Hanson | 08.05.10

The show itself was high energy, and covered the entire span of their career.

The Pageant, St. Louis
Going to this show, I felt both curious and nostalgic. I was big fan of Hanson as a high school freshman, and though my fandom waned, I kept up with their releases. I never gotten around to going to a Hanson show before, though, so when they came through town this time, I thought I’d give it a try.
I was a bit wary of the crowd at the show—screaming fangirls can be harder on your ears than the heaviest drum beat. To allay my fears, I struck up a conversation with two young women at the front of the crowd before the show started. I found out that they came all the way from Chicago. Over the next week or so, they were going to see seven shows in six cities. All Hanson. My first response to that sort of pronouncement might be to assume the young women were dangerously obsessed—at 24, they should have grown out of that sort of thing, right?—but it was very clear that they were not there because they thought the guys in the band were cute or had secret crushes on them. There was no mention of the band’s looks at all; instead, Jamie and Andrea talked about the band’s music and how happy it made them. If most of the crowd was here to listen rather than be heard, perhaps my eardrums would be safe.
The show’s first act was Derren Raser from Kansas City. Hanson teamed up with OurStage and let fans vote on which artists got to play the first slot at each show. Derren played for about 20 minutes, an enjoyable set of acoustic singer-songwriter rock that seemed to go over well. Derren plays a lot in the Midwest, so I’m sure he’ll be back soon.
The next act was Rooney, a band I knew of in name only. I knew the lead singer had played the male lead in The Princess Diaries 10 years ago, and that they’d toured with Hanson before. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but was very pleasantly surprised to hear them for the first time. They were more rock than pop, but the songs were amazingly catchy. I’ve listened to their current single, “I Can’t Get Enough,” more times than I’d like to admit since the show. They’ve toured with everyone from Weezer to…well, Hanson, so I imagine they’ll be back soon and I will certainly be at the show.
Rooney loosened up the already excited crowd, and the air was raw with anticipation before the main act came on. When they finally did, after a montage of ’50s and ’60s rock tunes, there was the requisite screaming, but it was tamer than I thought it would be (my eardrums breathed a sigh of relief). The band was just as enthusiastic as the audience. I had spoken with Isaac Hanson earlier in the week and he spoke of his joy that he still gets to play music for a living. The brothers are all grown up: all three are married with at least one child, though Taylor skews the average by having four youngsters. The kids get to visit on the road sometimes, and Isaac said it’s cool that the kids get to see what Daddy does for a job.
It’s pretty cool for the rest of us, as well. The show itself was high energy, and covered the entire span of their career. Some of the songs from earlier albums like Middle of Nowhere, which spawned “MMMBop,” were performed with an aggression that wasn’t originally present. This is in no doubt due to the fact that Taylor’s voice changed long ago, and the fact that playing the songs live for so long has allowed the brothers to develop an intimacy with them. They’re not stuck playing them exactly the same way they were recorded.
There wasn’t a lot of stage banter, but it wasn’t necessary, as the music did more than enough to keep the crowd going. It’s obvious the band has been spending the last decade or so honing their craft. Taylor’s voice (as well as Isaac’s and Zac’s) has matured well, and he hasn’t suffered at all for his voice aging. Their easy musicianship again shows how long they’ve been playing and their relationship with their own music. The fact that songs written when they were children could still be vested with as much fun as those tunes would have been at their first tour says a lot for both the strength of the band and the energy of their shows.
Overall, I wouldn’t say I’m about to go see seven concerts in six cities any time soon, but I wouldn’t hesitate to see them the next time they’re in town. They put on a great show, and once I realized their fans were mostly there because they loved the music as opposed to being starry-eyed and infatuated, it was fun to watch them sing along and know they were having the time of their lives. | Teresa Montgomery

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