Today is the fifteen year anniversary of my first concert. I was thirteen at the time, a friend of mine had promised to get us tickets to this concert before I had even contemplated it would be possible to see this amazing band live. People did that? I hadn’t even stopped to think they went to shows and saw bands perform.
In the months before the concert, I’m not sure what happened with tickets but I think false promises and failed friendships led to nothing more than shed tears. My mom and I managed to find two tickets, maybe it was online. It was 1998, did the internet sell tickets back then? It was probably through customer service at Filenes, which is now Macy’s. And I met a girl a few towns over who sold us her extra ticket. My mom, my cousin and I had lawn “seats” to see Hanson at the Albertane tour.
I bought a t-shirt and a lanyard and a tour book. I stood as close as I could to the front of the lawn section, separated by two or three rows of girls in front of me while my cousin and my mom hung back in the less cramped lawn. I lost myself inside the music and screaming. I don’t remember the show, not really, but I remember the feeling of standing alone with strangers who all had something in common with me.
Fifteen years ago I knew that Hanson would always be my favorite band. My mom chalked up my “obsession” to a phase I was going through, and humored me as long as she could. It wasn’t a phase, and I knew it back then (but who’s to say I wouldn’t have changed? Outgrown them? It doesn’t matter, because I haven’t) that they were forever in my heart.
That’s how things happen with me. They get stuck in inside the crevices of my heart and stay there forever. People, ideas, songs.
So last week Hanson’s sixth studio album Anthem came out. For a while I didn’t have any words on the album. It didn’t feel like Hanson to me, something was missing. The songs blended together. But I wasn’t paying attention. I hadn’t even stopped to pick out voices and know that Zac was singing lead on a lot more songs than I realized. I hadn’t stopped to figure out the lyrics, either. And when I first listened, a few of the songs were missing from my collection.
Those, it turns out, seemed to be the most important songs – for me – on the album. Anthem was made in a short amount of time by a band who wasn’t sure if they were going to make another album. The fact that Anthem almost didn’t exist really has an impact on the way I view a lot of the songs as well. It’s a little more rock than normal, and a little more… something else. Distanced, in a way. My three favorites are: Scream and Be Free, Tonight and Juliet.
Scream and Be Free because it’s about knowing and feeling and being. It’s about living right now and expressing yourself. Tonight is about living for the moment, as well. It (intentionally) includes titles and themes from a few past songs like On The Rocks and This Time Around and it’s one of those songs that you know will be the final song at a concert. It’s also one of those songs that makes you wonder if this is the end. Is this the last song? And Juliet because it’s sweet and upbeat and there’s something about the tempo that pulls me in.
You can listen to Anthem on Spotify here but it would be super awesome if you support the band and purchase the album. Hanson in on their own record label producing their own music and it would be awesome to see them get some recognition especially in the form of album sales. They made it up to #8 on the iTunes list when the album came out last week.
Do you remember your first concert?