Sunday, 22 December 2013

17 December 2013 - Milan, Magazzini Generali

We’d heard via the Italian promoter, who is a member of one of the Facebook groups dedicated to Hanson, that more tickets had been sold for the Milan show and friends who had been to the venue had said that it was smaller and more welcoming than the Atlantico in Rome. By the time we arrived there - at around lunchtime, having just got straight off our train from Rome, there were already a few fans there, all of whom we either knew in person or via Facebook - a few had managed to get on an earlier train from Rome. A friend of mine, with whom I’d gone to the UK shows, had flown in from the U.K. to join me and my Italian friends for the last date of the tour. It was lovely to see a familiar face from my other ‘home’. 

After getting our number and saying hello to everybody, we got a taxi to hotel to check in and get changed. We were back at the venue within the hour and the tour bus had just arrived. The walk was scheduled for 4 PM but as usual, it was pretty late when the guys emerged from the bus. By then it was quite cold and a lot of people decided that they weren’t going to take their shoes off. I did and so did my friends - one of whom had actually designed the route, although unofficially, because only Street Team leaders were allowed to ‘help’ and HNET still has not nominated a ST Leader for Italy, despite my friends’ repeated applications.

The group wasn’t very big and I soon caught up with Isaac, who was walking right in front of me. A friend of mine was talking to him and at one point in the conversation I added that it wasn’t as painful as it had been in London (where we had to walk across a stretch of this really sharp, gravelly tarmac). Both my friend and Isaac agreed that that was the case. I then thanked Isaac for the show the night before and said we’d really enjoyed it. I also said that we’d tried to promote the show as much as we could via our page but that there wasn’t much more we could have done. Isaac said it was ok, and that it was quite difficult to sell tickets in Italy. I think I then said that in any case, people travelled from other parts of Europe to go to shows. 

With my friends from the page we’d had some guitar picks made, one one side there was the Italian flag and on the other our page’s logo. I asked him if I could just give them to him now as we probably wouldn’t have a chance later and he took them and thanked me. I then joked that those were for them, and that he wasn’t to throw them at people!

I kind of kept walking near Isaac and people would come and go and talk to him. After a while, my friend joined us and I pointed out to him that she was the person who had designed the route. We chatted and joked about having cold feet and made small talk. Then my friend asked how come his brothers always walked so quickly and Isaac’s honest answer was ‘I don’t know!’. I was tempted to say ‘they’re probably trying to run away from some of their fans’ - as Taylor and Zac have some of the craziest fans. Of course I thought better of it and kept my mouth shut ;)

During Taylor’s mid-walk speech I was standing with another friend and her hands were really cold. I had hand warmers stuffed under my gloves so I put my hands over hers to warm them. It was only after a while that I realised that Isaac was right behind us, filming the speech. If that video ever gets uploaded I might be on film looking very affectionate towards my friend - but I was actually just trying to warm her hands up!

When we got walking again I spoke to Isaac again and asked him if he was excited that that night was going to be the last night on the tour, to which he of course said yes (he wasn’t going to say no, was he, really!). I then thanked him for choosing to end the tour in our country. He said that they tried to go to countries where they had fan club members. We (my friend and I were both talking to Isaac at that point) then got talking about how in Europe fans will fly to other countries to go to their shows and how different it is in the US where people will drive several hours instead. Isaac said that people in Europe get on trains to travel to different shows while in America they drive. I joked that we have planes in Europe too! The conversation then turned into a discussion on gas/petrol prices in the US compared to Europe and how Americans love their cars. I thought to myself - these guys are so easy to talk to. I don’t know why people get so nervous around them!

We also talked about the different way bands tour in the US and in Europe, and Isaac said that in the US bands just drive around everywhere and play all over the country, whereas he didn’t think that was the case in Europe - both my friend and I agreed with him. 

After the final speech we cleaned up and then went to a big supermarket nearby to get some food and use the restrooms. 

Two of my friends had M&Gs and both had a chance to ask the guys if they were going to play SABF. Zac asked my friend ‘did we play it last night’ and when my friend said yes he kind of went ‘hmm, I don’t know then’. My friend said ‘you have to play it’ and he asked why - my friend replied ‘you’ll have to wait and see’. 

While waiting outside we talked to people who were arriving and didn’t know about the surprise and asked them if they wanted to take part in our surprise. We gave them printed instructions and a confetti shooter each. The venue was a lot smaller than the venue in Rome and it looked a lot fuller. 

We didn’t expect SABF to be played so soon - I think it was the 3rd song and one of my friends behind me recognised the opening chords and yelled ‘now’, so we all started to look for the shooters inside our bags. I could see that Zac was looking at us trying to figure out what was going on, as the two girls who had requested the songs during the M&G were not paying at attention to the song at all at that point! We got the shooters ready and then someone fired - sooner than it was agreed, but it still looked amazing. Unfortunately the safety catch around the button was very stiff and it took me ages to get mine to work, and a friend had to help me. So they all kind of went off at different times but that didn’t matter because the effect was just great, and the guys looked really surprised. Isaac had this big grin on this face for the rest of the song and so did we.

VIDEO HERE - not great quality but you'll get the idea!

The show got better and better and the atmosphere was brilliant. During the Christmas songs some of us put Santa hats on and one of the girls on the other side of the stage threw one at Taylor, who first put it on the microphone stand and then put it on and sang the last song wearing it. He then gave it to Penny who could be seen behind a partition to the side of the stage.

After the show Taylor left soon afterwards in a taxi with his kids (can’t remember which ones - one was Penny). Eventually Zac and Isaac came out of the tour bus to sign. They looked very tired, especially Isaac. I asked Zac if he’d liked our surprise and he said ‘Yes, it was very….suprising!’. He then joked getting shot at, and I said that we’d made sure to point upwards as we didn’t really want to kill them.

When Isaac appeared I asked him the same question and for a split second he seemed to be confused, then he realised what I was referring to and said ‘yes, it was well thought of.’

By that point some people were taking photos with them but I felt that it wasn’t a good time and that it would be an imposition. Isaac really looked tired and I just didn’t want to look like a pest. The most important thing was that the surprise had gone down well and I was happy to leave it at that.

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