August 5 – 10, 2022
Going to these three shows was never not an option for me. I grew up in southwest Michigan, right on Lake Michigan, and my family still lives in the area. I like to visit every summer, and this year Hanson’s tour fit perfectly into that plan. However, all of these shows were kind of out of the way for my regular travel buddies, so this bunch felt a little different than what I’m used to.
First up was Elizabeth, Indiana, which is basically Louisville, Kentucky. Originally, two of my friends were going to do this show with me, and they’re the ones who lucked out and pulled up front row seats for us. However, they had to back out due to personal reasons. But another friend of mine, who I have only traveled with a few times, was able to buy one of their tickets and join me pretty last minute. She had to fly in on the day of the show, and with it being so close to Nashville, I was already planning on working a half day then driving up. She had a small flight delay, but in the end we made perfect time getting to the venue just as the opening band was finishing up.
The set list for this show was similar enough to the others I’ve been to on this tour that I don’t have much new to say about it. However, they did pull a random Blues Brothers cover out of nowhere as an encore. Overall, the energy in the room was great, and there was no barricade between our seats and the stage. There was a security guard standing right in front of me the whole time (who thankfully wasn’t much taller than me), and that did get a little awkward when the crowd started pushing in during the encore. By the end, I felt like I was dancing for him, but I made sure my eyes were glued to Hanson. Highlights from the show include my friend celebrating her 100th show, a very confused look on Taylor’s face when everyone cheered during the Indiana mention in “Only Love” (I don’t think he knew what state we were in), and making a couple new friends who I got to see again later in the week.
The In Between
As I mentioned, visiting my hometown was the main purpose of this trip, so the next day I skipped Cleveland and Detroit and headed up to my mom’s house. Almost as soon as I walked in the door, my mom fed me some roast and fresh corn on the cob. (Tell me you’re from the midwest without telling me you’re from the midwest.) Thanks to tour, this was the first real homemade meal I had had in weeks. After an early dinner, we spent the evening in the pool and then watched the sunset over Lake Michigan from the lighthouse. If you’re up-to-date on my feud with Isaac over “River”, you’ll appreciate knowing that I kept laughing to myself knowing I was also watching exactly where this particular river flows. Over the next few days I got to see all of my immediate family, and then my mom and youngest niece made the trek with me to Grand Rapids.
When Grand Rapids tickets went on sale, my first thought was that it would be fun to take my mom and two nieces, even though none of them are Hanson fans. My mom is always up for live music (where do you think I got it from?), and one niece was on board, but after a week of camping, my oldest niece was feeling homesick so she didn’t come along. This was my niece’s first Hanson concert, and my mom’s second, as she accidentally ended up at Epcot the same day as Hanson a few years ago.
My mom gave a thumbs up to “Child At Heart”, “Hand In Hand”, and “Cold As Ice”. My niece seemed to have fun during the first half of the show, but with it being so late past her bedtime, she ended up falling asleep during “Write You A Song”. She later woke up during “Truth” with a bad bloody nose that preoccupied her and my mom for the remainder of the show. Overall, I’m glad I had the chance to take them with me, and I’m still determined to make a true fan out of at least one niece one of these days – after all, someone needs to drive me around from show to show when I get old and start losing my hair.
This show definitely felt different being with family who doesn’t care about the band as much as my ride-or-die friends, but in the end it was still a great show. (When has it ever not been? Well maybe that’s a story for another time.) They pulled out two older songs I hadn’t heard yet this tour, and I got to hear the “Truth” into “With A Little Help From My Friends” combo again, which I’m not mad about. Zac played “Wake Up” as his solo again, and while I appreciate his choice of a song from Blue, I’m still holding out hope to hear “World Goes Around” one of these days.
When following a band on tour, sometimes you choose shows because it’s a cool city you’ve never been to, or sometimes it’s a favorite spot, or a city your friend lives in. But sometimes you choose a show simply because it makes more sense to be there than it does to not be there. For me, that show this tour was Indy. I needed to be back to work on Thursday, and I had to drive through Indy to get back to Nashville from Michigan anyway; I couldn’t not go. But because of this, this was the one show where I didn’t have any friends or family with me. But in my experience, when you’re by yourself at a Hanson show, it’s impossible to feel all alone in a faceless crowd.
The set list for this show was fairly different from many of the others I had seen so far this tour (though I did get another front row Isaac “River”). They played “Save Me” as a full band, “Madeline” acoustic (what does it say that I knew exactly what song it would be when Zac was out front with a shaker?), and Taylor played “Rambling Heart” as his solo. I was getting to the point where I didn’t think I’d get to hear it at all this tour, so I was really happy to hear it. He of course changed the lyrics to include Indiana references several times, including a line about sweet corn. I can’t help but wonder if it was to make up for not knowing they were in Indiana on Friday night. The energy at this show was probably the second-best I’ve seen this tour, right behind New York City. This ended up being my favorite of the three shows on this leg. It feels like something has shifted in the past week, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the tour has in store.
After the show, I was a little slow getting out of the venue because I was trying to help some kids get some Isaac picks from the other side of the barricade, so I was surprised when I walked out and saw a mostly empty barricade by the bus. Zac came out quickly and signed my RGB album, but then I had to give up early on the other two as I needed to drive back to Nashville early the next morning to get to work on time. I got about 4 hours of sleep, followed by a 4.5 hour drive, followed by a 7-hour work day. Sleepless nights, long drives, and solo shows: worth it every singe time. It felt fitting that it was the last of this leg of shows that I finally got to hear “Rambling Heart”, because the lyrics feel so fitting.
Wherever I go is my home sweet home
Every note is my home sweet home
Never this heart’s beating alone.