An Ode to Hanson

Hanson, those three blonde brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma, immortalized with their almost annoyingly-upbeat 90s hit, “MMMBop”, were my junior high crush. I can still remember the days – dreaming about Taylor’s blue, blue eyes, listening to Middle of Nowhere so much that the CD was literally scratched from overuse, and buying up all of the Hanson merchandise I could find.

At some point however, I stopped paying attention to the band. Sure, news filtered through (they broke away from their record label and formed their own, each of the brothers got married, and in turn, started having children), but I didn’t hear much of their last two albums, Underneath and The Walk.

When I found out that they were coming to the Edmonton Event Centre in September, I didn’t immediately jump at the opportunity to see them because of the gap of familiarity with their music. Mack finally convinced me to seize this chance, and generously agreeing to accompany me, sealed the deal.

We arrived at the venue at 7:30pm, expecting the doors to open at 8pm, as indicated on the tickets. As Murphy Law goes (exacerbated by incompetent event staff), the doors finally opened at 8:45 to a trickle of impatient patrons. It was nearly half an hour later when we finally made it inside the venue.

I’ve never been to the EEC before, but after this experience, I may not be back. Besides seating in the enclosed bar, two rows of stools and tables along one side provided the extent of possible seats. While standing room only provided space to dance and sway, Mack and I ended up on our feet for nearly five hours – my ankles just ached by night’s end.

At any rate, onto the concert. The opening act, Everybody Else, was decent, besides the fact that they patronized the audience by labelling us “Canada” (I still think they had no idea, geographically, where they were).

Forty-five minutes after Everybody Else departed the stage, Hanson finally made their appearance. As I had seen in recent photos, the boys have matured, but still retain the charm that I remember: Taylor, still as boyishly cute as ever (with a reduced number of chokers around his neck); Ike, with his gangly frame was the calming force on stage; and Zac, his drummer-necessitated hair toss perfected, couldn’t stop smiling, in that “I can’t believe girls still scream for us ten years later” way.

The Middle of Nowhere reprieves were my favourite moments of the night (“MMMBop”, “A Minute Without You”, and a disappointing acoustic version of “Where’s the Love”), if not only because they were the only songs I could sing along to. Unfortunately for me, the majority of the playlist had been chosen from Underneath and The Walk, so I heard many of the night’s songs for the first time. “Ain’t No Sunshine”, their only cover, was great – Taylor’s solo wonderfully showcased his talent on the keyboard. Their two new songs (yet to be released), were unimpressive though, as the chorus only consisted of a three or four word repetition.

The concert experience as a whole was interesting – I have never been in a room where such unabashed Hanson-love was in the air. Screaming, dancing, glo-stick waving – it was an all out party to the Hanson beat.

While it was nice to see them live (and to see that they can sing just as well as their recordings), I think my past need to be with them in the same room has been fulfilled. Thanks for a great show, boys!

Here are the least-blurry of the photos I attempted to take.

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