“The girls” and I always come home from Hanson Day with a ton of stories. And this year’s was absolutely NO exception. In fact, this might have been the craziest Hanson Day weekend ever. There’s some gems in the text ahead – like the five lives we lived Friday evening, the story I can’t tell you, how we thought someone was murdered in our hotel and the girl in a headlock for trying to push forward at the Hop Jam. Seriously. The whole weekend, away from Hanson activities was kind of insanely crazy…but MAN did we have fun.
Here’s what we did this year:
After all five of us gathered at Katie’s house in Oklahoma City, we got up bright and early Friday morning and hit the road to Tulsa in Miss Delaney. Trips up the Kilpatrick Turnpike might be my favorite. We had fun creating our own on-the-go playlist, each of us picking a song to play when it was our turn. I learned the real story behind James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain”. (Sob!) And I played Limbeck’s “Home is Where the Van is” as we drove into downtown.
Once we arrived, we jumped in the gigantic check-in line that barely budged for the first 30 minutes. About 50 percent of a Hanson fan club weekend is spent standing in lines. Seriously. After getting checked in, we jumped in the photo line and within 20 minutes, we’d said hello to the Hanson boys, shook their hands and snapped a group photo with them. (My fave moment: the .02 second dirty look Zac gave Katie when she stopped right in front of him as he tried to reach out and shake my hand – priceless.)
From there, we got in our third line to browse the shop, tracked down Melanie and then got checked into our hotel. The band lectures started late in the afternoon, so it was back to Cain’s Ballroom after dumping all our luggage. Isaac’s lecture focused on a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of Underneath, their first album release on their 3CG Records label in 2004. He walked us through some songs, playing us tracks they recorded and never used. He completely ruined my favorite song on the album, “Broken Angel”, by telling us about the ‘funky chicken’ track. (Which led to Samantha randomly cawing like a chicken the rest of the weekend. Amusing.) And he generally geeked out over recording intricaties that about 95 percent of us didn’t quite follow.
Zac’s lecture followed. He has a knack for writing quirky, nonsensical songs, recording them and then sharing them with the fan club. At check in, we all received cards something akin to a mad lib and were asked to fill them out and hand them back in at the lectures. Using these cards, he wrote the bare bones of a song and then got on stage and recorded it in front of us. It was pretty cool to watch it person, and he even let us jump in and sing a chorus with him. I’m now officially a voice on six Hanson songs.
True to who they are, everything ran on “Hanson time” (ie LATE) so Taylor’s lecture got delayed until the next day. Some fans participated in the fan club dinners, so we got released…and that’s where our real fun Friday night began. After trekking to west Tulsa to a Mexican restaurant Lauren frequented growing up, we drank margaritas with mini bottles of champagne dumped in them, ate substandard Mexican food and then headed back to our hotel room.
Wired from the day, Lauren, Katie, Jenny and I decided to check out The Max – a bar named after the Saved By The Bell hangout we never quite make it to – and headed off. To our surprise, there was a line at the door, so we continued onto McNellie’s where Jenny had her first MMMHops (which she hated) and the rest of us drank better beers. I may or may not have tried to pay my tab using my Hanson fan club card. (I blame the placement in my wallet, not the drinks.)
After that, I’m not at liberty to discuss the rest of Friday night but I can share this. We lived about five lives in a span of four hours that involved: beer, rain, a Tulsa cop, an awesome country bar where I showed off my line dancing skills in my hipster-by-Tulsa-standards clothes, more beer and rain, Jenny getting hit on by I don’t know how many guys, and the whole thing ended with a bruise in the shape of California down half my thigh.
It took us awhile to get moving Saturday morning, but once we did we were off for more Tulsa fun: lunch at Joe Momma’s with our super fun waiter Andrew, wandering the Blue Dome Arts Festival (free coasters from Louis & Cluck!) and a hike over to the Hanson art gallery where Jenny, Melanie and I all bought prints of photos by Taylor.
Then it was time to get back to Cain’s for Taylor’s lecture. He had a camera set up on stage, and he walked us through a few photography basics before telling us about the headphone photos he’d taken for this year’s gallery. And then asked us to be a part of it. Prior to the weekend, the guys asked everyone to bring their favorite headphones with them. By geographic location, Taylor pulled fans on stage and took their photo. His computer was set up so we could see the monitor on a large pop-up screen and we got to approve his photos as he snapped them. (Lots of fun!)
After Taylor’s lecture, all three Hanson bros delivered their state of the band address (which wasn’t quite as thrilling as it sounded on paper, to be honest) and then we were all kicked out of Cain’s to turn it over for the concert. We bolted back to our hotel to freshen up, grab some dinner and get back to Cain’s. But we weren’t quick enough. Since the whole weekend had run late, we figured there was no way the show would start on time. Wrong! Second time in my life I’ve been late to a Hanson show, compounded by Katie realizing she’d left her phone at the restaurant we’d just come from. Though we missed most of the new fan club EP songs live, we got to hear a ton of stuff they don’t normally play, and having an electric show sure was a lot more fun this year.
Following the show, Katie, Sam and I bolted back to the restaurant to get Katie’s phone – success! Then it was back to Cain’s for the “after party” with DJ Taylor Hanson.
In all honesty, yes it was as laughable as it sounds. The drink lines were ridiculously long when we got inside. Taylor played a lot of really generic music – some of which was not even danceable, as you can see from Lauren’s outrage above – and the whole thing felt more like he invited us over to listen to him play his fave songs in his living room, not DJ. We even collectively flipped him off for playing “We Are Young” by fun…which I now realize their dad probably saw since he was floating around the venue. But we had a blast dancing like fools until past 1 a.m., and looking back this was probably my favorite part of the whole weekend.
Once back at our hotel, things got…crazy. We were all absolutely exhausted after running non-stop for two days on little-to-no sleep and just wanted to crash. I had to be up early to take Melanie to the airport in the morning. We were all taking showers and settling in.
And then a fight erupted in our hotel hallway. We’re still not entirely sure what happened, but security was called, a hole was punched in the wall and there was blood splattered down the hall. I was half asleep when I heard Katie say she thought someone was murdered. (No one was – apparently someone uninvited was at the hotel and got punched when he wouldn’t leave.) Tulsa, you sure have changed!
We checked out of our hotel and loaded up Miss Delaney with all our gear, expertly packed by yours truly. We visited Ida Red for a little shopping and decided we never want to shop there again because the entire staff acts so put-out by Hanson fans invading their store…even though they partner with Hanson to offer a discount to fans. We rode bikes along the river. We inhaled a plate of cheese fries at The Brook. And then we headed down to Hanson’s inaugural beer and music festival, The Hop Jam.
And I’d have to say it was a roaring success. A number of craft breweries from all over Oklahoma were invited to serve up their beers – all of which ran out within the first two hours. Some amazing bands, including my new music crush Butch Walker, played. Jenny and Lauren witnessed a couple Hanson fans get into a fight, complete with one girl in a headlock, for girls trying to push to the front. More craziness, more musical goodness and watching Hanson play a wonderfully upbeat set under the moon and stars in downtown Tulsa was a perfect ending to the weekend.
Now that I’ve written this all down…I’m amazed at how many fights we witnessed! Jenny and Lauren recapping that crowd fight was absolutely hysterical as we drove Lauren to her family’s house in Glenpool and then headed back to Oklahoma City so Jenny could catch her way-too-early flight. Those late night drives are the worst because not only is the weekend over, it’s one step closer back to reality.
It was a crazy one, but we sure did have a great fan club weekend this year, and I can’t wait for 2015.