Guys, I’m serious. You gotta learn to look past Mmmbop and the fact that one (or two, depending who you ask) of them looked like a girl back then and give Hanson a listen. Because when y’all weren’t paying attention, Isaac, Taylor and Zac grew up and turned Hanson into a legit, straight-up pop-rock band. SERIOUSLY.
I, on the other hand, have been paying attention since their album “This Time Around”. That album, with If Only (and Taylor’s awesome harmonica solo) and quite possibly one of my favorite songs EVER, Runaway Run (which the Rolling Stones reviewer called “amazing”, by the way) sealed my fate as a Hanson fan. And, no, this is not a blind, illogical love like the one I admittedly have for the Backstreet Boys. Hanson actually make good, I daresay some of it even “great”, music.
I reserved and bought tickets the first day they were available to the public, which was way back in November. Apart from the fact that I’ve never seen them perform live (I have no recollection at all of their coming to Manila when I was in college, I blame accounting class), I was also excited because their new album, “Shout it Out” was my favorite of theirs since the aforementioned “This Time Around.”
“Shout it Out”, with “easily one of the best singles of 2010” Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin’, is filled with ridiculously catchy, sunny (probably the word used most by critics to describe the songs in the album), bob-your-head-to-the-music and just downright FUN pop-rock songs. Naturally, I expected it to be a fun night and concert.
And, oh, what a night it was.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I was lucky enough to meet the guys (and lose all my mental faculties over the very brief period) AND that my friend also happened to get the first guitar pick Isaac threw to the crowd. But I daresay shaking Taylor’s hand (and not fainting on the spot) and getting a souvenir was just the icing on the cake.
I said I loved Hanson for their music, and last Friday’s concert was validation that my love was not unfounded. From the appropriate first song, Waiting for This to the mathematically-correct A Minute Without You and Taylor’s teasing vocals in Crazy Beautiful, the first half of the concert was a good mix of their lesser-known older stuff and the more upbeat songs in the new album.
It’s during the first couple of songs in the second half, though, where I, ummmm… how do I say this,
went absolutely bat-sh*t crazy had my strongest emotional reactions to the music. Wish That I Was There was an old, sappy, sentimental favorite of mine while the piano-only A Song to Sing is just so damn sad, and both Taylor and Isaac sing on it so beautifully. And they sang these songs back-to-back. So, yes, tears may have run down my cheeks and I may have sung along with one hand in the air and one over my chest.
I did not have any other extreme emotional reactions after this, errrrm, attack (I’d like to think of it as like an allergic reaction, something I can’t help). The rest of the second half of the concert, I made up for lost cardio time by alternately sweating it out and jumping around to This Time Around, dancing (or, more like my lame-ass version of it: moving my shoulders around) to Penny and Me and Give a Little, then jumping up and down again like a 14-year old on a sugar high to Lost Without Each Other (my favorite from their album “Underneath”) and to Taylor’s sick harmonica solo in If Only.
Alas, they only had one encore, In the City from “This Time Around”. I was disappointed they didn’t sing at least one more extra song, preferably the aforementioned Runaway Run (although it’s probably a good thing they didn’t as my head would’ve probably exploded within the first few notes of that guitar intro). Plus, In the City wasn’t a particular favorite of mine. I had to admit though, it was fun singing along to Taylor’s “Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me, little pretty?” and answering in my head “HELL, YEAH! I love you!”. Bwahahahaha.
Joking aside, yeah, I really do love these guys, and their music. Admittedly, their lyrics sometimes tends toward the saccharine-sweet, but I’m a sucker for that. Lyrics aside, though, they have such a great sound. Fun, summery (another word a lot of reviews used to describe “Shout it Out”), infectious and, I know I already said it, but it really is just great fun. What’s remarkable, too is that the music they’ve been playing is almost entirely written, produced, arranged and performed by just Isaac, Taylor and Zac over the last 15 years. And isn’t there something in that? Sure they haven’t been as commercially successful as some of their contemporaries, but that they’ve been around for THIS long (where are The Moffats now, anyway?), relatively scandal and drug/alchocol rehab free, too, I might add, is surely something. And not only are they still around, but the fact that they are also earning the respect of their peers (Taylor is in a band with James Iha, after all), still touring, making good music for a decade and a half could only mean that these guys have got something good going, no?
Which is why, like I said earlier, you guys gotta give them a chance and listen to their stuff. Even if you won’t love it as much as I do, I daresay it’s still much better than 90% of what’s playing on the radio nowadays, and infinitely better than what today’s pipsqueaked teen-aged pop stars are “singing”.
The Setlist: Hanson Shout it Out World Tour Live in Manila
- Waiting for This from Shout it Out
- Where’s the Love from Middle of Nowhere
- Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’ from Shout it Out
- Thinking of You from Middle of Nowhere
- Minute Without You from Middle of Nowhere
- Crazy Beautiful from Underneath
- Can’t Stop from This Time Around
- Strong Enough to Break (Acoustic) from Underneath
- Deeper (Acoustic) from Underneath
- Wish That I was There (Acoustic) from This Time Around
- A Song to Sing from This Time Around
- With You in Your Dreams from Middle of Nowhere
- This Time Around from This Time Around
- And I Waited from Shout it Out
- Penny & Me from Underneath
- Give A Little from Shout it Out
- MmmBop from Middle of Nowhere
- Lost Without Each Other from Underneath
- If Only from This Time Around
- Encore: In the City from This Time Around
Update: Part Two, where I indulge in a little silly fangirling, is up!