Hanson Day 2014 with The Hop Jam
Although the excitement of the moment beckons the pen to paper instantly, the temptation to digest and jet lag mean that this Tulsa Times comes two weeks after the Hanson Day events.
Conceived in Tulsa, lost in translation through time, may well be a better title.
This year’s Hanson day events were built on a history of intimacy and celebration that have been an essential part of this weekend over many years.
The MOE event began as a single moment’s recording of Underneath Acoustic at the historic Church Studios in 2003 when Hanson set up 3CG Studios and went independent. It generated the re- recording of Middle of Nowhere in 2007, grew to include movie and bowling events, became a showcase for Anthem in 2013 and this year saw the first band lectures and state of the band address.
The addition of the inaugural Hop Jam was a bonus for fans that could stay on in Tulsa.
At The Hop Jam, fans of Hanson were integrated into a community that brought people together from all over the local area. It saw Hanson relaxing with people in the street over a drink, whilst pulling together a highly successful music and beer festival.
It featured amazing music from Tulsa and beyond, brought business to The Brady Arts District and saw a celebration of something new in Downtown Tulsa.
The custom made guitar, which featured iconically on the posters, was raffled and the proceeds given to local groups feeding some of Tulsa’s poorest.
The actual Hanson days mixed together the familiar and the unexpected.
There were new activities and there were re-runs of the tried and tested.
The focus of attention was the 10th anniversary of Underneath with references in both the content and merchandise of the weekend.
There were queues, there were meetings and reunions between friends, there were chance encounters with Isaac, Taylor and Zac and there were selfie moments which captured something very special for the lucky fans who took their chance with the band.
The schedule for the weekend included meet and greet photos with Hanson, a movie screening of Underneath Acoustic, a Gallery of Art and Photography with Are You Listening? Are You Looking? as the theme.
These pictures, captured on canvas or through a lens, allowed the viewer to contemplate and question the experience of looking and listening and the art of documentation.
There were lectures by each of the Hanson brothers, a concert featuring rarer and past member’s kit songs, a bowling tournament and an after party which included music from the 60s to the present day.
As a slightly different way to consider some aspects of Hanson Day 2014, the philosophy of Andy Warhol may help for illustration.
“I never fall apart, because I never fall together.” Andy Warhol
Isaac Hanson is cool. He is a cool performer. He is cool when embattled by the mischievous teasing of his brothers and he is cool under pressure.
On his own, on stage for over an hour, he is super cool.
Taking the clothes off of Underneath and revealing its nakedness was a brave thing to do, but Isaac did it and he made this music seem even more crazy and beautiful. Hidden treasures were disclosed unashamedly and without embarrassment.
These included hearing an accordion part on Strong Enough to Break and finding out that the strange sound at the start of Broken Angel is a recording of Broken Angel played backwards on a reel to reel tape.
In true Isaac fashion, the king of cool over ran, but this was largely due to the fact that he found jokes about feeling horny (horns on tracks) and funky chickens too amusing to resist. “Keep to the text”, was possibly said from backstage, but this was Isaac, and his delightful humour, confidence and slight tendency to drift, took him and his audience on a journey from the talking in the background on Crazy Beautiful Reprise, to that funky chicken and back again.
“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art”. Andy Warhol
Taylor Hanson is a consummate professional. His profession is that of the artist and the businessman.
At his lecture and The Hop Jam, he brought together his capacity to envision, create, connect and generate an outcome with purpose.
In his lecture, Taylor invited fans on stage and intended to illustrate the photographic process through taking pictures for the new Hanson.net. The outcome was a series of encounters between Taylor and fans, in which he showed sensitivity and awareness as both a photographer and an idol.
If fans were nervous, he put them at ease. If they were self conscious he was reassuring. Expression mirrored expression and the outcome was a series of pictures in which the subject plus the photogenic photographer shared the stage and created WOW moments and artistic memories.
But seeing Taylor Hanson orchestrate the events at The Hop Jam, was astounding.
From early in the morning to late at night, he was organising, meeting, checking, arranging, and facilitating the transformation of an empty street into a party with an attendance of thousands.
He then went on stage and performed. He was energised, attentive and happy.
It was impossible to separate the artist from the business man from the man – and who would want to. It was amazing.
“Everybody must have a fantasy.” Andy Warhol
It is well known that Zac Hanson has a soft spot for fantasy movies and computer games. It is also known that he writes the crazy songs that make a sudden appearance on special days.
It was the unzipping, or as Zac said, the exposure of this process, which was the focus of his lecture.
Using ideas given by fans waiting in line and written on cards, Zac created a song which juxtaposed the sane with the insane to create a fantastical song of dreaming and staying alive. With images from Star Wars, people from politics and romantic cities, he crafted a song in real time, in front of an eager audience, while dancing, doing cartwheels, leading a choir and drawing the admiration of everyone.
His fantasy became everyone’s and the words, “Sometimes dreaming like a child’s the only way to truly feel alive”, resonated for days.
Whilst there was no live stream this year, any disappointed fans should look forward to videos and clips which will surely follow, as Hanson traditionally share some of the best bits of this experience with a wider audience.
It is the case that the invitation to this event in Tulsa has been given by Hanson to their fans for many years and, as it continues, it is clear that the welcome and the party keep getting bigger and better.
So Thank You to the Artists, the Businessmen and the Dreamers.
Your positivity, generosity, capacity to give and sense of what can be achieved are inspirational.
Digging to China may be a fantasy but via Tulsa it’s really, really, really worth the attempt.
Picture from Hanson.net
Pictures from Tulsa World coverage of The Hop Jam
For more information and reviews visit Tulsa World and Tulsa scene and Tulsa World Weekend.