I was extremely excited when I found out Hanson was playing at the Orange Peel again. The concert there in 2008 was hands-down the best Hanson show I've ever been to, and the venue and staff were great, so a few friends and I decided to go all out for this show and get there early enough to be up front.
The camping part was actually pretty fun. One of my all-time favorite camping moments has to be when I woke up to hear a pedestrian telling someone "Tell them they don't have to camp to see Jesus!" in a very serious voice. I considered getting up and telling her not to worry, that I was totally capable of seeing both Hanson and Jesus one day.
The staff was so friendly and supportive of us, and they brought us water in a cooler and let us use their bathrooms multiple times. They also gave us a lovely chair leg "just in case." The night before the show, someone had rented out the venue for a sweet 16 birthday party, and we were kindly asked to disappear for several hours. They gave those of us who were there wristbands, and we went out and had some fun around the city.
There was also this neat little locally owned organic grocery store across the street and their ice cream freezer had broken down. It was horrible for them, but they started selling all of their ice cream (lots of brands including ben and jerry's, yum!) for $1 regardless of size/price/brand before it was all melted. We picked up several and sat around sampling them. I have to say the chai vanilla was my favorite.
I can't say much for the walk because I worked the walk table for the first time. Before the guys came out, William casually walked up unnoticed and asked what we were doing and what the table was for with a completely straight face. I played along and explained how Hanson would donate a dollar to one of five causes if he would fill out a card. He grinned, said he was kidding, then left. It was definitely an interesting experience, and much busier than I had anticipated (amplified a little by someone accidentally spilling an entire cup of coke all over the table during registration). By the end when the walkers returned and Taylor was telling everyone to register, we had to tell him that we were almost out of cards, and he ran inside to get someone to get more. There was a pretty big turnout, but it was also the shortest walk I've ever witnessed. Not counting the beginning or ending speeches, the walkers were gone for a total of 20 minutes! I hear it was pretty blistering, so maybe that's why.
The line got dramatic closer to the show because there were a lot of M&Gers and the will call tickets weren't released until 30 min. before doors, meaning there were tons of people milling around the front of the line who may or may not have belonged there. They came out and got those of us with wristbands and we got let in right behind the M&Gers, but I hear that things got chaotic after that. As happy as I've been with the Orange Peel, I'm sad for everone else who may have lost their spots. They were definitely more organized in 2008 when they gave the first 100 people color coded wristbands, but I can't be angry with how well I was treated personally (even got a high five and a "you made it!" from one of the employees when I thanked him as we entered).
My friends and I all ended up in the front row, and I was just a little to the left of the center. I didn't have high hopes for Delta Rae because I had lisetened to their demo while voting for the opener, and I just didn't like it. I'm SO glad they won, though, because they were pretty amazing. They had very strong voices that blended well together. I've loved Rooney for years, so I was very excited to see them too. They rocked, but it felt so short. I guess I got used to a long wait for Hanson during the Use Your Sole Tour.
It was SO hot waiting for Hanson to come on. The staff kept spraying the crowd with water bottles to cool us down, and it was much appreciated. I didn't even care that I got sprayed directly in the face at one point. The show itself was amazing and has definitely replaced the last Asheville show as my favorite show of all time.
The setlist was awesome. We got to hear Dancing in the Street for the first time, and I was really excited to finally hear Man from Milwaukee. The crowd was pretty energetic and the guys seemed really on as well. Things got really crazy when Give a Little was played.
At the beginning of Give a Little, Taylor walked off the stairs on the side of the stage and came back with a guy dressed as one of the Blues Brothers. The guy proceeded to dance to the whole song--and very well, might I add. It was so fun and unexpected; a nice surprise to throw in that none of us saw coming. After the verses ended, the guys kept playing in the background while Taylor talked. He said something to the effect of guys needing a little encouragement, and he rubbed his body mimicking how one should dance for the right effect. Then he pointed at me and motioned for me to join him on stage, and at that point, I knew it was going to be my favorite show forever. This could never be topped for me, and I'm okay with that.
For some strange reason, it didn't occur to me to turn him down. When Taylor Hanson is asking you to get on stage with him, you don't stop to weigh the pros and cons (or at least my adrenaline rush prohibited me from doing just that). I used my arms to boost myself up on the barricade (which came up to just a few inches below my shoulders--I'm 5'2" as is evident in the giant gap between our heights), and with a combination of my arms, my friends around me shoving me upwards, a security guard spotting me, and Taylor pulling me from the stage, I managed to get up there without falling and breaking anything.
It was completely unplanned (on my end, at least), and I had no clue what he was wanting me to do. I assumed he was about to teach the crowd a dance or something and use me to help lead. I thought that was doable since I did live through the TBS video shoot. Once on stage, I couldn't hear a word he was saying into the microphone. I can't tell you how nerve wracking it was to be standing up there, watching Taylor talk and point at me, and having no clue what he was saying. I got really worried that he was somehow explaining what I was supposed to be doing and was completely unaware that I couldn't hear him. I got even more nervous as I heard the crowd respond to whatever he was saying. They would intermittently erupt with cheers and screams in response to something he said, which was both exciting and worrisome. I knew SOMETHING exciting was happening, but had no clue what, and it suddenly seemed like I was the only one in almost a thousand people left clueless. I was shocked when he came over and started dancing with me. It was just so sudden--no explanation, no time to react--and there was no easing into it.
If you've seen the videos, you'll know I can't dance. My apologies for any awkward second-hand embarrassment. Had I known what was going to happen or had enough common sense to outweigh the adrenaline rush of the invitation, I might have declined. But as awkward as it was, I'm glad it happened.
Speaking of awkward, have I mentioned what a bad dancer I am? I'm talking sat-glued-to-a-chair-to-avoiding-dancing-at-prom bad. Or maybe it's not that I'm so terrible, but more of a mixture of moderate terribleness and severe lack of self confidence in that department. I'm going to blame part of the awkwardness from this particular occasion though on the whole taboo of getting into a Hanson's personal bubble (that and, you know, being in front of 900 or so people). He's a married man that I don't know, and it's always just been law in my mind that you don't touch the guy. Why else would people get so excited over having him shake their hands, or put a hand on their shoulder in a picture? He's off-limits. Even with him clearly trying to dance with me, it felt wrong or dangerous to get too close, like I might be misinterpreting his actions and do something to get in trouble. I remember pulling back at one point when he spun me and tried to pull me into him again because my brain was still shouting at me that I was crossing lines that I wasn't supposed to be crossing.
So Taylor tried his best to lead me, and I tried my best to follow. I'm not sure if anyone could tell, but I forgot to change shoes before the show and was wearing rainbow flip flops. How I managed to step on the slick barricade and not fall on my head is something I can't explain. Seriously--one wrong step would have been the difference between becoming "that girl that Taylor pulled on stage" and being dubbed "that girl that pulled Taylor off the stage." Let's not even think about how badly that could have gone. Anyway, I actually lost one of my shoes while we were dancing and had a fleeting thought about how this was taking the whole barefoot thing a little too far. I debated trying to retrieve it, but thankfully realized how awkward it would be to stop dancing to get my shoe, so I let Taylor step all over it instead.
I was more comfortable with "Elwood" because he wasn't trying to do anything too complicated, thankfully (maybe wisely learning from my ineptness with Taylor?). There was an awkward moment where I tried to twist down (during the "oh oh oh" part), only I didn't realize we were so close that his knee was directly underneath me. So instead of doing a cute twist, I created a pretty awkward PG-13 grinding motion down onto him by accident. Oops! When it was over, there was lots of hugging and general happiness on stage. I was directed to the stairs to leave because it would have been too difficult to get back in my spot over the barricade. On my way, I was congratulated and high fived by a few women standing off to the side near the stage, and no one gave me a hard time about getting back in my spot up front.
The whole "what the heck did I just do?" mentality didn't set in until way later, and I went through the rest of the show kind of dazed. I'm generally a calm person, so I can honestly say there was no crying or screaming on my part (thankfully, right? Just how awkward would it have been if he pulled a screamer up there?). Instead, I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I still can't. About halfway through Dancing in the Street I realized I had been replaying the whole thing in my head and not enjoying the awesome new cover, so I snapped back into it a little and was able to enjoy the show in front of me again.
I've also got to say that as shy and nervous as I usually am (I used to literally shake when I had to give a presentation in front of a class of 20), I wasn't nearly as nervous as I should have been up there in front of so many people. I think knowing that the crowd was just as shocked as I was made it a little easier. I also knew most of the people in the front row, so when I looked out into the crowd, really all I was seeing was my friends being excited for me (side note: the handful of goofy faces I made were in response to people in the front row giving me that "can you believe this is really happening right now?" face. I should have saved my "no, I really can't" faces for later, but what's done is done). Which leads me to another revelation I had--Hanson actually can see us in the crowd. I was always under the impression that the spotlights make it pretty hard to see the crowd. Not the case, at least not for the people up front. I could see them just as clearly as when I was standing beside them.
But I digress.
The day ended with my friends and I sitting in a parking lot taking pictures with each other, and a horrible moment where I borrowed one of their SD cards to upload to my laptop and in a rush of excitement, stuck it in my disc drive. With some tweezers and a hairclip, we were able to retrieve it. It's kind of a miracle that I was able to operate a car after that, but none of us lasted too long and we had to stop to sleep after hitting up a Waffle House looking like a bunch of crazy people on drugs.