At The Eye Of The Storm
If ever Hanson were at the eye of the storm, it was the weekend of the 15 – 17 of May, when Tulsa saw almost a thousand fans descend on North Main Street for the annual Hanson Day and Hop Jam celebrations.
Although only the second time around for The Hop Jam, this event has already established itself as a feature of May in Tulsa, with support from the major media and thousands of local people turning out to sample beers from around the world and listen to great music.
The only thing which threatened to put a damper on the proceedings this year was the inclement weather, which in true Oklahoma style, raged with fury one minute and burned like fire the next.
The day of The Hop Jam had soaring temperatures, while just the night before, the sounds of Hanson music were followed by sirens as people huddled in urinals, as a storm whistled across the skyline, lightning bolted from the dark blue and a tornado was spotted just miles away.
This didn’t stop the thrill for many however, and after two days of rain showers and non stop Hanson day events, many fans of Hanson found themselves waiting for an after party, hosted by DJ Taylor Hanson who was firmly committed to preventing anyone from biting the dust.
When Hanson invite their fans to Tulsa for Hanson Day, they share the reality of their hometown with pride and this year was a step up even from the last.
In their first major documentary Tulsa Tokyo and the Middle of Nowhere, Hanson said, “We love Tulsa. Tulsa is always home”.
Certainly the evidence is that these Oklahomans are proud to stay rooted here and more than that, heavily invested in its present and future.
A Tulsa World interview and preview of the Hop Jam, highlighted this
As for Hanson Day itself, Inside the Box was illustrated by a range of merchandise which used lyrical themes from Hanson’s back catalogue as well as lectures and an art gallery.
The lectures from Isaac, Taylor and Zac, explored the theme by reflecting on the stories behind Hanson songs, stripping the music of This Time Around back to its bones (using as examples some of the most iconic songs from this era) and creating new music in the box that is Cain’s Ballroom via Zac Hanson’s genius mind and computer!
The Hanson day gallery provided insight, with artwork making visible the invisible meaning of lyrics, and photographs capturing mad moments literally inside boxes. Hanson sought to make being Inside The Box as interesting as thinking outside the box is supposed to be. Photographs showed Isaac, Taylor and Zac interacting with their own concept in a sensory way, creating fun images and turning something complex into something immediate. The idea imitated the song writing process of throwing ideas around and capturing a moment – Hanson style.
The main draw of Hanson Day has always been the concert on Saturday. This year, Hanson played a great set with songs chosen from member’s EPs and more. While at times, the set seemed a little under rehearsed, no one would blame Hanson. This was a tough schedule and unexpected appearances with Ed Sheeran were thrown in just days before. And who cares anyway. Hanson live are among the most fun ever had and at Cain’s Ballroom, it doesn’t get much better. To be in Tulsa, listening to exclusive music made inside the box by robots and banditos searching for the sound of light, is a privilege.
The MOEY awards and news of an October Tour across the USA were highlights of the State Of The Band and the promise of a covers album and possible Hanson appearances later this year at Epcot (just announced) were music to the ears of many. It is possible that the tour and album will coincide but if not, the tour will feature shows entirely dedicated to the covers which define the roots of Hanson’s own brand of rock and roll.
But as if that wasn’t enough, at the crack of dawn on Sunday 17th people began to gather to watch the assembling of The Hop Jam and the execution of this beer and music extravaganza.
North Main Street is becoming more than just a cultural hub in downtown Tulsa. It is set to be an entrepreneurial hot spot with renovation of classic buildings providing space to generate more new ideas to support this city.
Along with the Centre of The Universe music festival and May fest, The Hop Jam will take its place on the list of top things to do in Tulsa and Hanson established as a vital part of the community making a difference.
The authenticity that Hanson bring to everything they do, along with the resourcefulness of the Oklahoman spirit, makes this an intriguing and exciting thing to watch.
Talking of his home town, Taylor Hanson told Tulsa World,
“There’s a heartiness. The pioneer spirit continues in the state’s creativity and work ethic, and it’s more than just music — it’s an inspiration for continued growth”.
Tulsa has a spirit that defines the city, Hanson said. It’s a spirit of hard work and dedication that inspires them to work more and harder on a variety of projects as much as anything else.
“I think our job as artists is to see the potential,” Zac Hanson said. “There is a part in us that sees what we want Tulsa to be, what represents us and how we want to be part of making it that anthem. That same DNA that makes us want to write songs and create things also makes us want to be a part of the best version of our hometown.”
As Hanson Day and The Hop Jam continue to contribute to that best version of Tulsa, it just gets more exciting for Tulsa and for fans of Hanson, many of whom marvel at how inspiring it is to meet the band on their own turf.
They sense the love that Hanson have for the streets that have featured on albums, inspired music and taught them lessons on life and history.
We have left out the fact that just a few days later, Taylor and Isaac Hanson were coordinating Food On The Move, but that is simply because to do that justice we need another page and we think this is enough for now.
From imagining concepts and creating art, to putting on a show and bringing people from around the world to celebrate, Hanson again succeeded in hosting a fantastic event while seeing potential and contributing to the very best that a place can be.
If fans of this band are able to grasp the brilliance of what they witness when in Tulsa, they must feel very blessed. If not, they need not worry. There is much more to come and plenty of time to realise it.
Credit and thanks to Tulsa World and Hanson for images used.
For more from this event read below.