Hanson fans gear up for another tour

By Krista Perry • Mar 11th, 2008 • Category: Living Arts, Music

Sleeping bags start littering the sidewalk at midnight. The girls huddle close together, tryingto keep warm. Some are lucky enough to have tents. Others pray it won’t rain or snow. Drunks taunt them. Cops drive by, questioning their intentions. They return in the daylight and say things like, “I can’t believe you slept outside in this city without getting shot.” The girls can barely believe it, either.

This is the scene for as many as fifty Hanson fans the night before a show. Since the majority of venues the band plays are general admission, they camp out in hopes of getting as close as possible to front row. They must fend for themselves in terms of food, severe weather, and finding a place to go to the restroom. Many store owners become furious at the sight of the girls lining the streets, assuming that it will affect business. But they refuse to budge until the venue doors open at 7 p.m.

“We’ve always had really passionate and incredible fans,” said Zac Hanson. “People either love us or hate us. I’ve never met someone who said we were just pretty good.”

Teresa Reilly, a student at UMass Amherst, has been to over 20 Hanson shows across six states, and camped out for a show in Poughkeepsie, New York. She says it is completely necessary to camp out for a Hanson show.

“Other Hanson fans camp out, so in order to get those really great spots, you need to sleep with the rats,” she said. “Plus it saves, financially.”

Despite the back pain from sleeping on a sidewalk, Reilly said she would do it again in a heartbeat.

“My best friend is a huge Hanson fan, so when dates come out that are five or so hours away, you know that you have someone that will be completely willing to make that journey with you,” she said. “Even if I start to say to myself, ‘that seems so far, there is no way,’ she convinces me that it is totally doable.”

Hanson said the he’s glad his band’s fans are so zealous.

“I don’t want to have fans that are middle of the road or a band that anyone can like because that means you are doing something too generic,” he said. “I think it is important to do something that people have a strong reaction to. It means you are doing something engaging.”

Since many fans go to as many as eight or nine shows per tour, Hanson said that he often sees familiar faces.

“I try not to call people by name because it gets weird for other fans, but there are people who come to every show we’ve done for the past five years,” he said. “If someone has been to 25 shows I probably know who they are, even if it isn’t by name.”

Becky Allen said that she goes to so many shows simply because Hanson puts on a great show.

“The guys are very energetic and their show leaves fans yearning for more opportunities to see them. I go to multiple shows because my best friend and I have been doing it since we were 12, and it’s such a fun experience for us,” she said. “If you could see your favorite band, actor/actress, or sports team on multiple occasions, why on earth wouldn’t you?”
The second leg of Hanson’s “The Walk Tour” begins this April. Before each show, the guys of Hanson will go for a one mile walk with their fans around the venue to raise AIDS awareness.

“These walks are a great way to talk to people and hear their stories,” Hanson said. “They are very personal.”

The Walk Tour hits Hampton Beach, New Hampshire on April 26 at the Casino Ballroom. The show starts at 7 p.m., but if you want to beat the rush, show up at midnight with an airbed and some munchies. You’ll be in some good company.