When I was 13, I was pretty serious.
I was pretty reserved.
I was a writer even then, spending a good deal of my time creating fictional worlds instead of living in the real one. I wasn’t a partier, or a wild child. I was responsible and level headed.
The summer of my 13th year, my best friend got me hooked on a band called Hanson. Out parents took us to a show on their first tour, and everyone joked that it would be my friend–and definitely not me–who would lose her teenage mind.
They were incorrect. The minute the band came onstage, my world went pear-shaped and my knees buckled. And in that moment, I became something else. Call it what you will: fan girl. Teenybopper. Possessed. Whatever name you choose, I embraced it with open arms.
And last week–20 years later–I embraced it again.
That’s right. Hanson–the high-pictched, man-child band who crooned MMMBop to crowds of hysterical girls in the 90’s–is still around. They’ve grown up, and so have their fans.
I’ve seen Hanson a dozen or so times since that day in my youthful summer when I nearly passed out. My friend and I once drove overnight to see them in two states in two days.
I met them once, became completely tongue-tied and poked one of them in the stomach. It was easily one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I mean, who does that? I’m not sure I’ll ever recover from that lapse of judgement. I’ve even been to a handful of concerts with my husband, who enjoys seeing his usually calm wife lose her shit completely.
But this time was special. It was a two-night event (happily in the same place, as I am too old to do that drive all night nonsense I could pull off when I was 21) and for the first time in a decade I got to go with my best friend–the one who had been there since the very beginning.
Hanson never gained a substantial number of new fans after their initial popularity in the 90’s. No, all the people who go to see them now have been on this ride with them for a while, and we all gather when they tour. I’ve not many fans like the Hanson faithful.
There were a lot of reasons the 2 nights were amazing and emotional. My BFF scoring front row seats the second night (I still have bruises on my hips from getting pushed into the barrier by the crowd) and being surrounded by so many others who knew every word along with me certainly rank high, but I think what really hit me during the performances was that the songs they were singing were literally the soundtrack to my life. The lyrics are weaved into the fabric of my history.
Singing into hair brushes with my best friend late into the night: And even if we can’t be together, we’ll be friends now and forever, and I swear that I’ll be there, come what may.
Sobbing when my high school sized heart got broken: In this life long love song you can love right, you can love wrong. In this love song you can love long. But if you love wrong it doesn’t mean love’s gone.
Blaring the music to stay awake driving home on weekends from college: Rock n roll razor blade, it cuts so deep, they failed to say. This rock n roll razor blade. For there’s nothing left in this town, for a rockerball rolling down.
The slow melodies my husband put on the radio on the way home from the hospital the day my father died: I’m looking for a song to sing, I’m looking for a friend to borrow. I’m looking for my radio, so I might find a heart to follow. I’ve never been just longing for your loving, I’ve never been just wearing down to nothing, I’ve never been just looking for a reason, so that maybe you’d be thinking of me.
Soft lullabies I sang to my baby boy: I love you more than anything, than anything I do. And I’d give anything, and everything I have, just to be with you.
And finally, crying into my best friend’s shoulder just a few nights ago, because we’ve come so far in life and I’m so lucky to have someone like her who has been in my world since I was three: Cause Penny and me like to roll the windows down, turn the radio up, push the pedal to the ground. And Penny and me like to gaze at starry skies, close our eyes, pretend to fly. It’s always Penny and me tonight.
Hearing them was like talking to an old friend, reminding me how far I’ve come. I cried. I sang until I was hoarse. I danced. Oh, how we danced.
(I did not, however, faint. Seems that I have indeed made progress).
Att 33, I’m pretty serious.
I’m pretty reserved.
But when Hanson plays a show, that fan girl will always be there to sing along.
What is your favorite band? Is there a group you have to see whenever they come to town?