Couchsurfers and Hanson at Summerfest

By | July 17, 2012

JSOnline Tap Milwaukee 

Summer is undeniably Milwaukee’s most musical time of the year, with ethnic festivals on the weekends, the parks’ music series on the weeknights, and of course, Summerfest. I met up with some traveling Couchsurfers here from NYC and Germany, all of them first-timers to this city and the world’s largest music festival. While I couldn’t attend the fest with them, I offered some staple advice beforehand – be prepared to stand on the bleachers at the free stages, get a Saz’s sampler, and don’t stack your empty beer cups. They had different personalities, tastes in music, and budgets. But they all shared two common observations afterwards: Milwaukee is fun, and Milwaukee is loud.
 
Indeed.
 
I feel comfortable calling myself a veteran of Summerfest, and even more comfortable calling myself a veteran of Hanson concerts. I’ve gone to Summerfest every summer since I can remember, and I’ve been to over 40 Hanson concerts in 15 years. That said, Hanson’s show at Summerfest was one of their best performances ever.
 
The band was on fire. People showed up, packed in, and screamed for an hour and a half. Some were people curious about “that band that sang MMMbop”, and others were diehard fans with tattooed Hanson lyrics and faded autographed shirts. Hanson responded to the crowd with flawless harmonies and seamless transitions between full-band rock and intimate acoustic. Of all the shows I’ve seen over the years at Summerfest, I’ve never felt the energy of a crowd quite like this one, nor have I felt so utterly trapped between bodies. To quote reviewer Piet Levy, “Someone at Summerfest seriously underestimated the size of the Hanson fan base”.
 
My friends and I left the show with ears ringing and covered in the sweat of other people. And as we excitedly recapped our favorite Hanson moments of the night and past Summerfest experiences, while walking past street performers and surrounded by thousands of other exiting patrons, two thoughts entered my mind: Milwaukee is fun, and Milwaukee is loud.