I was 19 when I first saw Hanson. The best seats we could get cost a little over 3000PHP— money that I, a college student relying on mommy’s wallet, didn’t have. I didn’t want to ask my mom for money for Hanson so what did I do? I took the money meant for my college course’s team building seminar, met up with my friends at Araneta’s ticketing booth first thing in the morning, and used it to buy a fifth row ticket (rows 1 to 4 weren’t for sale).
Obviously, if money wasn’t a problem then, it wasn’t going to be an issue now. When we got confirmation from Yam (who works for Dayly Entertainment, if you haven’t figured that out yet) that they’d be playing a second show in Cebu, I wasted no time booking flights for me and Sanya.
With half an hour of sleep in the last 36 hours and a haphazardly packed overnight bag, Sanya, Triccie, and I checked in at Waterfront Saturday noon and met up with Brenna and her brother (he watched the show, too!) who were staying a couple of doors down the floor from us. At this point, I was subsisting on a latte I had at Mactan Domestic and some too-sweet coffee chewy candies I got from 7-11. Sleep was not an option, not when we had a full day of fangirling up ahead.
Yam had texted us saying that there was a motorcade of sorts waiting for Hanson at the airport up until either the hotel or SM Cebu (where the album signing and meet & greet was held). Cute! We missed it, unfortunately, because Hanson and Dayly had an earlier flight than us.
We got to SM Cebu and were one of the last few ones to get our shit signed. At this point, I had nothing else to say to Hanson but “Surprise!” It’s me again, fools!
As usual, Sanya managed to say the funniest shit in the shortest amount of time. Something like “You’re so hot now!” to which Zac replied with “You mean I wasn’t hot before?”
After a quick coffee run, we headed back to the hotel to rest a bit before the fan club meet & greet. While waiting, Yam brings Kaycee, a member of our 2004 Hanson Circle of Trust to us. WE HAD NO IDEA KAYCEE WAS EVEN IN THE COUNTRY, since Sanya told us that she was in Sydney!
The only one allowed to take group photos was Laarni, the HNET Reporter. I was really annoyed at myself for not re-reading the M&G emails because I totally missed that part where we could bring stuff to have signed. After finally showing Taylor my Runaway Run tattoo (he said it wasn’t something he saw often and I told him I made sure it was different by googling Hanson tattoos first. I also had to be a dork and tell him how I thought I would never have the chance to show it to them when I got it done in 2010), he asked if I had anything for him to sign. I shook my head and he said something about my already having a bunch of stuff signed anyway LOL. Later, I would notice the other girls getting their M&G confirmation letter autographed and since I wanted something— anything— signed and my passport was not a freaking option, I sucked it up, went back to Taylor and handed it to him.
Things went a bit cuter with Zac. Again, I showed him my tattoo and Sanya and I later joked that we should have quizzed him and asked if he knew what song it was from (he did flub Wish That I Was There at MOE) and then asked him to sign my letter.
Helga: I know it’s pathetic but can you sign my letter? I didn’t bring anything else.
Zac (signing my letter): Yeah, that’s pathetic.
Sanya had an even, umm, cuter conversation with Zac but he told her to keep it between them; their little secret, he said.
To be honest, Taylor and Isaac intimidate me but I managed to squeeze in a quick conversation with Isaac about my hair. I didn’t get to show him my tattoo anymore because it was right about this time that I saw Sanya and Zac having their little moment and I wanted to witness it LOL. I need to mention that Isaac is stunning IRL and he has a flawless profile.
We also gave them postcards that I pilfered from Klassy‘s (one of my best friends and another member of our HCoT who now lives in San Francisco) wedding.
I one-arm hugged Zac on our way out and it wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be. I always wonder how fans can hug or kiss them on their cheeks (Filipinos are quite the affectionate people) and it took a bit of courage on my part to ask Zac for a hug. Good thing he’s always happy to oblige but I think that’s going to be a one-time thing for me. It’s just so weird! I don’t even hug my friends unless I’m drunk or deliriously happy.
Back in our hotel room, I put on another specially picked out, super fancy 65PHP concert dress. We head down to the lobby and run into a bunch of fashionably dressed girls in high heels. We’re talking pumps here, not sensible wedges you can go crazy in. CEBOOM!
Things got a little dramatic inside the ballroom. I know I’m going to sound like an entitled brat so I’ll try to be quick. Our tickets said Row A but there were house seats in front of us. It’s bad enough that there was a mix-up and we didn’t get center but the house seats row extended way beyond the paid rows and we got stuck at the end of it. Here’s a rough doodle:
Waaaay past Taylor’s piano, near the edge of the stage; almost like we paid for VIP seats only to see empty space in front of us.
Wah wah wah, stop complaining, Helga, you’re still super near.
No, reader, NO! This. is. Hanson.
Instead of a barricade, we had a few bouncers just chilling out by the stage. I heard from one of the HansonPH girls that they were told by, I presume the venue people, that the wires snaking across the floor would electrocute anyone who dared step on it/go near the stage. I was already pissed off at this point (I was hungry and needed sleep) and started wishing that that crap was true so I could sue the hell out of Waterfront. We have a lawyer in our Hanson Circle of Trust, okay!
There was also that issue of whether or not we were allowed to run up front because we had no idea what the Cebu crowd was like. Are they the type to stay in their seats? Complain about the Manila girls who ran to the front and blocked their view? Will the pudgy bouncers tell us to go back to our row? We were stressing out! This is not a Norah Jones concert! No one is supposed to stay put!
In the end, we decided to make a run for it. Heck, it’s the last Hanson show, we are not going to let some ill-arranged seat plan get in our way, and we are going to do this properly.
I’d be lying if I said we weren’t worried, though.
We ran. By the time Taylor asked the crowd how we were doing tonight, we were already jumping up and down in front of the house seats, in front of Taylor, and in front of a bouncer who might or might not have been taken by surprise.
Cebu Waterfront Setlist and Photos:
The problem with seeing two Hanson shows in a row is that you more or less end up with the same setlist and you realize that some of the things they did the previous night weren’t as spontaneous as you’d like them to be.
THIS IS WHERE SHIT GETS REAL.
Taylor: “So we got to play a show in Manila last night and since then we’ve had a few people request a couple of songs.”
Helga and Sanya and I guess, Yam and Triccie, too (but that’s definitely me and Sanya yelling): RUNAWAY RUN! RUNAWAY RUN!
Taylor: This is one that somebody asked us to play.
Flash back to that afternoon’s meet & greet when Kaycee (whose LJ username was blistered_feet) told us she spoke to Isaac about Runaway Run and Been There Before and asked him if they were going to play it tonight. Isaac said it should be pretty easy to do so and I don’t want to assume things but Been There Before wasn’t in the printed setlist, yet they played it SO THANK YOU, KAYCEE.
Life = made.
Taylor had us fist pump to Hey! (around the 3:46 mark) and I made a few embarrassing mistakes by punching the air and going HEY! a little ahead of time. Pretty sure I wasn’t the only one, though! If you click through the video, that’s Sanya’s head you’ll see bopping along.
By this time, I’ve had it with this song. I LIKE IT, no doubt about that, especially since This Time Around is my favorite Hanson album. But there are so many good Zac songs from The Walk that I wanted to hear; Running Man, Tearing It Down, and Go, to name a few.
Here, the bouncers decided to be total dickheads and formed a human wall, effectively blocking Sanya’s view. It was very aggravating because we didn’t travel to Cebu, buy VIP tickets, and book a night at Waterfront just to watch some dude’s back.
They also reasoned that stepping on the wires might cause technical difficulties. First— perhaps they should have thought of that while setting up the venue and taped the wires to the floor. Second— the bouncers themselves were stepping on the wires!
“Grabe yung mga bouncers talaga and that old woman represents everything I hate in the world!!!” (Triccie B, 2012)
I’m glad they played IWCTY in Cebu instead of Araneta because the audio was better at Waterfront (at least from where I was standing) and I could actually hear them sing it. Wish I could say the same for A Song To Sing and With You In Your Dreams =/
FINALLY: A SONG FROM THE WALK. They were supposed to sing Carry You There, according to the setlist, and it’s great that they opted to do this instead. The crowd was noticeably quiet, probably because they were unfamiliar with the lyrics (something that Taylor acknowledged). Admittedly, I only know the chorus and the hook by heart.
Fun fact!: while I was choosing lyrics for my tattoo, the line “When you can’t get through it, you can listen to it” was one of my options but I saw that someone already had that.
Only the most perfect song to have ever been written.
This was fantastic. I mentioned in my previous entry that I’m not too fond of Zac’s vocals but this song is perfect for him/his voice. This is by far my favorite cover they’ve done. He’s got some killer lungs, too— check out 3:20-3:44. It wasn’t captured in that video but Isaac looked so proud of him.
Here’s one of Taylor checking how Zac was doing:
It is my dream to see Hanson so many times that I’d be able to go to a show where they don’t play this song.
As a side note: I really love capturing Isaac in his element. Also: I love his hair.
To quote Triccie: There are very few things I like more than Taylor Hanson jumping & playing the harmonica at the same time.
My voice was shot, my throat was super dry, and I was ready to drop dead from exhaustion but I still had a bit of jump left in me. You’d think I’d be over the whole thing, having been at the Manila show just the previous night but who knew when I’d see my favorite band perform again? Truthfully, jumping was a little uncomfortable because my tummy would burn from hunger each time (having only eaten a rice meal from 7-11 and a corned beef pandesal the entire day). Thinking back, I can’t help but hang my head in shame at my nutty choices for that day (including spending 95PHP on a can of soda… twice!) but show-starved fangirls will be show-starved fangirls. I guess.
Once again, the set ended with all band members doing a collective jump. The bouncers were still holding hands/forming a pathetic human barricade (I’d like to know whose brilliant idea that was so I can stop blaming security lol), preventing me from getting a decent photo of everyone mid-air. I had second thoughts posting this because you can see Taylor’s daddy belly but who cares, we can’t all be built like Greek gods.
IDK, it was really annoying and I seriously doubt anyone in the crowd was crazy enough to climb up on stage and make things awkward for everyone, ya know? I just feel like their presence marred the show a bit for me because I lost my dance and squee buddy when Sanya moved away (partly my fault, too, because I was stubborn and held on to my spot). It didn’t help that one of the bouncers kept rolling his eyes at the enthusiastic fans (a gentler way to word screaming fangirls, hehe). In the end, they were overpowered because everyone wanted to touch Taylor. To be frank, I legitimately feared for my feet and camera when I got pushed forward as Taylor extended his hand towards my area. I woke up the next day with a bruise on my left foot; I don’t mind but I can’t say that’s ever happened to me!
And that was the last time we saw them.
The last three days had been so surreal and incredible that I was waiting for the universe to balance itself and throw something lulzy or bad our way. I was expecting to maybe lose a lens cap, money, my sanity, a friend… anything, really. Sanya lost one of our hotel room’s key card but that was hilarious since she “accidentally” slipped it into the gift bag she handed Taylor.
But nope. What we lost was something more valuable, something that will haunt us for the rest of our lives… LOLJK, we just missed out on saying good-bye to the guys.
We stayed up ALL NIGHT just so we could see them off in the morning. A little past 3am, we headed downstairs and loitered around the hotel lobby. Good thing Waterfront has a casino because there were definitely shadier-looking characters out and about at that ungodly hour. We eventually gave up an hour later, headed back to our room, crawled into our own beds, and talked about stuff (like whether or not we’d sleep through the breakfast buffet). At about 5am, just as we had incorporated “Get up and go” into the conversation, Yam sent us a text: Go down now.
I have never seen Sanya and Triccie move so fast, it was comical. I was barely on my feet when the both of them were out the door, running towards the elevators. I had trouble putting on a shirt because I was laughing too hard.
To make a long story short, we ended up waiting (for, like, an hour!) at the wrong wing and by the time our sassy Malaysian friend told us that they were gone… well, they were gone. We especially felt for Yam, who worked so hard on this and was asked by Taylor if she was going to see them off.
I know this sounds silly but we were kind of really sad.
I was a few months shy of 12 when I fell in love with this band and I was a little worried experiencing them live with adult eyes and adult ears and an adult heart. While I will always love them unconditionally, the years have opened my eyes to their flaws. They’re not the greatest songwriters— I mean, come on: “make it by in the pink moonlight” and “drown her pain in lemonade”? Most of their songs lack imagery (or at least fall short of my personal expectations), The Walk was didactic, and Taylor’s voice isn’t what it used to be (but it will always be one of the things I adore the most). I love this band to death but I’m not oblivious to their shortcomings and as excited as I was to see them live again, I worried that it could also be the end of my being a fan.
In the past, people would react with disbelief or laughter (this one guy thought I had a great sense of humor because of it), or just plain ridicule me for still being into “those girly blondes who sang MMMBop” and did I know they used to masturbate to the lead singer? (how super kewl and edgy and hilarrrrrrrious of you!!!!!!). No one’s ever asked me why they’re my favorite band. Having no musical know-how, I’m unable to justify why I think they’re talented musicians; I just know they are. They can write songs about nachos (they did), jet lag (they did), and Christmas sweaters (they did and it was adorable) and I would lap that up like a bowl of milk. It’s really just how they make me feel. When I need cheering up, I pop in This Time Around and things aren’t so bad anymore. There was a time when I couldn’t listen to Middle of Nowhere because the nostalgia took an almost painful physical form, like a fist to the heart (lulz dramatic). No other band or album or song has ever had that effect on me, and I do recognize that a lot of these emotions are tied to having grown up with them. Their music feels like home; there’s something comforting about their soulful, harmony-driven sound that’s very distinctly, well, Hanson. And most importantly— as they started playing the first few bars of Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin’ in that tiny function room at EDSA Shang with the majority of the audience probably hearing them for the first time since MMMBop— they make me feel proud.