After having my name ticked off the door list, I sheepishly join the two lines that are growing from the pavement and converging into one dense line at the bottom of the stairs.
It’s a Wednesday night at the Cooly Hotel and having worked all day and battled thick peak hour traffic from Brisbane, I’d normally have gone for comfortable shoes.
But not tonight.
From past experience, height is necessary.
Surveying the others in the lines, I’m satisfied with my selection of Camper wedge heels, but then am suddenly flooded with a feeling of apprehension and a knotted fire burning within. Claustrophobia perhaps? Or nerves?
The lines begin to swell forward and it’s not long before I’m up the stairs and inside a large, dimly lit open room, with a bar in the rear and an illuminated but still, set stage.
Without thinking I head for the far side of the stage where it’s less crowded.
A fifth row position with uninterrupted views of the grand piano, drums and mic stand, where I know the guitarist will be, is mine.
Right on 8:30pm, the support act Adam Martin takes the stage and warms us up.
But adding to my apprehension and confusion are the conversations happening around me from women in their 30s sharing photos of babies and talking about toy trucks. Something I’m used to in other circumstances but not really at concerts and the like.
Their stories are cut short as we’re hit by a deafening high pitched roar that swarms the crowd as Hanson bound on stage and take up their expected instruments, with Taylor grabbing his mic and moving to centre stage.
An explosion of soulful and unstoppable Hanson rock ’n’ roll permeates the room and my body. Finding it hard to be in the moment and believe that I’m at my fourth Hanson concert since 1997, I realise I have to decide whether I’m going to be an onlooker or return the energy and enthusiasm.
It feels so foreign from my daily life, but as soon as I give over to the beat, the lyrics, the riff and melody, I realise that the fire burning inside is excitement. I’m Fired Up! And don’t want to be anywhere else.
As the first Australian Hanson concert of the Anthem Tour to have a fan voted set list, we were in for over two hours of surprises.
Following Fired Up, the first set included:
Where’s the love
And I waited
This time around
Switching to an acoustic set, we were treated to:
Wish that I was there
The third set saw their energy levels go one better and Hanson engage more with the crowd between songs, introducing:
Lost without you
Been there before
Penny and me
A minute without you
Whilst, Fired Up, Weird and Juliet were highlights for me thus far, Taylor then announced that the next song was a rarity.
“We’ve never performed this song before in Australia. But voted by you, this next song is Cried/Cry,” Taylor said.
Immediately I was transported to my teenage bedroom of 1997 and saw myself enjoying the ‘I will come to you’ single b-side song, Cry/Cried.
Thinking ‘Bout Something and Give a Little from their 2012 Shout It Out album release followed, before they gave the 20-odd males in the room some advice on how to Get the Girl Back when they, the guys, occasionally blow it with their girl.
The set closed with MMMBop and Lost Without Each Other before the guys returned for an encore with You Can’t Stop Us from their latest release, Anthem, and Man from Milwaukee from their 1997 Middle of Nowhere album. I was in rock ’n’ roll power-pop heaven!
With their final bow, the crowd made an agreement with Hanson that we’d all come back and support them when they return for another tour.
Count me in, but I can’t help but feel fired up and inspired to do more than just that.
Although it’s been a few years since I embraced my inner gypsy, somehow packing away my Thermomix and cookie-cutter 9-5 job for a few months on the road myself is very appealing.
Chasing live music across America for a few months and staying alive to the 13 year old dreamer inside might just be worth diggin’ my hot heels in for.