Hanson: Chicago & Grand Rapids

In addition to adding 2 new countries to my map this Hanson Middle of Everywhere Tour I also added 2 states. Over Columbus Day weekend I made the trek to see Hanson shows in Chicago and Grand Rapids. For whatever reason, most people assumed I had been to Chicago before but other than airport layovers, I had not.

About a week before the trip I started googling to see what food was available nearby to be delivered, since I’d be at the hotel with no transportation available to me. I found a restaurant called PotBelly and downloaded their app to order while I waited for the shuttle to bring me to the hotel. This was two strikes against Chicago – after waiting 45 minutes the shuttle never arrived so I took a cab and after confirming my order, PotBelly told me it would be delivered Monday morning – it was Friday night and on Monday I’d no longer be in Chicago. (And I am currently fighting with them as they have not yet refunded my credit card like they said when I called to cancel the order.)

I ended up spotting a Jimmy John’s as my cab driver drove around in circles because he was convinced I said “Holiday Inn” and not “Quality Inn”, you know those north east accents make all the H’s and Q’s sound the same… Jimmy John’s delivered right to my hotel so I was able to have dinner.

The next day, we waited in line in an attempt to get front row for the Hanson.net Members Only Event before the show. While waiting, Chicago got a couple more strikes against them and I became convinced that Chicago did not want me to eat as the hot dog place was not open on Saturdays (they would have delivered to us in line) and the bagel place had no plain bagels…

Our attempt at front row failed, but the members only event was fun – they even threw in a Christmas song for good measure. (They recorded it and implied it was going to be available to watch at some point, but Hanson Time.) They did a Q&A which led to them teasing a girl who had not been to a show in 19 years asking her where she’d been and if she’d seen Johnny because they’ve both been gone a really long time.

After the MOE photos there was some craziness going on for everyone to get back to their rightful spots, I was on my ADA seat by that point and basically had a front row seat to all the drama unfolding and was happy to not be a part of it. Before the show started, House of Blues dropped a screen down in front of the stage and proceeded to play the Cubs vs Nationals baseball game. Unfortunately Bryce Harper tied up the game and then Ryan Zimmerman gave the Nats the lead and then the win ūüôĀ

Hanson took the stage and for the most part the first 6 songs of their sets have been pretty consistent, since they all transition one right into another with little to no stopping in between. This show was special because they opted to not do With You in Your Dreams or any other Hanson ballad in its place, instead they did a Tom Petty cover of the song Wildflowers. When they did it at 2 shows and then stopped I didn’t think I’d end up getting to see it live, but I was happy they added it back into the set. They also ended the set with I Don’t Want To Go Home which they had also done during the Members Only Event earlier in the day.

After the show we headed to 7-11 to try and get some snacks before Taylor’s after party only to find that… they were CLOSED! I was still pretty convinced Chicago wanted me to starve. We hung around for part of Taylor’s party and then hit the road to Indiana to get a head start on the way to Grand Rapids.

For lunch we went to Portillo’s which was supposed to give me a taste of Chicago (finally!) and I really enjoyed it. Then we made it to Grand Rapids where I waited at the hotel for the rest of my crew to join me as I had been bouncing from group to group all weekend.

Since we had seated shows for the show we opted to head to a locally recommended place – Hop Cat for dinner – but their 45 minute wait was cutting things a little bit too close. We went to a different restaurant instead where we ordered cherry coke that tasted like root beer? Upon returning to the venue the line was around the block and we waited a while before jumping in – finally made it in just minutes before Hanson took the stage and I am not sure everyone was actually inside yet!

The setlist was nothing too different for Grand Rapids and being in the seats made for a different perspective – the girl behind us was screaming that she loved Taylor like it was 1997. No one in the upper balcony seats were allowed to stand until Taylor demanded it so it was a weird vibe going on, but still a fun show. Taylor tried to do his side step with Isaac during Get the Girl Back but Isaac was having none of it. Andrew and Dimetrius were go-go dancing during one of the songs which was hilarious to watch. There also seemed to be a lot more children at this show than any of the others, I counted 5 or 6 down on the floor and imagine there were probably more in the seats as well.

After the show we decided it was our only chance all tour to try and get a photo with any of the guys and while all 3 of them came out it was very crazy and hectic and we couldn’t get up close enough to them before Taylor said security had to leave so they’d have to go. We encountered a couple of rude, pushy girls who were talking about how it was their first show. While I’m happy that so many old fans are returning, I wish things could be a bit more laid back at the bus areas after the shows. A nice, organized line is probably too much to ask for though ūüėČ

I am sad that the tour is over for me – even though i have 9 shows coming up in Disney World, it just won’t be the same as a full length tour show! But I am looking ahead to the Christmas tour which will be here before I know it where I will be attending 4 of the 8 shows!

Product Review: 30L Waterproof Lightweight Travel Backpack

After an unfortunate liquid-related accident with my former backpack on a previous Hanson trip, I had been in the market for something new. I was a bit picky because I had grown used to the pockets that my old backpack had on the outside and was quite pleased to see not only was this backpack from Cobiz on par with the outer pockets I was used to, it was also waterproof which meant it wouldn’t fall victim to another liquid-related accident.

The backpack comes in all of my favorite colors РBlue, Orange and Black.  Although I was tempted to get an orange one, and the blue color is VERY pretty I figured black would hide most of the travel wear and tear the best.

The cool thing about this bag is that it comes as a tiny little pouch. When you unzip it and open it you think it cannot possibly be a full sized backpack inside – but it IS! Even with my laptop and kindle inside I had plenty of room for everything I needed for an overnight trip and I could tell I would have no problem adding more to it for an extended weekend trip as well.

There are 2 pouches on the outer front, one is the inside out of the original pouch that it comes in. And I felt like the more I tried to unzip, the more pockets and openings I found, the bag just kept impressing me!

The backpack has 30 liters of roomy space along with 2 space bag layers to keep everything organized, close by and easy to carry. It has a special space for your laptop, a dedicated headphones jack and a built-in safety pocket to keep all your important items stowed.¬† The waterproof material ensures you can hike, fish, camp and hunt in a variety of weather conditions without worrying that your supplies will end up soggy and water damaged.¬† There are double shoulder straps to spread out the burden of whatever you are carrying without putting too much strain on your back.¬† And every backpack comes with a safety reflector strip sewn on, so you’ll know you have an extra degree of safety if you are out at night or on dark roads.

The backpack is available on Amazon.com for $18.99

I received this product at a discount in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated and all opinions are 100% my own.

Hanson in Boston

Sunday night was time for my second double header as I headed to Boston to see Hanson at the House of Blues. ¬†The line was around and around the block which was insane. Fortunately the Hanson.net Members Only Line was just finishing going in so we were able to hop in it and enter the venue. ¬†My seat was on the balcony on Isaac’s side – although since I had bought the tickets I was convinced I had the stadium seats. It was a nice surprise since the stadium seats were much further back than I had expected. If I leaned at just the right angle I could see all guys, but for the most part my view was Taylor and Zac and Isaac looking like he was in jail due to the bars around the balcony!

I opted to crowd watch a bit more this show than usual, probably because I had such a great view of the GA Floor below me and the Boston crowd did not disappoint. ¬†There were a couple of younger girls in the crowd singing along at what appeared to be the top of their lungs (with feeling) to every song. ¬†There was a girl dancing with the merch guy to Weird- ¬†complete with her twirling him. And that same girl’s reaction when This Time Around started was gold. Probably because it was the complete opposite to my usual reaction when they start that song.

Highlights included – me making it through With You In Your Dreams without crying (the trick is to try and ignore the fact that you are at a concert and check your social media accounts that you had neglected for the last hour or so) and I Don’t Want To Go Home as the encore.

We didn’t stay for the after party this night as it was a “school night” and I was disappointed to find out that Zac came out by the buses relatively quickly after the show – but I think the extra sleep before heading to work on Monday was more necessary than another photo with Zac. (At least, that is what I am going to keep telling myself)

Still one more double-header to go… and this time I’ll be adding 2 new states to my map!

 

Already Home
Waiting For This
Where’s The Love
Look At You
Tragic Symphony
Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’
Great Divide
This Time Around
Weird
Go
Madeline
Juliet
Strong Enough To Break
Penny and Me
Watch Over Me
With You In Your Dreams
On and On
I Was Born
A Minute Without You
Get The Girl Back
I’m A Man / Gimme Some Lovin’ / Long Train Runnin
MMMBop
If Only
Fired Up
In The City

Encore:
I Don’t Want To Go Home
Lost Without Each Other

 

Hanson New York City

Saturday September 30th Hanson brought the Middle of Everywhere Tour to Times Square and the Playstation Theater. ¬†This was my 3rd show on the tour in the US. This show was the first time that the I’m a Man / Gimme Some Lovin’ / Long Train Runnin’ medley made it in to the set in the US (I had previously seen them do it at a couple of shows in Australia)

It’s getting harder and harder to write about the show specifically – but at this show it seemed like someone was smoking weed up front – the smell was so strong (up there, I didn’t smell it) that even Zac called them out on it from the stage.

I have to say that the people that surround you at a show can make or break it for you and somehow I ended up with a bunch of people who broke it for me. ¬†I was seemingly accused of attempting to swipe the girl behind me’s leather jacket before the show even started. (Where would I hide it? Why would I want it?) A couple people stood and the people behind them had a cow [the aforementioned jacket girls] which led to the boyfriend next to me asking them to move which resulted on them instead standing on the rail and blocking MY view for the rest of the show. ¬†I was fully prepared to stand if the people legitimately in front of me were standing but I was not prepared for everyone behind/next to me to pitch a fit because they “bought seats for a reason” and “couldn’t stand”. ¬†If you have a legitimate medical issue that results in you being unable to stand – you should have talked to the venue about ADA seating. They were eager to fill the section as EVERY employee that saw me walk by asked if I wanted to sit in there – but I preferred to stay in the Mezzanine. Perhaps that was my mistake – but I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to see Zac from there and what I ended up with was being unable to see Taylor most of the time. A trade off I will take every time.

After the show we attended our first Dance Like You Don’t Care after party. ¬†Getting this organized was kind of a shit show as the venue had no idea how we even bought tickets. ¬†“How did you get tickets?” “Online” “Were they still available?” “As of last night”

They had us all sit in the mezzanine seats to clear the place out and it was like we were back in elementary school – they didn’t want us to move. Eventually we got permission to go to the bathroom or get food (since they would not be serving food after hours) but it all felt a bit like punishment for 8 year olds and we were worried we would end up with detention. ¬†Finally they came by to scan our tickets and then told us to go down to the stage row by row, which were the instructions we were following but I guess another worker didn’t like how we were doing it and wanted us to go back. It’s one of you versus hundreds of us, lets see how that works for you, buddy. (Spoiler: It didn’t) ¬†We ended up on the barricade and then waited… and waited… under an air vent for Taylor to make his appearance. ¬†He did shots with some of the crowd – one being my friend Samantha so that was cool and another notable point was actor Drew Seeley was in the crowd with his wife. ¬†We decided to make “No Diggity” our final song before heading out to get some cheesecake – and once he started up Katy Perry right after we knew our choice was correct.

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