Hanson Day and The Hop Jam 2017 – Being Extraordinary
Hanson Day 2017 was always going to be extraordinary.
In 97, the governor of Oklahoma, Frank Keating, dedicated a one off tribute to mark the success of Middle Of Nowhere, proclaiming May 6th Hanson Day. Since then, Hanson fans around the world have kept the day a day of celebration and for many years Hanson have invited fans to Tulsa, to celebrate together.
The fact that this year sees 20 years since Hanson’s break through album and 25 years since they first played at Mayfest, it was a sure bet that they would pull something special out of the hat.
Over 1,200 members of Hanson’s fan club travelled from as far as Australia, Brazil and Europe, not to mention the many states of the USA.
The fan club events were opportunities to reminisce, with a full acoustic set of Hanson songs from across their career and a gallery of artefacts including costumes from video shoots and the enormous Pansy back drop from the MMMBop music video. If anyone was hoping to stroke the money shot jacket that Taylor Hanson wore for the If Only video, someone had anticipated it and moved it well behind a security barrier!
During the acoustic set, Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson told the stories behind the lyrics of songs, sharing intimate details about how they sometimes just crop up and other times are hard won from emotional personal experiences.
Zac Hanson finally admitted that he didn’t have a clue where Johnny went and suggested that the passion burning hot in Penny and Me might just have been a candle glowing in the corner.
Each story, especially for recent fans, gave insight to the Hanson song writing process but also connected the dots of the Hanson journey. They peeked into the quiet and frustrating moments of Underneath and celebrated the hopeful passion of The Walk.
Taylor Hanson dedicated a rendition of Wish That I Was There, to fans unable to make the event this year. Before singing A Song To Sing, he spoke of the connection that music brings; a connection between people and ideas and experiences that give life meaning. Amen !
Hanson marked another extraordinary moment, the 10th anniversary of The Walk album, by hosting a one mile bare foot walk through Tulsa with their fans.
The music at the Hanson day Concert was divided into 3 sections. The new member’s EP was performed first. Music from past EPs came next, followed by tracks from their studio albums. They ended with a few bars of Weird, a cappella. There was something here for everyone, no matter where or when or how they came to adore this music and this band.
As the Hanson Day events were coming to a close, the preparations for the fourth Hop Jam were starting, with vehicles, barriers and an extraordinary sense of anticipation growing in the heat.
The Hop Jam extended its reach along North Main Street again this year. The list of breweries increased and the activities for families showed an event learning from its experiences and growing into its status as the biggest beer festival in Oklahoma.
After an entire day of organising the event, managing the event, taking photographs with fans and being good will ambassadors for their brand, Hanson took the stage as headliners.
This was an opportunity to remind locals of the sound of Hanson music but it also set the scene for the Middle Of Everywhere Tour starting June 1st.
Before they performed, Hanson were inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, an accolade and mark of recognition, during their anniversary, of all they have achieved and continue to build.
For many fans of Hanson who have supported them for twenty years or more and for Tulsans who have watched the band’s success, this moment, at this time, during this year and in this city really was extra-ordinary.
During the Hanson Day concert Hanson premiered the full video for their new song I Was Born.
This song, which follows a Hanson tradition in lyrics, invokes courage and confidence in the individual. It is an affirmation of risk taking, the search for meaning and purpose in living and it is a call to the extraordinary.
The new full video to be released on Friday will bring more than smiles to people’s faces. It is full of the intelligent innocence, sincere humility and childlike creativity that has characterised much of their work since the very start.
As Hanson take a few days to catch up before starting their tour and fans travel home from an exceptional experience, it is soul stirring to contemplate on the achievement that this is.
Over 25 years, Hanson have taken a path less well marked while pursuing a very clear vision. The band’s imaginative determination and capacity to adapt without compromise, have proved extraordinary.
Hanson have moved beyond the dream that Taylor once described as being able to “keep doing this,” to realising what THIS is. It is a journey deeper and deeper into what they were born to be and do, whilst going wherever that journey takes them.
It is such a joy and privilege to love this. It is itself, something extraordinary.
Thanks to Danielle and Lisa for the images used in this piece.