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 🙁
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 😉
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!