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!