Welcome to another embarrassing chapter in my life.

On September 6th, 2000 I waved goodbye to my husband and then 5 year old daughter, climbed into my sister’s minivan, and headed to Richmond, VA for my first ever Hanson concert. Just a month before we had been vacationing at my dad’s down in Florida where my nieces listened to the new Hanson CD “This Time Around” around a jillion times. When they realized Hanson’s current tour was taking them to Richmond, they not only clamored to go, but begged for me to come along.

All the moms were going – the moms of my niece’s friends, that is. While I was a mom, I wasn’t going to take a 5 year old to a concert, even if it was just Hanson. My sister told tales of the last Hanson concert she went to with her girls, which sounded more like the opening 5 minutes of “Saving Private Ryan” than a boy band concert. While I didn’t think we’d get trampled during this tour, I figured I’d go this one alone.

The world was introduced to Hanson 3 years earlier as that boy band from Oklahoma who gained fame with “Mmmbop.” I can clearly remember seeing the video for “Mmmbop” because I said to my sister-in-law, “oh, that is so cute! Those two boys are letting their little sister sing with them!”

My sister-in-law was like, “They’re all boys.” My double take was long and hard. In my head I was still picturing the miniscule little long-haired tots as we drove I-64 into Richmond, but the CD cover told a different story. These boys had grown up, and grown up nice.

Taylor “hubba hubba” Hanson

Taylor, the lead singer in the band, had metamorphosed from a little blonde-haired girl to a near perfect young man in my eyes, and in the eyes of quite a few of the other mothers, he was a thing of sheer beauty.

Ok, I was a tad smitten.

Once we got to Richmond, and the Carpenter Center, we found our seats and settled in for the show. I had helped my nieces make T-shirts and signs. We had enough giggling teens to spell out “WE ❤ HANSON!” with each girl holding one letter on a giant piece of poster board. Our seats took up most of the first row in the balcony, so the sign was quite visible.

I was still a smoker at the time, and went outside to feed my need during the warm up band. While surrounded in a cloud of smoke, I hear the girls still outside begin to scream. I turn around and there is the band, waving from an upstairs window, to the crowd below.  I was bummed that there was nobody with me to see them. Yet, at 35, married, and the mother of a 5 year old, I waved and yelled “Taylor!”

Wait, it gets worse.

I run back inside and tell my nieces that I saw the band, and while they were bummed the show was about to start. The lights go down and the band comes out on the stage. Taylor sits himself down in front of the piano and one of the mothers, without taking her eyes off him says, “I do believe I could hurt that young man.”

The concert was great. I’m not big on live shows – I mean I have to really like the band to pay money to see them live, and here I was at a concert where I barely knew any of their music. But they are really fucking talented. These kids are in their teens and they are not only writing all their own music, but playing it too!

Then my niece Meaghan dropped her “N.” Her poster board, with a giant purple “N” on it went fluttering to the seats below. We waved to the folks it landed on, and being on the end, I ran down to get it. Once on the floor, and fairly close to the stage, I decided to see how far up front I could get.

I managed to get right up by the front row, but on the side of the stage. I could kind of see the band, but there were a lot of lights and cameras and other bullshit in my way. It was their last song and I cheered and waved my big “N.”

It was then I heard the crew say, “let the girls rush the stage for the encore.”

Huh? What? The girls? I was a girl!

So, in true Typical Tracy fashion, I got front and center, proudly holding my big purple “N.” I turned to wave to my gang on the balcony, and the band came back out – I was no more than 10 feet away from Taylor as he banged away on the piano. As I watch him, surrounded by screaming teens, I can swear we make eye contact. I mean, I must’ve stuck out like a sore thumb – an overweight middle-aged housewife in the front row waving a giant “N?” How could you miss me?

And as he’s looking at me I whisper “you – are – a – god.”

What the fuck is wrong with me? I mean, this kid is 16 and I’m like a blushing school girl in the front row of a boy band concert.

The song ends and I decide to get back with the moms where I belong. I turn around and see a small girl behind me. I grab her by the shoulders and say, “Here honey, YOU get in front” and threaded my way through the crowd to the lobby.

Once back in my seat, I gave Meaghan back her now infamous “N” sign and watched the rest of the show. The boys got up and touched hands with the girl who I gave my spot to. I was happy for her. After the concert the ride home was spent comparing notes about favorite songs and rehashing funny moments.

The next time Hanson came through our area was during the Underneath tour 4 years later. My daughter was now 9 and I was determined to make this concert her very first. She had wanted to go see Aaron Carter at a local amusement park the summer before, but I wouldn’t let her – it had to be Hanson.

The same crew of girls and moms crowded into various vans and we drove to Washington DC. to see Hanson at the Warner Theater. I was still smoking, so once we had settled into our seats, I decided to go out and puff away. I was shown an exit that led to a street behind the theater, where there were several tour buses parked, along with a throng of young girls who had parked their keisters on the sidewalk in the hopes of seeing anyone from the band.

Spotting what could be a golden opportunity, I quickly ran back up to our seats, grabbed my daughter and both nieces, and headed back outside. Disposable camera in hand, we waited among the other girls hoping that we would be rewarded with a glimpse of any Hanson brother. Within minutes the door opened and out walked Taylor.

It was a serious Holy Shit moment. The crowd gasped. Both of my nieces froze. But not Aunt Tracy – I sprung into action. I dropped my purse, pushed my daughter to Meaghan and screamed “WATCH THEM!” and went in hot pursuit of one Taylor Hanson.

My one clear shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I shadowed that boy like a true, but very lame paparazzo, clicking my little cardboard disposable camera for all it was worth. Laptop in hand he walked with his little sister around the corner and into a side door of the theater. As I stopped to catch my breath, I realized that in my frenzy to get a good photo I had left my purse and my 9 year old child around the corner in the middle of a Washington DC sidewalk with my teenage nieces.

So I’m not mother of the year. But I was certainly Aunt of the century for hooking my nieces up with a face to face encounter with the one and only Taylor!

The show was great despite the fact that we were sitting next to a woman with upper arms the size of Smithfield Hams who smelled as if she hadn’t showered since Elvis played Vegas. My daughter got to see her first concert and ogle her first celebrity in the same night!

The next day we rushed to get the film developed in our crappy cardboard camera and were rewarded with one decent shot. The rest were dark and blurry partially because it was a sucky camera and partially because there was a crazed lunatic behind the shutter.

That was my last Hanson concert. My oldest neice still goes to see them whenever they play locally. Hell she even drove to Boston to see them once. We still laugh over my antics at both concerts when our families get together, and there have been many reenactments of my screaming to the band followed by a bout of smoker’s hack.

And Taylor? He married a fan and has like 5 kids now. All the brothers married fans. Too bad it could’ve been one of my nieces – It would’ve been fun to get him under the mistletoe once a year.

 

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