As time went on we had arranged for my Mother In Law to have Dylan, however closer to the time, my husband simply could not get the time off work. I was torn between staying overnight or going home, plus I had never travelled on my own before. This was going to be a pretty big deal for me.
My Hanson fan friend Maiyu and myself decided to put in for a Meet and Greet with the band, figuring it was worth a shot so we requested one back in the September, I think it was and thought nothing of it after that. On the Monday I had checked my e-mails as it was a week that day but had received nothing and I just thought to myself that it was absolutely fine. Tuesday however, hubs had asked me to e-mail something over to him. I logged into my Yahoo account and there jumped out “HANSON.net Meet & Greet winner”. I couldn’t believe my eyes, nor my absolute luck! I had gone to bed at gone 9pm and the e-mail had come in at 9.21. I was so glad I hadn’t checked my e-mails before I had gone to bed, I’d never have slept otherwise! This concert was going to be the best birthday present ever!
I had booked the Sunday off work so I could do last-minute preparations, and my MIL arrived to help out. Monday 11th Feb (2 days after my 36th birthday), I took my son to school who really didn’t want to go because he knew mummy was spending the night away from home, and I headed home to try and have a rest and get the last of my things up together.
I was so nervous! MIL dropped me off at the station and I double checked with a person on the platform that I was getting on the right train even though I had downloaded the Trainline app to make extra EXTRA sure. I sat opposite a lady, sharing a table. I tried to get my article done for the magazine done on the train but for some reason my keyboard wouldn’t sync to my tablet so I decided to forget it and just watched out the window. Luckily the lady I was sat with was getting off at the same station as I was so she let me know when to start gathering my things together ready to get off.
The station was so big. I had a little panic when I arrived there as there were so many platforms and I wondered if I was going to make it home the next day! But I stepped outside, dropped hubby a text and saw the Bullring opposite and had an hour until I could check in to my hotel. I started walking around and looking at shops, and I got the hotel up on Google Maps and just started walking in that direction popping into shops to have a look (I did make one purchase – a “Little Baby Bot” bath bomb from Lush for Dylan as a treat) and I was super excited to go into a Muji shop. Next thing I knew, I was looking at Symphony Hall and my hotel was a mere 6 minute walk away. I had been videoing along the way as well, planning on making a vlog type video to remember the day.
I arrived to the hotel early, but one of the ladies on the Whatsapp Chat that we started for other Meet & Greet winners had managed to get into hers early so I thought I would give a go. It was a bit strange turning up to the hotel and there were just kiosks to check in lol.
I had a mix of emotions, I was excited to be seeing Hanson and sad to have left hubby and Dylan behind. I headed out to Sainsburys across the road to grab something for breakfast the next day (I wasn’t spending £5.25 on the hotel’s small breakfast) and as I had to be at the venue to meet up with the M&G ladies by 5pm so I grabbed a meal deal for my tea- I hadn’t really had a proper lunch, and at this point my stomach was doing flips.
Dylan was home from school and hubby had finished work so I did a video chat with my little monkey who after being upset that morning that I was leaving, was watching telly and couldn’t give two hoots that mummy was calling. I had a regular call with hubs, and then I had to hurry up and start getting ready – my wish for a nap was clearly not happening!
Once at the venue, I started saying hello to the ladies I had been chatting to on Whatsapp for the last week and we began picking up our VIP passes. At this point, I was surprisingly calm. The nerves had vanished and I was having a great time.
The guy who was handing out the passes was hilarious and kept us all entertained and we all chatted for a while. The ladies in our M&G were all so great! The merch kiosk started setting up when we were there and I grabbed a t-shirt and a pin for my collection. I adore this pin! I have worn it to work and have popped it on my hoodie a LOT.
We had to wait a lot, it was about 6.15 when we headed off towards the side room that we were meeting the band in, and as I was in group A we went in first, it was gone 6.30 I believe. I was the last in the group to go into the room and put my bag down and go say hi. The rest is mostly a blur LOL. I remember I shook their hands, Isaac signed my book first so he asked my name and I spelled it for him, I then went to Zac for his autograph, and then Taylor who could just about squeeze it in LOL. I was then stood listening to a conversation with Zac and Lizzie and Sarah. I hardly said anything to be honest. Looking back there are a couple of things I wish I could have said:
– Talk with Zac about when Dylan was born because his son Abe was born days after him.
– Talk with Zac about the switch. Because he loves it and I think it’s awesome too.
– Mentioned to Isaac about the time I bumped into him back in 2011 when he was on his way back from the pub.
– Said how I got to see them in 2010 on my honeymoon when they played Eat To The Beat, and left my husband in the UK pavilion with a cider in each hand so I could see them.
Taylor then mentioned that we had to take our picture and I felt his hand on my shoulder to get in for the shot for a brief moment. Looking at the picture I kind of look a bit odd standing on my own out the front while everyone else is in a line LOL, but I was pretty unaware what was happening behind me. I was sure my picture was going to be a bit funny anyway as I could feel my cheek full on twitching so I was dreading seeing it but it wasn’t that bad after all lol.
In the end, we were told our time was up, and I was on auto pilot thinking that there were others who still had to have their turn and I just turned and headed straight for my bag, but I did say to the guys that we were having an absolute blast outside the room as we were all leaving.
I stood in the entrance afterwards and caught up with a bunch of my Hanson friends, including Maiyu. It was great to meet some old friends, some friends who I hadn’t met before but I had known via the fanclub/street team and some new friends too. They called that doors were open to take their seats but no one rushed to go, most people stayed in the bar area (I had taken a bottle of water with me and a small pocket squash) and slowly went and took their seat. There was one lady who I heard had taken her seat already so I went in, but she was on a balcony but we did wave hello.
The show itself was an amazing experience. I was relieved it wasn’t a standing show so it wasn’t as crazy to queue and was so laid back. Everyone was just sat and listened to the music – it wasn’t like any other show I had been to, it was great. As the orchestra started playing the opening to Reaching For The Sky, I got emotional. I was so glad I went and got to experience it. As the show went on, some fans would shout out to the band that they love them between the songs, towards the end everyone was clapping along then got up to dance, before during the last couple of songs a bunch of people went up towards the stage to dance. I, however, stayed at my seat and watched everyone debating on whether to stay where I was or go and join some of the others and get up closer for some better photos than my phone could manage.
After the show, I called hubby who insisted I get an Uber or taxi but the area outside the venue was pedestrianised and just after that where the road actually was, it was closed due to roadworks. I had to walk halfway to the hotel to have got a taxi… and quite frankly there were a lot of other fans around anyway so I was fine. I was so tired that I walked right past the gates where fans had started gathering to wait for the band, while still talking to hubs who insisted he stayed on the phone until I got to my room then.
I got dressed for bed and jumped straight in, saying goodnight to hubs. I awoke at 2am (habit from being woken in the night) but I woke up properly at 7.30 and started watching some telly, opting for a quiet and calm morning with no rush to get anywhere, minus the fact I had to be home in time for parents evening appointment. But the adrenaline had worn off, and the anxiety of getting home had kicked in.
I had been debating about going to the free museum but instead opted to head straight to the station. I had Dylan’s present so I didn’t really need to go and nose through the shops, and I checked the train times and there was one at 10.30 but I would be better off getting an Uber for that, so that’s what I did 🙂
I followed the signs for the platform shown on the app and felt pretty confident, especially when a few other people came on to the platform and asked another person if it was the right train and it was. I sat and ate another one of the blueberry muffins I had bought for breakfast on the train. It was a bit difficult carrying the 4 pack of those as well as my bags, so I knew I definitely over packed but for my first trip I just wanted to be prepared, but I will know for another time. And there will definitely be another time ^_^ The whole experience has made me more confident to do something like that again for sure. Everyone I met was so nice and friendly – even outside of the Hanson Fan community. People on the train etc were so nice and made me feel calm and safe the whole time. The Uber driver was so pleased to hear that I had such a great experience too.
[My video vlog to come soon]