On Monday, July 13th, my best friend's dad (who made this whole experience possible) drove us up to Denver, Colorado from Oklahoma. We arrived at the Red Rocks amphitheater on Wednesday, July 15th... 3 days prior to the concert. We wanted to make sure we'd get there FIRST, since we had General Admission Tickets (which was first-come first-serve for Rows 1-24). We WANTED to camp out at Red Rocks for those 3 days before the concert to get front row. We explored the empty amphitheater, went on stage, begged numerous security guards to let us sleep there, etc. We even snuck backstage! It was so neat, because we kept thinking to ourselves, "Hanson will be walking around in HERE in 4 days"... then we started kissing the walls and touching everything possible, hehe. Well, while sitting outside all day Wednesday, we found out that there was a Savage Garden concert that night! A bunch of Savage Garden fans starting arriving, so we had to go to the other side of the stairs... we had to make our own "Hanson line". There were NO OTHER HANSON FANS there besides us, we felt sorta weird. The security people were impressed at our determination :) Then we met a few girls in line for Savage Garden who were also going to the Hanson concert... they saw our Hanson shirts and started talking to us. Lucy & I THOUGHT they had come to wait for the Hanson concert like us, so I asked them, and they said, "There are 4 days before that concert! Are you guys crazy?" Hehe, yeah, I'd say we're crazy. So we figured out that they had come to see Savage Garden (which is pretty cool!). Those girls were really nice, one of their mom's even met Hanson in LA! Neat?
We left Red Rocks for that night, since there was a Savage Garden concert. Security guards also reminded us that camping out there was not allowed, SOOO we decided to camp out at a park 5 miles away. It was all cool until a big thunder-storm came! We were forced to leave so we went out in the Rocky Mountains somewhere and slept in the car (NOT a good idea, never again!).
EARLY the next morning (July 16th) we headed back to Red Rocks (around 6:00AM) to make sure no fans were there yet. We pulled up at the "Early-Bird Stairs" and there was absolutely NO ONE there yet. We were very relieved... the front row was OURS'! We walked up to the amphitheater and went onstage, backstage, front row, everywhere. The security guards had basically become our friends at that point, from being there so long. They all thought we were crazy though. Nah, we're not crazy, we're just truely determined AND very dedciated Hanson Fans! :) We hung around there for a while, awaiting the crowd of fans to show up, but they never did! We were in shock! We were the only fans there 2 days before the concert, we thought that something was very wrong with the picture. What's up with the fans? We left.
We went to a bran-new Marriot Hotel about 10 miles from Red Rocks (the closest, nicest hotel). It was a *nice* hotel, definitely something that Hanson would stay in! We went out to eat and stuff, and while we were headed back to the hotel, Lucy & I noticed 2 HUGE white vans in a row, with lots of tinted windows and "Marriot" written on the sides. We freaked out! That's what Hanson would go around town in instead of their big tourbus! Unfortunately we couldn't stop... but we seriously thought it was them, and it was definitely possible because it was already July 16th (and they had already left San Fransisco!)!
That night in the hotel, I had a weird dream and I remembered TAYLOR yelling down a hallway, "Zac! Come back!" (keep that in mind!). The next morning (Friday the 17th) we went back up to Red Rocks and hung around again. Once again there were NO fans there yet, we were so happy! We sat at the early-bird stairs and just Hansonzied. Later in the day Hanson fans began showing up. Most were really nice, some were VERY posessive! (One girl yelled, "Zac is mine!!!" I hate fans who do crap like that to each other, Lucy was ready to kill her! We laughed at the little brat and said, "Yeah. whatever. :)"). We met 2 cool girls -Merissa (14) and Stephanie (19)- who we hung out with the whole time and in the concert. We talked & talked & talked about Hanson of course, and kept saying how much we wanted to meet them and stuff... it was cool. Merissa had a big boom-box, so we blasted Hanson on it :) About 30 other fans came, and we all were talking & singing & praising the stage, it was cool. It was neat talking to people from Texas, New Mexico and California and stuff... we felt sorta weird saying NEW JERSEY, everyone was shocked. Lucy & I shared our Hanson experiences from Rosie O'Donnell and Arthur Ashe Kid's Day, it was fun. Later on, the subject of Hanson's HOTEL came up. This girl said, "Do you guys know where Hanson is staying?! They are supposedly at the new Marriot, it's the closest hotel and it's really nice". Lucy & I freaked out! That's where we stayed! Ahhh! You know how I had that dream about Tay yelling down a hallway, "Zac! Come back!" well it probably was NOT A DREAM! *Doh!* Of all my Hanson dreams, that one was [most likely] REAL-life. That gives chills down my spine... yikes, darn!
Around 5:00PM that night at Red Rocks w/all the fans... the special night before the concert, everyone began leaving. They all went to go find the Marriot Hotel (that we had just stayed in). Only about 10 fans stayed, including Lucy, Merissa, Stephanie and I. Although we were threatened to be kicked out at mid-night, we wanted to take our chances and camp out. So we sat by the early-bird section (again) and Hansonized. Merissa told us about being in Tulsa on July 8th (the Tulsa concert), and how she didn't have tickets but she saw their tourbus. We asked her what it looked like & stuff, and she described it- "It's HUGE, dark blue, and it has a shooting star across the side!". This information came in handy, because THAT'S when this girl came running to us saying that a big, blue bus pulled up! We freaked out and ran UP higher to look down & see if it was the bus. YUP, it was Hanson! We ended up meeting them. *WOWOWOW* It was incredible! Go here to read my "Meeting Hanson" experience. I'll skip that [awesome] part for now, onto the concert!!!
Ok, WELL, that night (July 17th) after Hanson left, we went back up to the amphitheater to get our stuff. We were shaking and crying from happiness! I can't explain the feeling! Anywayz, we got up there and tons of security guards told us we could NOT sleep there (stupid people). They told us that all the gates would be locked until about 3:00AM. Other guards told us they'd open at 12:00AM. Other guards said they'd open at 2:00AM. OTHER guards said they'd open at 6:00AM! AAHH, confusion! We were sooo frustrated at these people, I was ready to kill them all! Sooo we finally found the manager dude, who knew the "correct" answer (which turned out to be INcorrect), and he told us to wait outside the gates around 4:00AM. (We begged & begged & begged for them to let us simply sleep there, but they refused...). Then we asked about sleeping out by the gates and they told us there would POLICE checking, making sure no one was around (yikes!). We found Lucy's and Merissa's parents and we all left... headed to the campground 5 miles away to plan things for the concert the next day!
It was about 10:00PM, we were at the camp, outside under the stars & moonlight... it was Lucy, Lucy's dad & I ALONG WITH Merissa, both Merissa's parents ALONG WITH Stephanie (she is 19)... so 7 people. Lucy, Merissa, Stephania and I (the ultimate Hanson fans) all planned that we'd leave at 1:00AM to the gate at Red Rocks (we'd hide from the cops). So Stephanie went to sleep in her car while Lucy, Merissa & I hung out and repeated over & over & over to each other, "I can't believe we just MET HANSON"... we could NOT sleep, nor did we want to sleep! Instead we hopped around the campground in our sleeping-bags... looking like big worms, hehe. We were hyper and in total shock (from meeting Hanson).
1:00AM came, we woke Stephanie up, we got our Hanson signs, back-packs, gallons of water, camaras, other concert supplies... we told everyone "Good-Bye, see u at the concert", we got into Stephanie's COOL car and LEFT! ***(I could write another whole story about that car! Dude, it was the funniest, bestest old car in the world! It doesn't freaking turn and it can't make it through green lights!!! LOL, we almost died of laughter, I LOVE that car!! I am laughing right now just thinking about it)*** Only Lucy, Merissa and Steph would understand- it was the best :) SOOOO, anyways us 4 Hanson fans were officially on our way to Red Rocks for the SECOND best day of our lives :) ...meeting Hanson was THE best
We drove into one of the winding driveways at Red Rocks (there were THREE entrances), and there was a big gate with a sign saying, "Ticket-holders line up". There was NOBODY there, no fans yet, so we left to check the other 2 entrances. As we were turning around, Stephanie was backing up and we hit the guard-rail! Hehhe, it was SO funny... I saw it coming I was like, "WATCH OUT!!" but she didn't react fast enough, hehe, I don't blame her- it was 1 in the morning and we had just met Hanson! Steph got out of the car to see if she did any damage but LUCKILY it was O-Tay (Good thing! B/c that car was gettin us front row!). We drove around the highways looking for the other entrances. Oh my gosh, we had the time of our lives that night in that car... it would get stuck while turning and it wouldn't go fast enough to make it through green lights and OH, it was SO funny, I love it. Anywayz, sorry, here I go about the car again... I can't get over that thing & how much fun we had :)
So we drove around for hours & hours & hours... like 3 or 4 hours to 'condense it a little bit', and the stupid gates were STILL not open. We wanted to park next to a gate, but we were afraid that the police would come and kick us out or fine us (there were "No Parking" signs EVERYWHERE b/c they knew people would sleep out for the concert). It was crazy! SOOO, instead we found a small hidden DITCH off the side of the road right by the Red Rocks gate! It went down into the tall grass, so no police could catch us! It was perfect! We drove down into it (almost broke the car) and we sat there for a LONG time... we officially named our ditch "Our Hole". We sat there in the pitch blackness, we watched each car that passed us, making sure no one was going into the gates. It was crazy. We got absolutely NO sleep at all. Then Steph & Merissa went out into the woods to pee, hehe, Steph had toilet paper in her car... she was prepared for doing crazy things like this! We sat there ALL night, no food, no beds, no comfort, no air-conditioning, no light... until the sun began rising...
We sat there motionless, and watched as a few cars went in the gates! It was about 5:00AM. We didn't want to leave our spot in "Our Hole", b/c people (other cars full of fans) would steel it. Steph and I decided to go and WALK alll the way to the gate and up into Red Rocks to see if fans were up there yet. So we did... about 2 miles... blah blah blah, nobody was there... as we were walking back this group of trouble-makers (teenage guys w/a car) started whistling at us and crap... *doh* uhm, Taylor? Where was Hanson?! :( We just walked really fast back to the car. We finally got there and this other car w/Hanson fans parked behind us! We were MAD! They invaded OUR hole! Hehe, I was like, "Ahhh! It's OUR hole!! Get out!!" hehe, they lady (their mom) got really mad and said it wasn't anybody's hole, hehe, but it was OUR hole darnit! UGH, we were forced to share. Then another car came, and another, and another (it was like 7:00AM) and OUR hole was full of Hanson fans. We were in the front though! :) Everyone anxiously waited for the gates to open. We met this really nice family who's son (8) was there to see Hanson. We talked to them for a while, it was nice. Many cars left to try the other entrances and they didn't come back, which scared us, but we stayed in Our Hole with the others. Hours & hours & hours went by, and the gates still didn't open. There were many false alarms... where everyone behind us went flying out and we just sat there and watched, it was crazy. We were really exhausted & tired & weak & confused ... it sucked. Sitting in a car, WAITING for over 12 hours gets draggy, BUT we desperately wanted good seats to the concert. At about 12:00PM in the afternoon, EVERYONE left us. We had no clue on where they went (other entrances?) but we were REALLY scared that THEY were getting in somewhere. EVENTUALLY a police stopped next to us and told us to go to the other entrance b/c 100's of cars were lining up! I bursted out into tears!!! We were sooooo mad, it was unbelieveable. ALL that hell we went through, ALL that waiting, ALL that pain & strife to be in the front, to be FIRST... and we're stuck about 100 cars back in line! Ahhhhh! It was a nightmare, I was screaming & crying. Totally UNFAIR that they opened the other gates first, when they KNEW we were sitting there waiting. Well, we pulled up at the correct entrance and stopped to see what to do... in the view there were about 50 cars lined up, I was ready to die. The lady started walking away so I SCREAMED, "Excuse me?!?!? We need help!!!" She yelled at me, "Excuse YOU young lady!?!" Hehhe, I didn't care at that point, I was so mad. We were told to get in line and wait until they start loading the cars in, so we did. We caused such a commotion from Lucy & my screaming and crying, that everyone was staring at us (they had no idea what we went through though!), and the family with the son called us over to talk after we parked. They told us how this car-line up would work: At 3:45PM (or something) the guards would begin to let 10 cars in at a time to go in, park, and begin the LONG walk up to the early-bird stairs (where everyone would wait to get in the concert). I cried even more, because I KNEW I could've been the very first person up there if we weren't so far back in line! THEN this family made a deal with us: Since their car was about 30-50 cars in front of ours', and none of them could run up all the stairs to get in front of everyone, that either Lucy, Merissa, Steph or I get in THEIR car and promise to save them seats! Then everyone looked at ME! Decision made... it was up to ME to run about 1/2 mile UP hills and UP 50-million-zillion stairs! Talk about PRESSURE, I was ready to cry again (I actually did while running). But it wasn't time yet, so we just hung around, we made some shade w/a blanket & some rods, and brought out the ice-chest to suck on ice (to get SOME fluids in us!). I felt like I had NO energy to run- no food in over 72 hours, no sleep in over 72 hours, no drinks, nothing (BIG mistakes). It was almost over 100 degrees outside in pure sunshine... I seriously thought I'd pass out or something if I tried running.
About 3 hours passed, it was like 3:00PM, and another 100 cars had lined up. I rested myself, drank some water, ate half a NutriGrain Bar (I could barely stuff that half into me I felt so sick!). Lucy, Merissa, Steph and I felt disgusting- dirty, sweaty, weak, tired, HOT, dehydrated, etc. The heat was tremendous (it was record-breaking for Denver!) and we all got the energy drained from us by the sun. It was really hell, on top of it all, we were about 30 cars back... that's the family's car! I had to beat 30 cars FULL of Hanson fans (PLUS heck knows how many in the other entrances) to get decent seats (yikes)! I stretched my legs, joints, arms, back and everything... other fans looked at me weird, I think I intimidaded them, hehe! Afterall, I AM a gymnast and I do have pretty big muscles, so everyone looked afraid :) That was 1 advantage, the only advantage.
At 3:45 they FINALLY began letting 10 cars in at a time. I sat at the edge of the seat, holding the door handle, getting ready to jump out and run. Our turn came, we pulled up before the parking area, they stopped the car, I FLEW out the door and raaaaannn! I saw a bunch of girls walking about 300 feet in front of me (quite a ways away) so I kept striving to go faster. I was the only one running though!! It was so weird, I guess nobody else could take the heat! I passed this group of 10 girls and they were trying to get this girl to run, they were like, "Go! Go! You have to beat her [referring to ME]!". Hehe, I was like, "BYE!". I passed about 20 girls when I finally reached the early-bird stairs... that's when the hardest part came. I looked up at them, took a deep breathe and ran up by skipping 2 steps with each leap. By the 12th flight I was ready to faint. There were about 24 flights of stairs with 6 steps on each (that's 144 steps UPHILL), people were sitting down to catch their breaths. Most were slowly walking up them, so I passed a bunch. Everyone was heeving and panting, and the heat was incredible, it was hell. That was the LONGEST, STEEPEST flight of stairs I've ever seen. I kept thinking "gotta get front row, HANSON! gotta get front row, HANSON" while killing myself. Then I heard someone up in front of me yell, "Taylor!" so I really picked up the pace! I passed this girl who started walking and she was like, "Oh my god, I can't breathe. This is so awful!". I agreed with her and kept going. I finally reached the top where guards & some fans stood, and I layed on my back & spread my arms & legs out like I was dead or something to save room for Lucy, Merissa, Steph & the family. There were only about 6 girls in front of me, I couldn't believe I made it! I have no idea where all that energy came from. Well, we were assured of getting AMAZING seats, so now all we had to do was wait (and what a LOONG wait it was!). A couple HUNDRED fans patiently sat on the stairs in the dreaded record-breaking heat, and just prayed that security would let us in. We sat there and FRIED from 3:45 to about 6:30. All in all, I had waited 15 hours to be seated in this concert, CRAZY isn't it!? (from 1AM to 6PM) Let me tell you, it was TOTALLY worth it!!
Finally the security let us through... what a MESS! Girls were running & scrambling for the center of the front row, people were tripping over each other and ugh! It was so awful. I ran like hell & got the center of the second row, which I was extremely pleased with. We had THE greatest view, and there were no stupid security guards in front of our faces, it was amazing. You see, each row in that venue was elevated 1 higher than the other... which was awesome b/c Hanson could see u from wherever, b/c no-one was in front of you! :) AND no stupid signs could block your view! It was definitely the BEST venue! Ok, now here's the good part:
The concert had started at about 7PM! The Baha Men came out, and the place was groovin! They played some reggae up-beat music, and they really had the crowd pumped! It was fun! Then Admiral Twin came out and the crowd was still really excited. They really rocked the place! The dude with the frow-hair style (Mark Carr) was so funny, he's awesome. Jarod Gollihare was lookin really cool on the drums, and John Russell & Brad Becker were great too! Well, after they were done, we had to wait 20 minutes for Hanson to come out. While waiting, these 2 short blonde kids who were running around on the stage caused a total commotion among the audience! Everyone thought they were Avery & Mackie, or Jessica & Mackie BUT they weren't. All these girls screamed at the top of their lungs when they saw these 2 kids playing. It was pretty funny actually, because everyone was screaming for absolutely nothing! I'm 100% positive they weren't part of Hanson's family, because I met the real Jessie, Avie & Mackie the night before the concert, and these 2 kids onstage didn't look like either them at all. This girl near me was like "Oh my god, Mackie just waved to me!" and I just sorta rolled my eyes & giggled to myself. Anywayz I thought it was funny. I left my seat to go buy some merchandise, and I suddenly heard this MASS of screaming. I ran to see what was up, and to my surprise there stood Taylor on the rocks (just like the night b4) waving to everyone & video-taping us all! All these fans were lined up above me on this ledge, while I was basically ALONE with my friend Marissa. It all got quiet, and she yelled "Taylor!!!" and simultaneously I frantically started waving, and he smiled & waved to us. It was pretty darn cool! Then we were kicked out of the area by security, so we went back to our seats.
Finally the time came for Hanson to begin! The curtain was down, the lights were off, and the crowd was hyped as ever. The first few guitar notes of "Gimme Some Lovin" began, the curtain dropped, and there stood the 3 greatest musicians ever! The screaming was ear-piercing, ouch! (I can't complain though, because I contributed QUITE a bit to it, hehe). Hanson said that Red Rocks was the loudest so far, and the coolest venue to play! Awesome huh? The music sounded better than ever, and the whole place was ROCKing! :) Hanson has blended their 'new' voices together SO well, oh man they sound incredible! They interacted with the crowd a lot, by talking to us all & really getting us pumped. Tay & Zac SOAKED us with their supersoakers, which was fun & felt great. The only thing was that they got water all over my signs, so now I have these blurry water-spots due to Taylor, hehe. Oh well, I'm not complaining! Lucy & I shot about 5 bottles of silly string at them, which got their attention. It was really fun!
The songs that really touched me were "I Will Come To You", "More Than Anything", "Stories", "Weird", and definitely "With You In Your Dreams". They introduced it by saying "We wrote this about our grandmother" and Tay began playing the first few notes on the keyboard... I couldn't hold my tears in. They sounded SO devoted & loving, it was wonderful. There is something about the way that Zac plays the bass in it, itz just SO inspiring and soulful, I totally admire it. It was the most beautiful song in the world.
Another highlight was when Tay took over the drums! WOW, he can really play! I was so impressed! Also Ike's solo "More Than Anything" was really beautiful! I noticed that a lot of people sat down, but my best friend & I didn't. We stood there in awe & cried & swayed our arms & sang along. It was great. We totally bawled our eyes out on "I Will Come To You", man o man. That is my absolute favorite song. The lyrics are so intense, and I just LOVE everything about it. I really love the part where it goes "you won't have to reach out for me" and Taylor sorta extends it to "me-e-e-e" (on the 10 Spot)... oooh, I just loooove that. After wiping my tears away on that song, they began "A Minute Without You". Lucy & I have a THING for that song, itz like the greatest ever! We totally enjoyed it & watched as Ike jammed away on the guitar. He can get pretty wild! :) Of course "Summertime Blues" was a blast too! Tay walked over to us & put his mic out for us to sing "there ain't no cure for the summer time blues!" so that was a real delight!
During the concert I tossed my frisbee onstage (it was bright orange & it had a big, black Hanson symbol on it). It landed right under Tay's bongos! Tay ran it & was like "Hey, a frisbee!", then he tossed it to the crowd. I forgot to write a message on it, so he didn't keep it (I learned my lesson & wrote stuff for the other 5 concerts that I went to after it). So now some fan is treasuring my frisbee, hehe, ah well. Also, toilet paper went flying on the stage, and Ike, Tay & Zac looked pretty puzzled! They were like "Toilet paper!?! Okk, you guys are crazy" and everyone was laughing. Tay threw back at us, it was cute.
Finally the concert came to a sad end. They gathered in the front/middle of the stage, Ike held the mic and they sand "Weird" acapella. It was a great way to end the fun-filled night! That was THE best concert eevveerr, no doubt about it. I could talk about it for days & days & days (3 or 4 days to 'condense it a little', hehe). I had the time of my life, and it was the coolest b/c my best friend was there with me. I'll always remember it!! Thank you HANSON for making it such a memorable experience.
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