Hanson Day 2024

I recently made my annual trek to Tulsa for my 14th Hanson Day celebration. It gets harder and harder to write about, especially since it is much of the same activities year after year. This year I went a day earlier than normal, to make sure I could attend Taylor’s Food on the Move lunch on Wednesday.  Monday when I was supposed to be packing I got the message that I and another friend were chosen to be the HTP Live Reporters.  No pressure!

Tuesday morning I left at 2:30AM only to find that the highway was a PARKING LOT.  I managed to get off an exit and do back roads to one more exit up – but it was still at a total standstill.  My flight wouldn’t board until 5am so I kept telling myself I had plenty of time – and finally the traffic started moving.  It was also my first time parking at a new lot as the one I used to park at closed abruptly earlier this year.  The flight was on time and I landed in Charlotte only to be told they had no wheelchairs and to wait.  We were waiting so long one of the flight attendants said “I guess they don’t want you to leave!”  Finally someone came with the chairs and pushed us to the top of the jet bridge.  Then we had to wait for someone else to come, who pushed us into a wheelchair pen.  I had a 3+ hour layover (on purpose for this exact reason) so they told me I’d be the last to leave but as people coming in after me were leaving before me I tried to tell them I was meeting friends for brunch and finally it was my turn.  My friends ended up taking over the pushing duties after we ate because I was told that they needed more pushers than they had available – and they kept firing people!

Our second flight seemed to be diverted due to weather (it was absolutely POURING on and off) and then they told us they’d be getting us a new plane.  Somehow the plane that was now circling the airport landed just before the new plane arrived at the gate – go figure! We ended up a little bit delayed but honestly, that’s nothing compared to other flying issues I have had!

That evening we ended up going to the Tulsa Drillers game since tickets were discounted to $9.18 and it was $2 Tuesday for hot dogs, soda and other items.  We left early since we were all exhausted from travel and the team was playing like a bunch of little leaguers. (They ended up losing, 6-3, when we left it was 6-1 so maybe we should have left sooner?)

Wednesday we headed to Taylor’s Food on the Move lunch where we had some home grown greens and locally sourced chicken sandwiches.  Taylor and his team spoke a bit about what they have been doing (LOTS of changes since we were on site last year) and what they are hoping to do in the future to help bring fresh produce to the community.   After the lunch there was a pop up registration which I worked after hitting up the store and spending nearly $400 on new merch.  For dinner we went to Cabin Boys which unfortunately was nothing to write home about, which is sad because it’s so close and convenient but even with us all getting different food, no one was really impressed with anything.  That evening we had to cram watching the EP Listening Party to come up with 6-8 questions for our interview the next day.

Thursday morning I worked registration again, watched everyone set up chairs for HTP and we formulated a plan to get me on stage.  I’ve been dealing with a lot of mobility issues and in Feb/March was unable to go up and down the stairs at my house – even with a railing on either side.  So the fact that I made it up there with no railing (but with 2 helpers) made me realize just how far I had come since then.  We hit up Mexicali’s for lunch and a pre-interview drink and then it was time to freak out for HTP.  We were given seats off to the side to get us as close as possible to getting on the stage, which meant we couldn’t see much due to a monitor on stage. This may have worked in our favor because by the time it was our turn I wasn’t really nervous anymore. It was kind of hard to hear the guys answering on stage, but from everyone coming up to me afterwards, we must have done a good job!

That evening it was time for karaoke, we hit up Empire for some pizza first and then hung out for about an hour of the karaoke before calling it a night.  Younger Hanson brother Mac was cohosting with Isaac.  Isaac kept saying he couldn’t sing with everyone because he had 2 shows to perform – but also couldn’t seem to stay away from singing with almost everyone.  Karaoke was at Cain’s for the first time – and while I liked that we had a lot more room – I do wonder if those performing were more nervous to be on such a big stage in a big room or not.  (I know that was a concern of mine with HTP! But with the way the chairs were situated, I could just look at Hanson and not have to look at the crowd, which I think helped!)

Friday morning we went to Pinot’s to paint our version of a Zac Hanson original.  I do wish they told us before we bought tickets which painting it would be – but it is always a fun time even if it’s not always something we would have chosen to paint.  This was my 3rd time and while I’m not sure it is an every year kind of activity, it is fun every now and then.  After we went to Yokozuna for Sushi.

Friday night was the paid add-on concert – Beyond Perennial.  They had made a few comments that they had named it wrong – but it was about a 50/50 split of what was on Perennial and what was not.  Rarest song award(s) goes to: Happy (1) and I’m Ready (2). Better Man and Grace Unknown full band are also rarer as they are typically done as solos.

After the show we went to a new restaurant – Fixins – for some chicken, cornbread, biscuits, etc. It was pretty good! But any time I have a large jug of Sweet Tea I am happy.

Saturday evening was the Members Only concert – which turned out to be a bit more Underneath than I would have liked.  The guys also announced a fall tour is coming that will hit 13 cities for 2 nights each and more info would be coming out in early June.  The highlight was of course hearing the new EP for the first time.  All the points taken away from Taylor for last second switching his solo from Be My Own to With You In Your Dreams. The other highlight for me was them doing a bit of Thunderstruck.  Wednesday night they had been in Oklahoma City to play at the half time of the Basketball Playoffs game for the Thunder and we couldn’t figure out a way to make it there – and once I saw they did Thunderstruck I was bummed – so I was happy that they included it in the show! But I found this setlist to be too festival-y and not enough member-y – even if the whole night before was all* members songs. (* technically not Nothing Like a Love Song)

For dinner we hit up Antoinette’s for pie night and then got ready for the space / star wars / y2k themed dance party!  I dressed as an Alien and dressed my walker as Buzz Lightyears Space Ship.  yay to Disney Store for not only having wheelchair costumes – but for putting it on clearance and allowing it to be cheap enough for me to do a “let’s see if this works” and it did!  We weren’t sure if Taylor was going to stick to a Y2K play list or not – turns out he did not – but it was still pretty decent.

Sunday I lounged around and updated my website and then we made the trek to Nothing’s Left.  For dinner we hit up the Tavern and I opted to not pack until Monday morning which I was pretty mad at myself for not even starting.

Monday we headed to the airport around 1 – as I was walking to get to my gate, Zac was coming through security and said safe travels and he will see us when he sees us… The first flight ended up taking off a bit late due to there being an automated power issue so the engines needed to be turned on manually, and then off again once we landed.  The second flight ended up being slightly delayed waiting for passengers luggage to get there.  Again, I’ll take it. Not bad at all!

And I may have booked another trip to Tulsa for December while I was there…

Caroline Rhea I Identify as a Witch tour – Medford, MA

Saturday night, May 11,  Caroline Rhea brought her “I identify as a witch” tour to Medford, MA. For this show Melissa Joan Hart would be joining her and since it was about 25 minutes from Salem I figured it was worth making a trip of it.
I ended up getting a front row center ticket which I wasn’t so sure about when I sat down, but both ladies were so funny I was cracking up the entire time.  Caroline even had me in tears a couple of times.  She asked if I came alone and I said I did and she said she loved that but that there was another girl there alone too and we should become friends.
There was a guy not laughing in the front row she wanted attention from, and was picking on him a lot. He was there with his husband. He said they were married 3 years and his husband said 3 and a half years.  Next to me was another couple who, in unison, said they were married for 7 years so she said that’s what they needed to aspire to.  She also was mocking anyone who left the front row to hit up the bathroom and absolutely lost it when someone had a “bird laugh”.
After the show I had a M&G where when I walked up Caroline said “Hey front row” and told me that I was the only one in the front row who knew how to behave.  We chatted a bit and then it was time for me to uber back to the hotel.
The next day I headed to Salem and met a friend and we wandered around a bit, went to the Witch Museum (honestly, not worth it, but had to see it for ourselves) and then did a trolley tour that took about an hour to see almost everything else.  Of my list of things I wanted to see in Salem we only missed 3 – but one isn’t open for the season yet so really only 2 – the memorial and the house of 7 gables.  I’ll definitely have to make another trip one weekend to try and see some more!

Matt Nathanson at Bethel Woods

Friday May 11, Matt Nathanson played a show in Bethel Woods, New York. This is the site where the Woodstock festival took place in 1969. They have a museum that I have been wanting to check out for quite some time now. So when I saw that Matt was going to be playing there? I jumped at the chance to get a ticket and for $10 was able to get an add on ticket to visit the museum before the show.

I made the 2 hour trek out to New York and got to the museum at about 5 o’clock. When doors to the show are gonna be opening at 7. I started my way through the museum. Learning all about the 60s and what was going on in the world and what led to the Woodstock festival happening as well as lots of videos from the event live performances and things like that. It was really well done and very colorful and I very much so enjoyed it.
It took me about 1 hour to go through but admittedly. I didn’t watch all the videos that they had, but the tour ends with a 21 minute video with some live performances from the festival, which was pretty cool. Of course, the end of the tour pops you in to the gift shop where I somehow managed to spend nearly a $100. Everything was a bit more expensive than I was expecting it to be, but there were a few things that I just had to have like my own peace and love VW bus because, why not?
They also have a small cafe on-site. I was able to get a wrap and some fries for dinner before the show which was incredibly convenient. The staff was all super awesome. Very kind, very helpful, very knowledgeable.
At 7 o’clock, it was time for doors for Matt, so I went into the event gallery, which is a round room with really cool ceilings and a giant fireplace.
A little bit around 8, Matt took the stage and said it, the only way that he was able to get to the stage was to walk down the middle aisle because he couldn’t come in from outside. So he ended up awkwardly standing outside the ladies room waiting to come up the stairs to start the show.
The show was a lot of fun as I expected. Every time I see Matt, I say to myself that I should travel and go to see him more. And then for whatever reason every tour I only end up seeing you once and then regretting not buy more tickets but hopefully, in the future, I will switch it up and do a little New England tour.
He played until about 10 o’clock. He told us a bit about his feud with Taylor Swift’s fans. And thought the room looked a little bit like a spaceship or that aliens were invading us, so there was a lot of talk about that and he ended the night singing Suspended from about 4 rows back standing on a chair with no microphone or amplification. And we all sang along with him. He seems to be very impressed by our singing along and singing back up because it was just him and his guitar. He didn’t have Aaron or anyone else with him. He was joking that he might not need to bring them on tour any more, because we did a great job.
I had seen on the news that the Northern Lights might be visible that night. I was hoping since we were pretty much in a field in the middle of nowhere, I could see something, but I couldn’t really see anything by the naked eye when I walked out. However, there were groups of people all with their phones pointed to the sky. And getting really excited, so I overheard them say that if you put your phone Night mode into take a picture through the camera, you’d be able to see the northern lights through the camera, so I figured what the heck gave it a try and oh my goodness, it was amazing. It’s very pink and there were various spots in the sky that had pink streak. I guess some people said that they saw green as well. My camera didn’t pick up on that, but that was pretty cool. I do wish that I could have seen them with my eyes and not through the lens, but it was still a pretty cool experience and a really amazing way to cap off a bit of a bucket list trip.
I’m probably going to have to head to Bethel again some time because it was raining and I wasn’t able to see the monument and I’ve also heard that they’re now doing golf cart tours where they bring you to the main gate and you can go on a tour and see every thing as if you were going to be attending the festival of Woodstock 1969. So that sounds pretty cool and it’s something that I definitely consider doing in the future if there was another show up that way that I wanted to check it out.
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