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House of Blues, Chicago
Tuesday, November 11th, 2003

I took a half-day on Tuesday, November 11th so I could get down to Chicago at a reasonable time. During 3rd period, I was silently expressing my anticipation to Brenda, one of the students here at RTHS who is also a Hanson fan, and whom I knew would be there. My friend Mandi couldn't go (ironically, she was visiting family in Tulsa), so hubby Adam went with me--his first Hanson concert and my second! He enjoys the music, but certainly not to the extent that I do! We took the train down…needless to say, Adam wasn't exactly thrilled about standing outside for four hours waiting for a concert that he was not 100% gung-ho about attending in the first place. We wandered around Chicago for a bit, and finally found the House of Blues around 3:30 p.m.

At first, I thought the line wasn't bad, until I was informed that the first 300 people, who had gotten a first-in pass thing, were on the other side of the building! I wandered over there, looking for friends…I found Kim, Rebel, Megan, Kat, Meredith, and Rosie--finally, I got to meet Rosie! It's nice to see other IL St-ers. I also saw Melanie, whom I'd met at the Cleveland concert.

We went back to our proper place with the peons on the other side of the building and took up residence behind Gaby and Sean, a high-school couple from Crystal Lake. I was also a few people behind Laura, another of my fellow IL ST-ers. We were hungry, so Gaby and I went into the restaurant to get a couple appetizers to go and bring them back out to our men in line. Yummy stuff--we had chicken quesadillas and a weird but tasty chicken Caesar pizza thing.

The security guards started coming around about 6:30ish, maybe, and pulling guys. Adam was pulled, as was Gaby's boyfriend Sean. We found out later from the security guards that they were being pulled so they could be up front--more guys for camera time. The guards assured us we'd be able to get up with them. Yeah, right. Anyway, Gaby and I tried to contain our excitement…tried being the operative word!

Somewhere in there (I think it may have been before Adam was taken away), we saw Natalie and Ezra make a beeline from the hotel across the street to the HOB entrance. Natalie looked beautiful; all I can remember specifically about her is that she wore her hair down and had a beautiful fuchsia flower in it. Jordan Ezra, the first Hanson offspring, is a total pudge, but in an adorable-baby way. How a baby that "fluffy" can come from two skinny parents is beyond me. Aside from that, you could tell by looking at him that he looks a lot like Taylor.

Once we finally got in, I set out to find my husband. Gaby found Sean right away and clamored over people to be with him on stage left/audience right ("Taylor's side," for those of you not familiar with stage terms). I waited for a while near the bar on the same side, waiting for a security guard to give me the promised escort up front to where Adam was waiting (Sean had told me he was on the other side). I waited, chatting for a few minutes with a couple plainclothes security guards, and waited, chatting with some more fans, and waited some more. After a while, Adam comes up to me. I panicked, asking him "Why did you leave the front?!" He explained, "I couldn't deal with the pushing and bitchiness, and I didn't think you'd be able to get to me even with a security escort, so I figured we could watch the show together from somewhere." (Insert "AWWWWW" here!) He gave up a primo spot right in front of Zac's bass drum to enjoy the concert with me. Yay. Oh, and to get away from the bitches. Or so we thought…

But first, let's jump ahead to Navy Pier, July 31st, 2004...I'm sitting next to Jen (Hanlopedia), and since it was the first time we met, we were sharing Hanson stories. I told her about Adam's brief adventures at the front, and she asked, "Wait...does he have red hair and glasses?" I verified that he indeed does, and she said, "No way! My friend and I have been making fun of him ever since then!" Apparently, when Adam got too fed up with the whole thing, he threw his arms in the air and proclaimed, "This is SO not worth it!" and wiggled his way out of the crowd, keeping his hands up in the air so as to not touch anyone he wasn't supposed to be touching. Now, the "This is SO not worth it" line is a running joke among a small group of H.netters.

Back to November 2003, and more on the bitchiness he experienced…I've had this verified by KaneRobot that the girls up front were NOT happy about the guys getting pulled. One fan accused Hanson of trying to be something they're not. It's not like they pulled guys off the street--these guys were already going to be at the concert, most likely because they like the music. Sheesh. Anyway, Adam got offered money to switch places with a couple girls (I slyly told him he should've tried to ask for more!), and there was general complaining about how the guys didn't belong there and didn't deserve to be there. Adam made the mistake of not taking his coat off soon enough, and people were pushing into him so hard, he didn't think he would be able to remove it at all. Ergo, he left the hell of the front to be with me and to be able to breathe.

So, we ventured around the place…I spotted Micah, chatted with him for a bit, and once we ascertained there was no way in you-know-where we'd be able to see from the floor, we went to the balcony/bar area, where only 21+ were allowed.

We found some prime spots on audience left/stage right ("Isaac's side"), right by the left followspot, behind three girls in their early 20s. They seemed fine, until a security guard came up to them and said that they needed to get off the stools that had "Reserved for Handicapped" signs on the seats, because they had a handicapped woman coming up. They murmured their displeasure, but complied. Once they realized the "handicapped" woman was "just" 7 months pregnant, they flew into episodes of spoiled-sorority-girl bitchiness. The one in the blue sweater even went so far as to remark, "Well, if pregnant is handicapped, I'm gonna go out and get myself pregnant before the next concert!" I rolled my eyes, hoping they'd stop once the concert began.

But they didn't! I was dancing, clapping, whooping and hollering (only at the right times, thankyouverymuch), and they were glaring at me and making fun of me right in front of me. But oh no, that wasn't even the best part. They were apparently fans from 1997 who hadn't heard anything since the Middle of Nowhere album…and proceeded to chat amongst themselves during any song they didn't know! The best part was, at the end, the very-drunk-by-then blonde's clapping during either "Rip It Up" or "This Time Around" was horribly off, and almost made putting up with them worthwhile. Fortunately, they left before the encore, so I got to enjoy three songs total without them.

Anyway, more about the concert and the cool people who were there: There was a girl shorter than me next to me, standing on her backpack, who I later found out was Jackie, creator of the A Hidden Life website. There was an older (60s, maybe?) woman in a Hanson tour shirt that we pulled up with us during the re-dos, who was clapping and having a ball. (Turns out she's Sharon, another ILSTer!) I found out later that she had loaned her binoculars to Mackie, who was apparently standing behind me during part of the concert. So I'll apologize to Mackie--yes, that was me, the scary redhead shaking her ass in front of you…but I was only doing what Taylor told me to!

Speaking of "the beautiful one" (notice it's in quotes), I was mesmerized the entire evening by Taylor's Spastic Left Leg. I swear, if I form a rock band, I'm gonna call it that.

The "Gee, we're taping so we'd better make this one great" parts:
* "Rock and Roll Razorblade": There was a false start, where Isaac was out of tune, and admitted it, to which Taylor replied, "Well, damn that shit!" complete with a spot-on rim shot from Zac. They started again, and Isaac broke a string. Sometimes, you just can't win.
* "Penny and Me": Two false starts and, again, a broken string (I believe; insert joke about Isaac's G-string). While Isaac was tuning, somehow we began in a chorus of Happy Birthday (his birthday was 6 days later), which evolved into singing (very poorly) the national anthem upon Zac's request (but was it because of Veteran's Day? Probably not.)
* "MMMBop": a bit of tuning problems before this one…you'd think they'd have it down by now!
* "Love Somebody to Know": Allegedly wasn't taped. Taylor was told they had 2 minutes to change tapes, and so they broke out into that short song.
* Before "Deeper", there seemed to be a problem with Taylor's guitar, and Zac went over and put in another cord, and fixed it. Zac the Guitar Tech. How cute!
* The Redos: "Rock and Roll Razorblade" and "Penny and Me". Isaac had initially come out at the start of the concert wearing a black blazer, and when they came out for the redos, for the sake of continuity (so the eagle eyes at IMDb couldn't yell at them), he had to get his jacket again. The song went off without a hitch. As for "Penny and Me"…Isaac forgot he had the jacket on, and was told to take it off, which he did with a little self-supplied "stripper music" as Taylor said, "And stripping for you tonight…" Sometime in there, too, before "Penny and Me" was actually begun, Isaac, for some reason, hit a fuzz or distortion pedal, which prompted Zac to scream lyrics from "Penny and Me" like it was a metal song, and Isaac instantly produces a short (10 seconds, maybe?), blistering hair band-worthy rockin' guitar solo…on an acoustic guitar. Head banging, tongue wagging (his, not ours, surprisingly)…I love that man!

Other general highlights:
* Did I mention Taylor's Spastic Left Leg?
* Isaac's solo was "Hand In Hand." Before he sang it, he said something like "This is about a girl who broke my heart". Choruses of "AAAWWWWW" came from the audience. Isaac responded with, "That's okay--I got her back!" Cheers. Whether he meant "She came back to me" or "Revenge is sweet", I don't know.
* Taylor instructing us to "Shake your asses" before "You Never Know", because it is an ass-shaking song, I suppose.
* Props to the two total morons who screamed "WE LOVE YOU ZAC!" during "The Walk" (the song formerly known as "Tightrope"), a slow, poignant ballad. You two are idiots. Congratulations, you have now immortalized yourselves in the Hanson canon, not as devoted, respectful fans, but as nothing more than inconsiderate buffoons.
* I'm gonna have to time it on the DVD, but I seriously think "Rip It Up" was about ten minutes long. Ditto for "This Time Around".
* Speaking of those two songs, Adam was making fun of Taylor's attempts at audience participation…mind you, most people were participating (including the blonde in the idiotic trio in front of us, who was noticeably drunk by that time and clapping so horribly that it made me laugh), but Adam just didn't get it. Frankly, I don't either, sometimes.
* At the end of "Lost Without Each Other" I really really had to pee. So, I ventured off to where I thought the bathroom should be. I'm walking for no more than seven seconds when I hear cheering again. I exclaimed, "Oh shit!" and raced back to our spot, seeing Adam, Jackie and her sister looking my way, and Jackie said, "I was gonna come get you!"
* At the end, the REAL end this time, a guy who sounded like a cross between Keith Richards and Christopher "Nigel Tufnel" Guest (thanks to KaneRobot for that spot-on description) came out and bent down to Isaac's sitting-down-height mic and said something to the effect of "Curfew has passed, we need you all to exit as quickly as possible," right--and I mean RIGHT--after Hanson left the stage.
* And right after that, I definitely needed to visit the loo, still. So I briskly walked to the bathroom. Now, the upstairs ladies' bathroom wasn't clearly marked, and so I went into a door that I assumed was the bathroom. It led me into a larger room that had two doors--one was the ladies' bathroom, and one was the VIP upper balcony, where I had spotted Mackie, Micah, and Natalie and Ezra all on audience right at various times during the show. Anyway, as I come into this room, wandering around like a confused something-or-other, I come thisclose to running smack into Mackie, who says, "Sorry, ma'am!" and continued over to a chair. Dazed, I continued into the ladies' room and then it dawned on me: I almost unintentionally body-slammed a younger Hanson.

Strong Enough to Break
If Only
Runaway Run
Rock and Roll Razorblade
The Walk (TSFKAT) (Zac's solo)
Teach Your Children
When You're Gone
With You in Your Dreams
I Will Come to You
Ain't No Sunshine
Hand in Hand (Isaac's solo)
Crazy Beautiful (Taylor's solo)
Penny and Me
Where's the Love
You Never Know
Rip It Up
Love Somebody to Know
This Time Around
Encore: Lost Without Each Other
Redo: Rock and Roll Razorblade
Redo: Penny and Me

I found out some interesting "behind the scenes" stuff straight from AshG (Ashley Greyson, Hanson's guy to go to for everything…he's wunnerful. Not quite sure of his title, but I'm sure he's part of the glue that holds everything together.):
* Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins was there.
* Show was almost not able to finish due to curfew, CRAZINESS backstage, too bad because the guys were thinking about busting out "Everybody Knows the Claus" and "Sympathy for the Devil".
* The show was shot in HIGH DEFINITION, and the truck used was the same one that does most the college football HD games.
* HOB Security is TOUGH and nobody gets the rockstar treatment, the Hanson guys had to wear passes!
* Hanson had their personal car towed by the HOB even though they parked EXACTLY where they were instructed, it also had a trailer attached with all their stuff!!!

Copyright ©1999-2006 Winona Patterson.