The drivers in South Burlington ran into a bit of a traffic jam Wednesday afternoon. The vehicles weren’t stopped as the result of an accident, rather to allow an excited group of mostly females without shoes to cross the street. Passengers stuck their heads out of the windows to snap pictures, and a man pushing a stroller narrowly avoided being pushed into the street.
The one-mile-barefoot walk that kicks off every concert on Hanson’s “The Walk” tour began and ended at Higher Ground in South Burlington, Vt.
The Hanson brothers mixed in with the crowd as the group carefully chose their steps on the gravel and concrete. The three, who were not surrounded by hordes of security guards, talked with fans and even chatted on their cell phones.
“We don’t call the police and have them protect us,” Zac said during a phone interview.
The walk is a very “organic thing,” according to Zac.
The rain and aching feet were not even acknowledged as girls would run on the grass, trying to get ahead and speak with one of the brothers.
“We all need a reminder that we have the power to make a difference,” said Taylor Hanson, using a megaphone so he could speak to the whole group.
Taylor spoke of how the walk was not just about speaking to a huge crowd, rather connecting with fans on an individual level. The walk’s sole reason is to prove that individuals do have power even by doing one simple act such as walking barefoot.
“We think it’s really cool that they are going on walks with fans and not worried about it,” said Jessica Philbrick, a student of UVM who has seen Hanson in concert five times before.
This was Hanson’s 59th walk, and each city is different.
“Vermont hurt!” said Zac.
Philbrick, along with other loyal fans, waited for hours outside of Higher Ground for the event to start. Fans sat on chairs they had set up outside the venue, to be as comfortable as possible during the long wait. Even girls who showed up at 11 a.m. were not the first to arrive.
“It was pretty crazy because even though we were there that early, there were still people in front of us,” said Brett Knight, a junior at St. Michael’s College.
After the walk, those who participated received hand stamps which would allow them to enter the concert first and get up front.
“I took the walk!” the crowd chanted, led by Taylor.
Some stood their ground and held their spots until the show started, while others walked to Burger King or Quiznos to get lunch. The crowd still had a while to wait.
The few people multiplied, until soon enough the line stretched around the building, around a surrounding building and beyond. As 7 p.m. rolled around, the crowd grew restless, knowing that soon they would be inside.
Though, not as soon as they would have hoped.
The power of Higher Ground, as well as surrounding business, went out, due to an accident in which a power line was hit. After a half an hour, a man explained that if the power was not back on by 8:15, “other arrangements” would be made.
The entire time the power was out, the three Hanson’s were going over many options in order to put on a show without power.
“We were going to play an acoustic show,” said Zac.
The wait did not discourage the loyal fans, who stayed put in line as long as it took. Luckily enough, at exactly 8:15, the power went back on, and the show was still scheduled to go on. This did not mean they didn’t still have to wait, sound check needed to be done, and finally less than a half of an hour later, the doors were opened.
“I was a little disappointed when the power went back on,” said Zac, who was looking forward to the alternative plans they were making.
The Kate Vogel band of the United Kingdom was the first to play. Vogel, who had a powerful voice similar to that of Alanis Morissette, seemed passionate and enthusiastic, playing songs off of her new album, “Don’t Look Away.” The set was cut short for the band, only getting to play four songs.
Stephen Kellogg and the Sixer’s were the next up, causing a good amount of cheers from the crowd. With their acoustic alternative sound, goofy anecdotes and catchy beats, the Sixer’s put on a show.
“We didn’t even know about Hanson, I just wanted to see Stephen!” said Ashlee Smith, a Castleton State College student.
The lights dimmed, and the crowd was anxious as they prepared to see Hanson in just a few minutes. Fans held up signs with messages to the band.
“Vermont’s Still MMMBopin!” one of them read.
After just a few moments of chanting, the band ran out on stage, ready for the show.
With Zac on drums, Taylor on keyboard, and Issac on the guitar, the three began to play an upbeat song called “Can’t Stop.” The band proved their diversity by playing new songs, old songs, even covers such as Wilson Pickett’s, “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.”
The band played older hits such as “Where’s the Love?” in which the crowd twirled their arms round and round to the beat, “This Time Around” which was sung a capella, and the famous “MMMBop” which caused the fans to go wild.
As the audience sang every word of each song, the excitement was high, and the fans were not disappointed. The show ran a bit shorter than planned, according to Zac, though he was glad they got to play.
“We don’t want to cancel a show,” said Zac, trying to think of the few times they had ever cancelled.
The show went on until around 12:30 a.m., a bit too late for some of the younger fans to see.
“I follow Hanson because I know they are a good time to be had. They never fail to pay a great set live,” said Rachel Gallegos, from Moreno Valley, CA.
The experience is one some fans will never forget.
“Honestly one of the coolest things was seeing their tour bus pull in and almost hit us, but doing the walk with them really stands out to me,” Knight said. “Not many people can say they walked down the street with Hanson.