For a few weeks in 1998, I waited eagerly by the mailbox every day until the VHS tape my parents ordered came in the mail. As soon as I got my package, I squealed with prepubescent glee because I had finally gotten Hanson's live "Tulsa, Tokyo, and the Middle of Nowhere." Considering my parents couldn't handle a concert full of screaming girls, I had to settle for the VHS. To my advantage, however, this live tape was something I could put in and watch over and over.
Now, at 28 years old, I realize I did myself a disservice by never taking that little girl to a Hanson concert, so when I found out they'd be playing in Atlanta I decided it was imperative to go.
But waiting in line before the show was cool because I met their dad. I thought he was just some random guy talking to a bunch of strangers, but I realized who he was; being in the presence of the man who raised greatness made me a little star-struck. I was in the presence of greatness after all.
Once we were shoved inside by the flow of super fans, it was time for the opener. After we heard from Mr. Paul McDonald (whose stuff you should really check out), I thought I'd be fine once Hanson took the stage.
After McDonald left, my friend Brittany looked at me and said "now, we're one step closer to Hanson time." Of course she was joking, but for me it was serious. The 16 year build-up to see my tween heartthrobs was getting pretty intense with each passing second. At last the clock struck 8:25 p.m. about 45 minutes after the opener. The lights went dim and then they got bright and Taylor (aka Tay) ran out on the stage followed by Zac and Issac (aka Ike) and I was stopped in my tracks. I couldn't move. It finally happened, I was in the same room with Hanson and nothing in my life had ever felt like this.
The trio of greatness is very talented. What I did not know is that Zac is a sensational singer. Although, he had quite a time trying to sing Lulabelle in Virginia because drunken heckling girls were screaming profane things at him. Make no mistake, Atlanta was definitely not too good to act a little crazy and that's my only complaint. Channeling my inner fifth grade self I had to get right up front and not only were the girls too loud and talkative and all on their phones, a particular blonde girl shoved herself in between my friend and I screaming out to Zac mid song, "Move your hair so we can see your beautiful face."
He obliged but even asked beforehand for people to be quiet so that he could sing the certain song he was unable to sing in full without interruption in Virginia. Having been extremely annoyed by this girl, I moved. This was of course after I spilled a little of my drink in her hair since she wouldn't stop getting in my personal space and had zero regard for my Hanson experience. Ultimately, I left my friends to stand by myself in a crowd of people who understood the value of personal space.
As the show went on they played songs from the new album "Anthem" as well as songs from "Middle of Nowhere," "This Time Around," "The Walk" and "Shout it Out." One song they played in particular that made my experience entirely worth it was "With You in Your Dreams." If you've always listened to the Middle of Nowhere version, you have to hear it live because it is so much better. But the value of the music wasn't the only thing that got to me; I teared up during that song. The water works flowed. I am not ashamed to admit this.
A part of me was reminded of that naive time of careless childhood that we all wish we could get back or remember at some point in our lives. You know, the girl whose biggest excitement and worry is getting their favorite band's VHS in the mail. It made me realize that also the part of childhood we all cherish doesn't have to leave. It's just different. It isn't gone and it never leaves.
Hanson was oblivious that I made this connection with them, because I don't know them personally. But Taylor was also unaware that I planned to marry him when I was 12, maybe that is why he is married now with 5 kids I guess. Just kidding. But really? Why didn't you marry me Tay?
But growing up and even now the moments I spend with them via music mean a lot to me.
That said I didn't know how talented Hanson was until I saw them live. But the trio isn't just a boy band with great hair. They are multitalented musicians and philanthropist family men who don't stop smiling and they aren't former kid stars who sold out to shock people. They stuck true to their roots and aren't ashamed of the hit that made them famous. Their version of "MMMBop" is also better live (just saying).