Sunday, December 20, 2015

"All the roads reach out to you" - Why Hanson Fans Are the Best

Merry Xmas. A couple weeks ago I did an entry about my frustrations on why so many people in the fanbase were so awful, and why the term "Fanson" may as well be a 4-letter word. Nothing has really changed my feelings on that, but it would certainly be irresponsible for me not to show the other side of the coin as well.

So for this entry,I'm going to look at why this fanbase is so fantastic. There are a lot of reasons, and they affect both me personally as well as the world at large.

Starting at the highest level would be the obvious charity work the community has embarked on over the last (nearly) 10 years. Yes, the band is a massive part of getting the ball rolling, but realistically if the fans showed no interest or support for what they were presenting to us, most of these efforts would have died on the vine back in 2007. Realistically, it's obvious that a lot of people do it just because want to try to get a bunch of pictures with the band. But if even 2% of the people at every show are motivated to actually follow up on their own once they're out of the concert environment, it's going to make a difference.

In a different realm of the charity universe, it was impressive to see the community reaction when Ashley had her boating accident earlier this year (wrote about this in an entry here). Aside from her friends donating and drumming up support from others, people that don't even know her threw a lot of money into that fund to help cover her medical expenses. I saw her at the Dallas show and it was really impressive that she was already back at the concert game such a short time after the accident.

As selfish as the fans can be at times, they are also just as generous when it matters most.

Although I've met some deceptive and manipulative people that I would have preferred to avoid along the way, it is without exaggeration that I can state that some of the most valued friends I have are people I've met through this fanbase. There are some people I've known since the early 2000s I can't imagine NOT knowing at this point. To draw from my own quote from many years ago - this community has shown me the magic of having friends you've known seemingly forever, yet only see for a few hours a year.

I place some of these people right up there with people I've known since elementary school. Heck, even those who I never got that close to still come through for me at times. There was a period about two and a half years ago where I was absolutely at my lowest point, but didn't say much about it. There was a person I met at ONE show, well over five years prior and I had barely talked to since then that reached out to talk to me and was an absolutely invaluable contact for me for a few months. Random stuff like that doesn't happen in real life, yet it did in this case...thanks to knowing people I met through the Realm of Hanson. If I'm being 100% honest, I can say that the main reason I still travel to the occasional show is because I want to see my friends. The music aspect of it is just the awesome side benefit. If the day comes when the band decides they have nothing left to say musically, I'm still going to be close with some of my fellow fans.

On a broader level, it's just flat-out reassuring that at this point, no matter what city I'd travel to for a show, I'd have at least a few allies there.


I've got some plans I'm looking to execute on in 2016. One really cool idea I've had for years that I'm hoping to be able to pull off, but it's going to take a lot of preparation and probably some luck...more info hopefully coming sooner than later. If I can get it rolling it'll get this site to feature something besides just the blog stuff. Enjoy your New Years Eve (or go to bed at 9:30 pm, whatever you're into).

Santa has risen.


Blog title taken from Devin Townsend Project - Lady Helen
All the roads that once were right
Stay the way they are

Friday, December 4, 2015

"You Know What You Are?" - I'm Not A F*&#ing Fanson

This is why we can't have nice things.

I've seen a lot since I started doing this in 2000. The first time I ever went to a show, some guy from a local radio station was doing a remote broadcast from the venue's entryway and called me out literally 5 seconds after I walked in - "Sir, I think you're the wrong place" or some other crap with a bunch of people laughing. Honestly, at that point in time I guess I don't blame him for joking about it. I was with a girl so at least it sort of looked like I was "dragged along" or something (in reality I was mostly dragging her along).

But that was just a prelude - one of those radio station shows where every band plays for an hour and that's it. The real thing was a couple months later - a full show, by myself, with a 2nd row ticket. Walked in and it didn't take long before people were doing one of the following:

*Confusing me with security (you know how most security personnel are wearing Samhain t-shirts)
*Coming up and trying to hug me - girls looking like they ranged from 9 to 35. I was 21 at the time.
*Asking if they could have my seat because I wasn't a fan anyway

Although I actually had a pretty cool experience with the band that night (may write about that some other day although it's not a big deal), the atmosphere and the people kind of left me with a bad taste. Too much focus on me until the band actually came out and diverted it to themselves where it belonged.

A few years later the acoustic tour started and I wound up going to 4 shows. I had zero "plan" outside of knowing where I'd be driving (Mapquest printouts all over my car!) and zero friends to meet when I got there. I knew literally no one. The first show I went to wound up being a local one for me, and an (unplanned) overnight wait at that. It was actually pretty encouraging at first - from the prior night into the late afternoon, people were generally nice and got along and shared stuff.

Once the time got a bit closer to doors, it suddenly became everyone for themselves. People that just got there an hour or so earlier walked up to the front of the line. Garbage left everywhere. People "telling" on each other to security. Once inside the venue, relentless jostling for position began because, as we've learned, the band loves you more if you are in the front row. Then we've got people yelling dumb shit at the band during the show. Once again I went in with what I thought were reasonable expectations and left disappointed, and it had nothing to do with the performance itself.

It continues. At the Cleveland stop on that tour, literally the entire show was spent holding my ground against people not powerful enough to move me, and I wasn't even that close to the stage. People screaming at me. People literally running at me to try to get me to move. First and only time I've ever totally lost it at a show. I don't even remember what I did but it involved a loud noise and everyone around me immediately clearing out in fear. Still the worst crowd I've ever seen at a show.

In Chicago (the show taped for the UAL DVD) apparently it was even worse but since I was against the barrier I didn't notice. I felt the people hitting me, but they're not going to be hurting me without outside weapons. Apparently I was being spit on as well but of course I didn't notice until I was informed afterwords.

Didn't stop at that tour. A year or two later in Detroit I had an experience almost as bad as Cleveland, to the point where I finally had enough and just shifted hard and knocked everyone behind me back about 5 feet. Still the only time I've ever done anything "physical" at a Hanson show, (besides me defending the girl I was with by flooring a drunk dude in Chicago a few years later, but that's another story). Yeah I felt bad about it.

I could go on with personal experiences, but I'm sure you get the idea by now.

The thing is, it's not just me. I've seen people I'm close friends with turn on each other in a heartbeat because one did not pick the other as their second for an meet and greet, in favor of a family member. I've seen people strand their friends a hundred miles away because it may have caused them to miss something related to the show. All but the most loyal friends are willing to destroy each other if they think it'll bring them closer to the band.

It gets incredibly irritating to see people bugging the band for multiple photos during the walks. I don't get how people are so oblivious to the band clearly being irritated as well. You are not humans. You are noisy little blobs of pink flesh that apparently exist only to annoy. Pick a better time. The majority of shows, if you demonstrate a little patience, the band will hang out for a little bit outside the venue when the show is over and take photos/sign whatever you want.

The fans criticize and obsess over the band to an insane degree. Not that this is exclusive to the Hanson fanbase, but I'd hope we'd be able to elevate ourselves a bit. Is somebody smoking? I don't think they should say that in a song. Do you have his address? Anyone have any pics of their kids? I don't think they should say that at all. Who are they voting for?

HELL no, I am not a "Fanson." I am a Hanson fan.

I've been to truckloads of concerts for boatloads of bands. I've still never run across fans that behave in this manner. The band we like is superior. We should be superior to other fanbases.


So, with that, I'll ask you to now come back for my entry in 2 weeks:

"Why Hanson Fans Are The Best."

The King Has Risen.


Blog title taken from Nine Inch Nails - You Know What You Are?
Don't you fucking know what you are?
Go on, get back to where you belong...