house of blues
november 12, 2005
- In a way: Thanks
to Melanie for letting me in on the secret title of this new song. The
curtains opens to Isaac with guitar, as per usual. Taylor (!) on drums.
Zac on keyboard. What a pleasant surprise! I only caught the word "spotlight"
somewhere in the lyrics. I wondered temporarily, "Am I a true fan?
Do I even know what the band is up to these days?"
- Desire (U2): This
was a fun song . . . Another, thanks for the "heads up" from
the New York crew.
- A Minute without You:
My sister was still singing a few bars of this song after the concert.
Other than that, she pretty much down-played the remaining parts of
the concert. Except to say, "It was fine" or "Taylor
is really good on the keyboard."
- Thinking of You:
I took this item on the setlist as personal affirmation of my penchant
for this song in concert!! I've remarked on it many times during concert
recollections and it has made a rare appearance here and there. What
a lovely gift! Oh how I love this song, and the gang seemed to throw
extra percussion, extra vibes into the Bam Bam Bam! section. It felt
like an intimate wink from the band, however unfounded that may be.
I'm not even sure if this was where it fell in the setlist since I had
forgotten to write it down in my concert excitement upon first absorbing
the opening notes of this beloved song.
- Runaway Run: It was
not the haunting "And I waited . . . " version. No, it was
"live and electric." What did I expect? (c;
- Can't Stop: I found
this song a random and unexpected choice. Even Melanie, who has seen
much more Hanson and is less easily surprised by the band, agreed that
this selection was somewhat out of the blue.
- Weird: A relatively,
gentle Taylor moment. I've always had a special place in my heart for
this song. It was really sweet. A nice throw-back to the early days.
- Down: Shocking! Again,
not having kept up on recent concert setlists, I was taken aback by
this "hanson.net only" release . . . Is this an example of
a b-side? I'm not fluent in music speak.
Although, not a huge fan of that members exclusive--what was it, an
EP?--I did feel honored to have been favored by this rare concert choice.
There's something uniquely Zac about "Superman's all covered in
rust. All of my dreams gone bust." Melancholy and very personal.
- Hand in hand: Was
Isaac windmilling on this selection? Who knows? I'm sure even casual
readers of this website are aware of my distaste for this song. When
I whispered this to my sister, she found it amusing.
- Strong Enough to Break:
What a reassuring, acoustical arrangement of this song. I enjoyed its
The band paused at this point to issue the all-too-common request to
the crowd up front to take a step back. Stop pushing.
- Penny and Me: The
band mentioned that they had not really played this familiar song acoustically
very much during the tour. One of them added, "If at all."
It was breezy and, well, familiar. I'm not sure if the acoustical nature
of it was a compliment, a special favor for Cleveland. But I decided
to interpret this gesture in this way. Again, my vanity becomes apparent.
Yet, the fact that NYC is mentioned by name, I will forever associate
this song in concert with the warmth and adoration it enjoys in New
York, New York.
- A Change in My Life (Rockapella):
Secretly, I came to the concert expecting that if I didn't hear this
cover, I would be crushed. I'm glad that I wasn't forced to experience
the disappointment in order to discover if my prediction were true.
The band hushed the crowd. And the crowd, surprisingly, obliged. It
was downright reverent in the House of Blues. Hanson's unadulterated
harmonies holding the room in a vice grip. Yes, I was enthralled.
- Every Word I Say:
As endearing as this song is, I'm beginning to conclude that it was
a Summer of 2004 concert ritual which has lost its potency for me. It's
possible that I'm losing the ability to respond to it . . . but why,
I can't say. Don't get me wrong. It was still pretty joyful and energy-charged.
- You Never Know: As
the band began to play this one, you could read it on people's faces,
"Oh yeah. That one." The gun reference in this song made me
wonder if Hanson was aware that rifle season (hunting) begins on Tuesday.
A little regional flavor thrown in there. Or not. (c;
- If Only: The girls
standing next to me were especially thrilled by this song, as I heard
them earlier singing a few bars among themselves. Almost as if, they
were trying to telepathically transmit their request to Hanson.
- Long Train Running (Doobie
Brothers): I'm going to have to confirm this with others who attended
this show. I'm pretty sure this is what the band said they were playing.
I thoroughly enjoyed rocking out to this tune! Real bluesy!
- Where's the Love:
For all the chaperones and "tag alongs" as my sister referred
to herself, this is definitely a song in which long-time fans separate
themselves as a unique entity with the lasso spinning during "round
and round and . . . round."
- Crazy Beautiful:
Taylor ordered the crowd to begin snapping rhythmically. For a split
second, I wondered if this foreshadowed, "Rip it up" which
I adore! But no. However, Crazy Beautiful is not too shabby. The first
line makes me uncomfortable, but other than that, the chorus is a fun
- Rock 'n Roll Razorblade:
The fact that the band enjoys this song, warms my heart even though
I don't share their sentiment. It's an anthem to their passion to reform
the music kingdom.
- This Time Around:
There is a sense that this song truly cheers the band up when their
spirits are flagging. I am happy to oblige. At the same time, it's starting
to feel a tad patronizing, maybe a bit forced when Taylor dons his maestro
cap and leads the crowd, exhorting us to reach his own personal fever
pitch. Shrug. Maybe I'm getting a little jaded.
- Feelin' Alright:
Thank you, Hanson! The band emits subtle gestures in response to fan
webpages. I imagine these gestures are only in response, if you're vain
enough to believe a song you requested a week before a concert you attend
is actually on the setlist. I guess, I'll take what I can get. I was
personally gratified to hear this song. I fell in love with it, predictably
in response to its exposure in "Penny and Me."
Ironically, there's something breezy about it as, despite the title,
the song concludes with, "not feelin' so good myself . . . ".
Additionally, this selection offers a window into the band's personal
song collection, beyond the usual "50s and 60s rock and roll"
and recently the all-too-repetitious, "Da'vid Garza" and "U2"
Incidentally, Taylor climbed on his piano as the band came out for the
- Look at You: I felt
personally vindicated by this selection. I will explain in a moment.
But first, before this evening, "Look at you"
has never really gotten past an acknowledgment of, "Man, how the
band loves this song. What a blast to hear them play it with all their
enthusiasm and might!"
My vindication: Well, throughout the evening, my sister and I were surrounded
by non-dancers and, if measured on a Hanson-fan scale, I can only classify
these fellow concert goers as part-time fans of the band. I submit evidence
of this fact in the glances, whispers, and giggles aimed in my direction--due
in part to the fact that I had taken "Look at You" virtually
as a command from Hanson themselves. From "A Minute without You"
until quite literally the last song, I was rocking out . . . pausing
for breath only during, yes, "Hand in Hand."
Melanie, graciously, found this explanation of my concert behavior amusing.
Which allowed me to take my appreciation of Hanson's final song to a
whole new level. Thank you for allowing me to meet you in Cleveland.
The band went wild during this number. They took turns jamming on their
respective instruments, culminating with Zac, I'm pretty sure, breaking
a drumstick in a final drum-beating crash, as he is wont to do.
watch me bleed
This was my sister's 5th concert with me and, even though, she didn't
say it, I knew it would be her last. She's getting married next May and
was not really all that thrilled about attending. However, she gave up
2 days of her life for Hanson--a band that she takes pains to downplay
and make less than flattering remarks about. At the same time, occasionally
she expresses appreciation for Taylor's keyboarding ability or a fleeting
smirk on Zac's face. We both laughed a bit at Isaac's antics on his guitar,
especially, in Janell's words, "He isn't even playing an electric
Yet, I am conflicted, because
I definitely do not enjoy being mocked, even lovingly about my fanhood,
but I am also fully aware of the support my sister offers that many others
have withdrawn in regard to my appreciation for Hanson.
Is it in any way fair to take
into consideration a person's ability to accept your Hanson fanhood as
a measure of the strength of your relationship with him or her? My friend
Amy was not only willing to attend a Hanson concert with me, but eager.
Unfortunately, the Minneapolis concert was scheduled the same weekend
as my cousin's wedding. Amy's offer to accompany me to a concert alone,
affirms my occasional skepticism about lasting friendships.
This undercurrent of mocking
was addressed by Hanson in a recent interview. I was almost driven to
tears (dramatic, but surprisingly true) by how amazingly generous Hanson
is to consider taking a measure of responsibility for some of the mocking
their fans endure (pre-show interview with Melanie, November 2005).
To contemplate a responsibility
in the situation at all, is an indication of the band's integrity. Proof
that their "watch me bleed" poem is very real. It's less an
inward-centered, narcissistic exercise, and more an aspiration to be more
Christ-like, self-sacrificing. Some may consider this a god-complex, but
I would assert the opposite is true. Truly humbling to both offer yourself
to others, but also accept others' pain.
public urination and other
Before my sister
and I got out of the car, we glanced over to see a person urinating on
the sidewalk a few feet in front of where we were parked. We decided to
avoid eye contact while staying behind locked doors until this person
wandered down the avenue. Later, directly in front of the House of Blues,
an intoxicated man was being escorted into a waiting police SUV, with
his pants falling below his exposed rear. Those of us in line averted
our eyes, while grimacing to each other, remarking on the shame this person
must be experiencing.
When my sister and I searched
for a safe place to rest our gaze, we found two women walking their dogs.
When the dogs lifted their legs, we burst out laughing. What are the chances!
Oh Cleveland, we will try our best to prevent these three incidences from
defining your, I'm sure, glorious city.
The staff at the Cleveland
House of Blues was less than hospitable. Within the first 10 minutes of
being allowed to enter, I was asked to leave 3 places:
- what my sister and I perceived
to be designated as the 21-and-over section--which turned out to be
reserved seating (The same area at the Chicago HOB, and Melanie ruefully
remembered at Irving Plaza where as a "minor" she had been
abandoned by others, was not reserved seating, but indeed for those
of legal drinking age. Hrumph!)
- the lobby area where the
merchandise table was located
- the landing between the
Melanie joked, "I guess
nobody wants us here. They want us to leave. In fact, Hanson wants us
all to go home." Insulting, really.
Our concert ticket indicated
7 p.m. as the starting time. Hanson took the stage at 10 p.m. It smacked
slightly of unprofessional. But there's probably a perfectly good explanation.
Chicago fans are simply not used to this time discrepancy, as the local
curfew in the Windy City curtails shows at right around 10 p.m.
I see Melanie out of context
How fun suddenly
to come upon Melanie as she and Lily walked by our spot in line. We were
all being blown by an unusually mild, yet blustery November wind. Lily
generously offered me an exclusive poster of her art commemorating the
Cleveland concert. A rare and unexpected gift of her talent. Thank you,
Melanie is the ebullient, yet
pensive fan I met at Irving Plaza in the Summer of 2004. I met her at
the location where the New York fans ripped my fan status to shreds with
their inside knowledge and larger-than-life ardor for the band. Melanie's
presence in Cleveland was a reminder that even in the midwest, the heights
of my Hanson fanhood are called into question for all the right and all
the wrong reasons.
For instance, the opening bands
made reference to the fact that they were recognizing Hanson regulars
from previous shows, earlier that week or possibly from those who might
have camped out at the House of Blues the night before, reminiscent of
New York City. It's hard to figure out which.
Melanie was also instantly
surrounded by fans from Kentucky, Utah, New York, Hawaii and yes, Ohio.
This had me wondering, just how many people in attendance were from the
Cleveland area. My guess is that if it were anywhere near 50%, that would
be optimistic. And I dared to operate under the impression that my 6 hours
of driving--12, all told--was slightly over-the-top?!! Pshaw! I was not
even going to be following the band to their Cincinnati show (Sunday,
the following evening)!! How dare I consider myself a Hanson fan?!!
thoughts on the opening
The first band, forgive me for not knowing their name, began
a few bars of "Misery" and then stopped. Which I found mildly
interesting. In an otherwise male band, the female singer reminded me
of Gwyneth Paltrow from a sketch she did on Saturday Night Live.
In it, Gwyneth had dressed as a coffee-shop poet wannabe with men agreeing
to anything that she espoused to believe, due to her allure and raw appeal.
For this reason, the singer made me grin.
The second opening act, the
Pat McGee Band. had a congo drummer who was fun to watch . . . athletically
beating away during several songs. One of the band members also praised
the bartender, "The bartender is not very busy tonight, but he is
getting into the music!" as the otherwise somewhat idle barkeep stood
on the bar, enthusiastically clapping along. This comment affirmed my
sister's theory that the crowd was mostly under 21. I futilely begged
to differ. As a sidebar, Janell did notice, approvingly, that more guys
were in attendance.
McGee Band ended with 2 crowd-pleasing covers with strong ties to Hanson
concerts: American Girl (promised in their tour book) and I
Want You to Want Me (an infamous Zac song). All the world is Hanson
when it comes to . . . well, Hanson.
Captured on a recently acquired camera phone. I need a real camera, obviously.
of Blues: Cleveland
Hearts on Fire
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