With the release of their new album, Anthem, Hanson has been busy on their world tour which will take them around the US, Europe, and eventually Jamaica.
There’s something phenomenal about seeing a band that made such a huge impact on your childhood 20 years later as an adult. If there’s one band that defined the schoolyard chat of the 90s, it was that of Hanson. Coming into the venue, there was one thing about the crowd that was undeniable: that nearly everyone there was female. I couldn’t help but laugh at the probability of the concert-goers being the same schoolyard chums that filled the air with their songs, and walls with their posters.
Yet as the concert went on, I realized that I may have been wrong. Hanson had maintained their following and picked up some along the way. As they began every song, the crowd cheered just as enthusiastically as the song before it. The audience sang along to every song. They knew every single lyric. Every. Single. One. This energy maintained throughout the entire set and never once faltered.
Hanson performs like a band who has been on the circuit for years… which is exactly what they are. As anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows, they shot to fame as teenagers with their Grammy award nominated smash hit “MMMBop.” They’ve got their technique down to the level of older professionals and stage presence that commands the attention throughout their show. The use of the audience to sing chorus on a few of the songs while the boys sang lead and even harmonized with the crowd was something I’ve never seen before.
And they’re all equally talented.
The most intriguing part of the show was that the band was always changing it up. Starting with Taylor on tambourine and bringing an early energy to the first couple songs which led to him on piano for a few more. Mid way through the set the band stepped away from their respective instruments for a bit to play an acoustic set with Taylor and Zac on guitars (Zac later on a cajon) and Isaac on a mandolin. This change of pace was more than a surprise but very welcome as it allowed individual brothers to showcase their talents through their own. Isaac’s solo of “For Your Love” was a personal highlight, with the audience chanting and Isaac singing over that was downright beautiful.
Did I mention they’re talented?
As the pace picked up again, we saw “Juliet” sung by Zac and Taylor stepping back behind the drums and ensuring that each of the boys had time in the spot light. A fantastic rendition of “Happy Together” by the Turtles pumped up the energy for the set. It wasn’t until I heard that all too familiar opening riff that my heart began to flutter. The crowd roared (admittedly, I did too) and they went right into “MMMBop.” Taylor’s vocals sounded much like how I remember 15 years ago, still echoing that golden haired teenager that was plastered on the wall of girls everywhere. After the song died, and the children of the crowd returned back into the adults they are, Hanson dove back into their newer songs with “Get the Girl Back,” their newest single which borrows straight from the music of 60’s soul.
With the contrast of their biggest hit and their newest one, Hanson’s progression as a band and as people who have grown up in front of our eyes is so evident. Within the past 21 years the boys have evolved from long haired pop icons into mature adults, whose music has been defined by that coming of age. They embrace the music that catapulted them into fame and use that as a springboard to further the sound that they feel define them now. This is an evolution that I feel many people can relate to, and their show was just that. I admit, I was never on board with the Hanson craze like my fellow classmates. But after that show, 15 years later, they won me over. I can’t wait to see them again.
Check out their website here.