I didn’t cut my Hanson Day wristband off until two days after I got home. Buzzed on a steady stream of Dr Pepper, I got almost no good sleep all weekend, and I was crashing hard. As I lay in bed, I finally got David to cut off the little plastic clasp that held on the plastic band that had been my ticket into the concert, the lecture, the State of the Band talk, the afterparty, photos with the band, and the I ♥ Hanson pop-up store. Even then, I wasn’t ready for the party to be over.
Some people flew to Tulsa, but I drove — it’s four long hours through the flat, arid Texas panhandle and then four more through ever-lusher Oklahoma to Tulsa, which is refreshingly green and humid. It was a lonely drive, but I didn’t stay that way — I went straight to the airport to pick up Bean, we checked into our hotel downtown, then picked up Tara. Hanson Day is special not just for the events but also for the chance to see friends I don’t get enough time with, girls I met through the band who became some of my best friends.
Friday morning started too early. Knowing we wouldn’t have time to come back to the hotel, we got dressed for the pictures happening that afternoon before walking to Cain’s for check in. I made a mistake and wore wedge sandals, since for some reason I always end up in the back for group pictures, but I only made it about halfway there and had to take off my shoes. It wasn’t like it was the first time I’ve walked around downtown Tulsa barefoot. We checked in to get our wristbands and pick up movie tickets and copies of this year’s membership CD, and then went straight to the gallery. Last year, we missed it altogether when lectures ran overtime; this year I’d saved up hoping to buy one of Zac’s paintings. In line, we ran into some other friends and spent the wait talking with them. By the time we got into the gallery, of course the paintings were all sold, but the guys did put out a gallery keepsake book with prints of them all, and I ordered three photo prints from the shoot they did for Inside the Box because I couldn’t narrow it down further than that. They don’t always make things fair to everyone, but they seem to try like hell.
We went from the gallery straight back to Cain’s to join the line for photos with the guys. It took another hour to get through, and sure enough, I was in the back, but I wasn’t complaining.
I don’t think I want to know what the other dress would have looked like. But hey, at least I didn’t feel so short.
Lectures were due to start right then, but we walked over to Mexicali’s because we didn’t want to wait five more hours to eat. We kept an eye on our phones for texts from people who were still at Cain’s, and made it back before we missed anything. Thank god for Hanson time.
Lectures are relatively new; the guys only started them last year. Taylor talked about the meanings songs have to us and called up a few people who had submitted stories he thought were interesting and got them to share with us. Isaac talked about some songs from This Time Around, letting us hear alternate takes and certain parts soloed (including a rare Zac-on-low part of “Lonely Again” that he evidently didn’t want us to hear that way — sorry, Zac!). Zac recorded a song with us that he wrote based on votes to polls he’d put up on the website — even when looking back, he wasn’t totally sure what he’d meant when he asked a question, or he’d been looking a vote for “robot” over “human” and hadn’t gotten it. (Again, sorry!) Between all three, it was a fascinating look into their craft — from an idea to the nuts and bolts of getting a song recorded to what we make of it after its release.
Having cheese fries for dinner at The Brook, I kept thinking I heard Zac at another table. That’s the funny thing about Tulsa — there are countless other guys there who look like the guys, or speak like them, and out of the corner of my eye or overheard in a crowded room, I get that ping of recognition. Massive talent aside, it’s times like that, in context of their hometown, that I can see they really are just normal people.
For Movie Night, we got a triple-feature this year: The Walk Acoustic Live, Tay’s Music Exchange, and Deconstructed Anthem. I’ve got all of them at home, but it’s different seeing them in a real theatre on a big screen with popcorn — somewhere between a concert and Mystery Science Theater 3000, if your friends are funny enough. We sang along, but it didn’t sound like many other people did. C’m’on, people. It’s a concert DVD we’ve all probably seen half a dozen times, not church.
(Read part two here!)