I Owe It All To Tulsa
This is a line from a Rufus Wainwright song, but for many fans of Hanson as well as Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson, it tells a truth. That is – Tulsa plays a very important part in the story that is their life with great music.
For many years now, fans have travelled from the four corners of the world to celebrate Hanson, their music and the human community that has grown around them and because of them.
In this extra Tulsa Times, we celebrate the growth of this gathering in the downtown of T Town.
To do this we have included two different stories from two different fans travelling for this event 8 years apart. Both of these stories are about first time visits to Tulsa and both are European fans.
May 15-17 2015 Ellen’s story
“First of all BOOOOH to not letting me win!!! I’m only kidding of course… I do believe he picked out very beautiful stories. Whether they were of the sad kind or the motivating kind, they carried you away and I understand why they spoke to him. I’m not ashamed to admit there were some tears shed by myself listening to the stories, and especially listening to Taylor’s explanation about the lyrics. I got especially emotional when, if I’m not mistaken, I saw Taylor swallow away a lump in his throat trying to hide the fact he was having an emotional reaction to the stories. Not to mention when he wrapped it up with ‘With you in your dreams’ I was totally lost…
Of all the lovely, amazing, awesome things we saw that weekend, I certainly thought Isaac’s lecture was the most interesting. We got a completely different inside look to This Time Around and it changed my perspective on it. It was especially interesting to hear about the different ways they use their voices, according to who is singing the lead. I never thought I would hear such a low sound coming from Zac. He was channeling his inner Barry White for sure. I did get the feeling Isaac was used to being able to move around and do his thing on stage, seeing he used the word “awkward” about 12 times while he was sitting there – I counted. For the record Isaac, nobody thought it was awkward at all. keep up the awesome please!
What to say about Zac’s lecture… Well first of all, it was to say the least interesting, to see sugar influenced Zac in person. We’ve heard about it, we’ve seen it on video, but to see it in real life. Just waauw is all I can say about that. From the second he walked on stage the audience was with him completely. The more crazy he got, the more the crowd ate it up. The song he recorded on stage had the most random topics that were ever thrown together, but somehow when Mr ZH does it, it makes sense. I still can’t look at a video game the same way I used to, but I also cannot wait to hear the final result.
People told me, “You have to see them in their home town, really it’s such a difference”.
Naive as I was I thought a concert is a concert, how different can it be? Well, different it was for sure. Somehow the atmosphere was so pumped up already, I was in Hanson heaven before the show even started. So besides the little glitches they had at the beginning of the show, it was without a doubt the best show I’ve seen so far. I jumped, danced, sang along and cried… A real life Hanson concert in Tulsa is for sure better than… (Yeah you guessed it…) Chocolate!!! I was talking about chocolate I swear…
After all that Hanson awesomeness we waited in line for half an hour to go back in for the famous after-party. It was promised to be amazing and that is what we got! We got back in the venue, anticipation growing. We were tired, sweaty, excited as can be, and wet…. so wet… Did I forget to mention it was the storm we got caught in that made us so wet? Oh yeah. Fun as it was to dance along to ‘Another one bites the dust’ (three times???) we noticed our lovely DJ had to shut things down after about half an hour. Depriving us of more awesome tunes Mr TH decided to give us the longest “Goodbye and see you later” we’ve ever had. We all slept well after that night, dreaming of tornadoes, Queen, and The Hop Jam that was yet to come.
The Hop Jam:
A beer and music festival, that is still amazingly awesome, even for someone that does not drink a drop of alcohol??? Yeah it’s a real thing. It’s called The Hop Jam. It is hosted by Hanson, which may have something to do with the awesome… Local artists play music, local and not so local craft beer brewers bring on the liquid courage. If you don’t like music (What do you even live for???) or you don’t like beer, you’ll still find something to your liking I’m sure. Food trucks line up on the side of the festival so you can find something for any kind of food lover. Whether it’s genuine Oklahoma barbecue, all things carnival, or even international food you are looking for, you’ll find it at Hop Jam. Closing off the festival was of course Hanson with a show so unique I still have an ear-worm from it a week after the event.
So to conclude this little review: If you were still doubting if Hanson day or Hop Jam are worth traveling to Tulsa for… Yes, Yes and Yes!!! You will have no regrets I promise you!”
May 5th 2007 Chris’s story
“Visiting Tulsa was only ever a fantasy for me, and one that I didn’t expect to realize. When Hanson came to the UK with The Walk album, I was so excited by their performances that when they announced a re-record of Middle Of Nowhere, in Tulsa, I was determined to go. I arranged to meet up with a friend from the US, who I first met on Hanson.net in 2000. We had only ever chatted online and this was my first trip to the US.
My flight from Manchester England was full of mishaps, delays, wrong connections, lost luggage and tears as I wondered if this was the worst mistake I had ever made. Doing things because of love of Hanson always leaves me feeling slightly guilty and especially leaving loved ones behind. However, the flight from Chicago to Tulsa dispelled any doubts, as I watched the towns pass below me, the American townscape set out like a latticework of twinkling gems. I dozed peacefully as I knew that this plane was taking me closer to a dream come true.
My friend Dee and I arrived at The Blank Slate at around 3pm on the Saturday. The show was being recorded twice and we could choose which performance to attend. To avoid a long wait in the hot sun, we opted for the first show.
There I met fans that I had spoken with online for 7 years but never met. We chatted about memories and accents and got blurry eyed about the fact that we had made it this far together.
Inside the venue we moved around until we found good spots to see.
Hanson sat in the middle of the space with fans on the floor or chairs or standing around them. The atmosphere was relaxed and homely and it was difficult to really believe that after years of wondering if I would ever see Hanson live, I was here, in their home town, watching them re-record the iconic music that made them famous.
There were fans from all across the USA, Australia, Denmark, Japan, Canada, the UK and more.
Early on in the show Taylor looked up from his keys and said, “Wow, you guys really have come from all over the place”. He seemed to be genuinely touched by the fact that people had travelled for this celebration.
Being at this event, each song felt like treasure. It was amazing to be watching and listening to them singing these songs, in their hometown, with their families around them and with fans that had followed their journey so closely for so long.
Yearbook and I Will Come to You were highlights musically. The whole audience gasped when they began to play Yearbook. It was the first time it had been played live for a long time and I was there.
Man from Milwaukee was on the set list, but instead, Hanson played Great Divide as an encore. It was new music and they played it twice because Taylor wanted to get it right.
Just a few weeks before this, I had been at a Hanson show in England where they were behind barriers, protected by security with the aura of celebrities. Here they were just feet away, real people, in their hometown, having fun and expressing genuine appreciation for the loyalty of the people gathered together.
Thank you Hanson, for this thing you did. Thank you for staying close to your fans. Thank you for staying true to your roots and keeping your integrity.
I had one day in Tulsa. I arrived late Friday. The show was Saturday. I returned home Sunday. It was crazy. I went to Oklahoma for a weekend. It was magic and I swore then that I would do it again.”
Tulsa, we owe you much.
You are the city which nurtured and supported a young Hanson. You have continued to support them for 23 years. You are a city that has welcomed Hanson’s fans and for some you have become their home.
Many watch each year, as Hanson extends the horizons of what is possible, in Tulsa, in May.
With each year this event becomes more relaxed, intimate, developed and generous.
From the recording of Underneath Acoustic, to the next creative concept or anniversary, Tulsa Time really is special and it is unquestionably worth the living.
Many thanks to Ellen for sharing her story and her images from Tulsa.
Credit to Hanson for images from Middle Of Nowhere Acoustic.