The Hanson diaries Music: Young fans so excited they could pop as they waited for the show.

July 04, 1998

Editor's note: If you're a 12-year-old girl growing up i suburban Baltimore in 1998, there has been only one event on your mind this summer: the concert at Nissan Pavilion of teen-age pop group Hanson.

Whitney Opdahl and Bethany Knaster, best friends, budding writers and, most important, Hanson fans (they are home-schooled, too, just like band members Ike, Tay and Zac!), offered to share their Hanson experience with us, from the day more than a month ago when they got their tickets to the afterglow of Thursday night's show. What follow are excerpts from their Hanson diaries:

May 29 (Whitney)

The phone rang at 10: 28 a.m. this morning. "We got the tickets!" my best friend, Bethany Knaster, shouted from the other end of the line. A surge of excitement went through me like a speeding bullet. Those were the four words I thought I'd never hear in my entire life! "Oh my gosh! I can't believe it!" I thought.

May 29 (Bethany)

We got the tickets today!!! It was so awesome. My dad got them off the Internet!! I had to wait for it to be explained to my mom before I could hear. I called Whitney right away. I had a weird, exciting feeling that I've never had before. I can't wait! We get the tickets via mail in 5 days.

June 8 (Whitney)

I had just gotten home from a meeting and was headed upstairs to talk to my mom. After a small hello, she says, "Oh, by the way, Mr. Knaster called. Your tickets came in today." I just about jumped through the roof! I couldn't believe it! This was great! "You have seats in section 102, row 7," she continued. My heart sank just a little. Those weren't the kind of seats I was expecting. I mean, they were good seats but I was hoping for them to be a little closer. But my hopes didn't stay low for more than a few seconds. I was going to the concert, I had acceptable seats and I was going to have a great time! After that I skipped off to bed, very happy!

June 19 (Bethany)

The tickets came in on the 8th. I wasn't home so everyone found out before I did. I hope we have a good view from our seats. I can't wait. It's so close but it seems a long way away. My mom might braid all my hair for the concert!! I can't wait, it will be so much fun!!

June 21 (Bethany)

I spent the night at Whitney's house so that we could make our signs for the concert together. We were up really late talking about music. We used very bold colors so that they would stand out. We also glued pictures of Hanson onto them. They look very good.

June 24 (Whitney)

One more week! I can't believe that we only have one more week! Beth and I have waited for almost three months to go to this concert and we're finally going! This is like a dream! I never thought that I'd ever go to something like this! Now I am and I can't believe it's really, truthfully happening until I get in the car and start to drive to Washington, D.C.!

June 29 (Whitney)

Three more days! This is almost unbearable! I can't believe that I'm actually going to see Hanson, on a stage in front of me, singing live! There is a bad side to this, though. In three days it will all be over and I'll have to go back to buying the latest magazine.

June 29 (Bethany)

I wish that right now I could take a picture of how I feel. But since a picture is worth a thousand words, a few descriptive words should cover for a mental picture of the thousands of feelings that I have right now. I feel like my whole body is smiling. My stomach is not only full of butterflies but it is ready for take off!!! I just can't wait.

July 2 (Bethany and Whitney)

Today is the day!! Beth woke up at 6: 30 a.m. and Whitney woke up at 8: 30 a.m. We actually hit the road at 3: 02 p.m.

The trip up was good for a while but there was an accident that set us back. We saw many a Hanson goer on the trip. A lot of people decorated their cars with everything from electrical tape to spray paint, signs and posters.

We had a sign in our window that said, "Beep if you are going to Hanson!!"

We arrived at the gates at 5: 47 p.m. The background music when we came in was Aerosmith. We walked around and talked to people a little and here is some of what we discovered:

We saw a lot of people holding huge signs with the call letters of a radio station on them. Many had also written the call letters on their T-shirts and on themselves. It was a Virginia radio station (Z-104) so we asked some people from Virginia what it was about. They told us that the radio people were having a contest to see who had the biggest sign with the radio station's name on it. The winner got front row seats and backstage passes.

We saw some very weirdly dressed people with green and black hair and lots of body piercings. We wonder if they mistook Hanson for Manson.

Two more people we talked to were named Allison and Nicola. They made a sign that was as big as a bed sheet!!! It said, "Allison and Nicola need an Ike ** Tay ** Zac attack!" They said it cost them $138 to make. They also got their tickets from a broker and those cost them $215 each!! Ours only cost $26.50!

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