I bought was completely gone from the merch store the next day! It’s cool and has a BSB poker chip on the front – appropriate for a trip to Vegas AND since I developed a poker chip magnet obsession while shopping for souvenirs.

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Walk the Moon Mohegan Sun Arena

Walk The Moon put on an absolutely amazing show at Mohegan Sun as part of their Press Restart Tour.  The lighting was a bit off – maybe because we were the only arena on the tour and everything was set up for smaller theaters? But that didn’t matter as my inability to see the stage made me end up watching the crowd down below more than the band itself and there was one guy about 10 rows back who seemed to be having a religious experience at the show and watching his joy for the show made things that much more exciting and fun to watch for me! (I was really only familiar with a few of the songs that Walk the Moon plays as I had intended to dive into their catalog before the show but didn’t end up having time. Still haven’t had time.. but maybe someday.)

The opening act could be the worst of 2018 (regardless of the fact that it was basically the only opening act I had seen all year) the sound was bad, the lighting was better for them but made everyone in the band look green… and yeah.

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Back to the Island 2018

This years Back to the Island was an interesting one. As Stephen Kellogg told me, I had to fight for it. And I really did.  I’m going to try to sum it all up in one post but if things get too wordy I’ll break it up a bit.

I was scheduled to fly out on Friday, a day before the activities began. A huge storm was coming in and earlier in the week they didn’t think it would be that bad, but by Wednesday snow totals kept creeping up and up and up.  Starting at a dusting to 3 inches when all was said and done I think they were saying we could get upwards of a foot (and I think that’s what we did end up getting).  Wednesday when I was at work, Southwest emailed me to let me know that my 5:45am flight out of Hartford was already canceled and calling them to reschedule they told me the earliest they could get me out to Jamaica was SUNDAY.  I canceled that flight all together and ended up booking a flight on American Airlines that would get me out at 8am and put me on the same flight to Jamaica with a friend (and later a second friend as well who also had gotten bumped due to the bombcyclone)  But by mid-day Thursday that flight was canceled so I was put on a 10am flight out of Hartford and a later flight into Jamaica.  I went to bed early and everything was still “On Time” – having no clue how the roads were going to look I left at 4:30am and got to the airport and my gate by 6am and we were supposed to start boarding at 9:30am to leave at 10.  Boarding was delayed and when we got on there seemed to be some drama because a couple had a dog on the flight with them but the paperwork didn’t say there would be a dog on the flight.  It turned out that dealing with this was the least of my worries.  My flight to Jamaica was delayed by an hour which was great because that gave me even more of a buffer as we still needed to de-ice which would add probably 30 minutes to our time.  But then we pulled away from the jet bridge only to return to it 5 minutes later – some valve that was needed for the engines to start was frozen shut and maintenance would have to manually open it. Then that didn’t work either and then we all had to get off the plane and well… there was no way we were leaving in time for me to get to Jamaica on Friday at that point.  I re-booked a flight out of Charlotte for Saturday morning, hoping that I would at some point end up in Charlotte on Friday night.  And I did – after being one of the lucky people on only one of FOUR flights out of Bradley that morning/afternoon that had this weird frozen valve issue.  (I guess it being so rare explained why no one started to heat up the plane at 6am when it was sitting at the gate with me, both of us doing nothing)

So Saturday morning I once again woke up around 4am having no idea how long security lines would be in Charlotte and once again spent far too much time doing nothing at a gate at the airport but we were off to Jamaica without incident.  Upon landing in Jamaica it was absolutely POURING rain and when I finally met up with my friends they told me I had missed nothing because they all just sat around hiding from the rain and waiting for me to show up.  Everything at the resort was super slippery and then we found out that Hanson had decided to shift the schedule and postpone the first nights show both due to the weather and maybe a little bit because so many people were still not there yet.  We walked the beach a bit and ended up having a group meal in the steakhouse as our room level waived the fee for the prime cuts.  Afterwards the resort had activities going on so we got to see some swimmers and dancers and by “got to see” I mean we really got to see as I spotted one of them in plain site naked and changing… and then a steel drum band in 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 minutes.  During the steel drum band Zac showed up and then we spotted Isaac at the karaoke bar and Taylor in the club.  It became a full on selfie fest and we just kind of sat back, drank, and watched it all go down, none of us getting any photos with any Hansons. (In fact of the 7-8 of us hanging out all week I was the only one to land a photo with a Hanson… more on that later.)

The next day winds still seemed to be too much to raise the roof on the stage and it was raining on and off so plan B went into effect – where we would have Zac’s solo show, Chris Carraba’s set and the “Rock All Night” set from Hanson in a green house.  I was lucky enough to be front row for all of it – and was thrilled when Zac awarded our “good behavior” with a song that had never been performed live before for us.  (As you know, my main goal for these trips is to hear songs I have never heard before, though the released songs that I have not heard are getting fewer and fewer.)  Afterwards we saw him and asked him what it was called and he just rubbed his fingers together and said “Haha” but we ended up finding a post on Hanson.net where we saw it was either called Fight Another Day or The Ballad of Seymour Better Times.  It’s currently the latter in the Hansonstage.com database but can be changed at any moment if needed.

I really was not sure what to expect as far as Chris Carabba.  He had come to my college one year and I made it to front row to see him but was just not impressed with him at all and we left early.  And talk about a full circle moment – that show was at my college with a friend I had met on Hanson.net to see Chris Carabba and while we were waiting to go inside she told me “You should come with us next time we go see Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers I think you will like him” and now here I was on an Island with Hanson, Chris and Stephen. Crazy. But I absolutely LOVED Chris and he was so adorable with how he was so excited that people were singing his songs back to him and asking for him to play certain songs and just generally enjoying his set.  I also liked when he said that he had only known 2 of the members of Hanson but today he met Zac and now Zac was his favorite Hanson (and then went on to mention both Isaac and Taylor were also his favorite Hanson’s)  I snapped a pic of Chris’ setlist, but he ended up mixing it up a bit so I can’t say for sure what all he did end up playing.

Then it was time for Hanson’s Rock All Night set.  The stage was awkwardly tiny but if that was potentially going to be my only front row experience of the trip, it was a great one to be right up front for.  I was able to see the setlist before the show started and was flipping out for “I Believe in A Thing Called Love” (which didn’t end up happening) and “You Shook Me All Night Long” (A never before done cover!) on the setlist as well as a few other fun rare songs mixed in as well. (One Taylor said they had not played in 5 years but I don’t know where he got his info from because hansonstage says otherwise! :P)  This set was a bit shorter than what we are used to and 3 songs on the setlist ended up being skipped but the guys did have Chris join them for Back to the Island which has become a staple of the event.

After the concert it was time for Cards Against Humanity with Zac, which was squeezed into the buffet area due to the weather and was overall just a really awkward set up.  We kept a penis tally because before the game got underway it seemed like it was going to be said a LOT…but the official tally was only 5 by the end of the night.  A fan had given Zac some Hanson-related cards for the game and I think that really brought things to a whole other level when you could play “Zac Hanson”, “Isaac Hanson” or “Taylor Hanson” as a response in addition to the cards that came with the game.  I was on the red team but it was the green team that was victorious.

The next morning we had tie dye with all 3 Hanson’s and I’m not all that impressed with my design for this year. There was a lot of white. I opted to not wet my tshirt before dying it because I was convinced that made things run too much but maybe I needed a bit of a happy medium instead.  A slightly damp tshirt.  I also was hoping for a blue and orange shirt and somehow ended up with yellow and then went with purple instead so my Mets shirt has instead become a Vikings shirt lol  The guys tend to mingle during this event but never really made it to our table (and when Zac did come by he was looking for blue dye which we did not have so he was innocently sent away to find it elsewhere never to return again)  One of the Island Gigs guys asked if we saw any Hansons and I said no, only to have him ask me which I wanted a photo with so I chose Zac and he took me over to him for a very awkward photo.  Zac seemed like he was over things at that point and the guys left shortly after.  We kept our shirts wrapped up for a couple days and I didn’t end up taking the rubber bands off until I was home this year – but I am not sure that helped much. We will see once it makes its way through a vinegar wash and the washing machine. (Which I may not get to for a while)

Then it was time for Taylor’s solo set.  Since the stage was roughly 40 paces from our back door, we opted to watch it all from our back porch.  Taylor came out, played a song, then took his shirt off (revealing a tank top underneath) and took off his shoes and socks and invited anyone who wanted to go in the water with him to go in. Then he played the rest of his set soaking wet.  His set didn’t have anything I hadn’t heard on it – however there was “Dream Girl” on his setlist that he had skipped which would have been a tick for me in the win column.  The rest of his set was a nice variety though and I enjoyed it.

Stephen Kellogg’s set was up next,  and we got a chance to talk with him a bit before it. He didn’t end up playing the song I had been requesting for him to play since last February, but he did end up adding in a last minute request for “Father’s Day” which had me crying.  I think that he won the crowd over as well and he did a pretty well-rounded set as well to give anyone who hadn’t heard of him before a good variety of what he’s all about.

Then it was time for the Members Only setlist. I was glad to not be up that close for this set because I never know all the words to these songs!  Each of the guys did a solo during this set and then Stephen Kellogg joined them for a song he wrote with them called Coming Back for More.  There was some debate over whether or not Isaac’s solo song was Members Only (Zac and I say no, Isaac says yes) but the one that was so clearly not a members only song was A Minute Without You which they played for the encore. Why? I don’t know.

After the shows was Isaac’s Family Feud activity which was also in the buffet and a lot of people did not stick around which was evidenced by the time it took for him to call out numbers of people who were actually present to end up on stage. (There’s got to be a better way to do that)  I am pretty sure all my friends who wanted to go on stage made it up for a round – but the funniest had to be when Rachel buzzed in to answer “What would you not want to happen to your taxi when you are on your way to the airport” with “Get lost!” and Isaac took offense thinking she was telling him to get lost… not that she was saying she didn’t want the taxi to get lost.  After 10 rounds it was tied 5-5 red vs green and it was RED that was victorious in the tie breaker round. A nice split amongst the teams.

Our last full day on the Island kicked off with group photos with the band where I told the guys a bit about all the snow we got and how my flights got delayed or canceled like 5 times.  Isaac did his solo set which consisted of a song that had lyrics down on the stage that he had written just a few weeks prior and a surprise song that he wrote on the spot during his set. I’m calling it “Isaac’s Jamaica Song” on Hansonstage at least until someone can convince me to name it something better.  He chatted a bunch due to needing to tune his guitar and said how singing happy birthday and the like is a stalling tactic (and then it was made clear that night during the full band set how often Hanson uses this tactic lol)  He had a really nice set as well and is pretty consistently my favorite solo set of of the 3.

 

The last show of the trip was “Singles” but it was expanded a bit to include songs that almost were singles or should have been singles just to more round out the set.  Of course, we thought we were all safe because With You In Your Dreams did not fit into any of the themes – but apparently they decided to consider it a single.  I once again found myself front row for this set and decided I could either sob the whole song or try to zone out and play on my phone and/or take photos.  I was victim of symbol face Zac for most of this show and during the beginning of the song he was leaning down so I could see him so zone out and take photos of Zac won and I managed to not cry. Phew.  The encore consisted of the only repeats of the trip – Back to the Island and You Shook Me All Night Long and they also actually did I Believe In A Thing Called Love this show as well.

During the last 2 nights on the beach – baby turtles started hatching and making their way to the water. I didn’t get to see any turtles in person (and being at a turtle hatching/release is for sure on my bucket list but I never thought I’d see it in Jamaica since it was not the reason for it!) but it sounded like they were able to make sure quite a few got to the water and hopefully they are doing all right out there!  Hanson dedicated I Was Born and renamed it for the evening The Ballad of the Baby Turtles.  (Don’t underestimate the sting of the baby turtle!)

After the show it was the after party – and there were even some dancers for some of the songs! (like one of my favorites, Pony) Where we were alerted via social media that there was an earthquake in Honduras which was putting some of Jamaica under a tsunami warning.  No one seemed concerned but now I have attended Taylor’s after party in both a tornado and a tsunami warning.

There were a lot of “wild life” encounters – I fell after being chased by a cockroach (which got my heart rate up to 119 as opposed to the 95 it seemed to max out at during any of the Hanson shows), there was a GIANT grasshopper in our bed, there was a lizard on the ceiling, there was a tiny lizard on our back porch, I found some weird looking bugs and caterpillars, I also spotted a hermit crab. Snails. A pig… cats.. goats… I’m not sure what else I am forgetting.

Wednesday we got up and had breakfast, checked out of the hotel, hit up the gift shops and made our way to our shuttle back to the airport 🙁  Security is always a pain in the butt and this time they wanted me to walk through the metal detector with no shoes on and using no cane.  Once it was explained that this was not going to end well for anyone involved I compromised to take my shoes off if I could use the cane – and needed a pat down anyway so the whole activity was pretty pointless.  I did however have a lot of fun people watching an entitled woman who needed wheelchair assistance think that she should be the first on the plane because she was the first to the gate (She was second to last, I was last of the preboarders. We both ended up in the 2nd row of the plane so what’s the big deal?)

This trip was by far a lot different than any of the previous 5 – and I took the least photos I have probably ever taken in my life (Hanson photos not included) mainly because my camera was always in my bag and I spent most of my time walking around trying to make sure I wasn’t going to slip and fall on wet decorative tile.  I enjoyed the new resort and wouldn’t mind seeing it being held there again for 2019 but I think that the Jewel where it was last year was probably my favorite of all the resorts.

Category: Back To The Island, Concert, Hanson  Comments off