Last Tuesday night, Times Square was invaded, not by Wall Street Protestors, but by ever-energetic Hanson fans as Isaac, Taylor, and Zac, who make up the trifecta of Hanson
, brought the Musical Ride Tour to the Best Buy Theater in midtown Manhattan. Coming up on their fifteenth year in the music industry (even though their oldest member is only 30 years old), you would think that these brothers might have run out of fresh ideas, yet instead the Tulsa natives have prompted a unique tour experience to celebrate both the unusually close connection they share with their fan base and the near-fifteenth anniversary of their career.
Each show of the Musical Ride Tour is themed with one of Hanson's five full-length albums, chosen online by the fans who will be attending that concert. Isaac, who we caught up with earlier in the week, tells us that "As we started talking about what this tour should be and how unique it should be, we kind of looked around and realized that we have worked up all 67 songs of our entire catalogue. So we could play all of the songs that we normally play and all of the songs that we normally don't play in one night by giving people an opportunity to tell us what they are most excited about."
It seems that Hanson were anticipating this particular show just as much as those lined up blocking pedestrian traffic around the Best Buy Theater. "We love this city", says Isaac, "New York has always been a really good area of the country for us. There are a lot of consistently very engaged, very excited fans". For said fans, on Tuesday, the night's chosen album turned out to be number four: the album featuring a more "Gospel style of pop," according to Isaac, entitled The Walk
. Avoiding any misconceptions concert-goers may have had, should they worry that their show may be dulled down by knowing the set list ahead of time, Hanson were sure to slip in one surprise song after another in addition to the chosen album.
The show began with a few numbers from their most recent release, 2010's infectious Shout It Out
, including "Musical Ride" itself and the record's first single "Thinking 'Bout Something," for which the video went viral in the summer of 2010. Also included in the concert intro was fan-favorite, and world-favorite once upon a more innocent time in 1997, "Where's the Love," at which point all of the Fanson's (definition: Hanson fans) performed the accompanying minor dance moves that have become reflex over the past 1.5 decades.
Thereafter, The Walk
commenced with the activist-infused first track, "Great Divide." As per Hanson fashion, Taylor initiated a crowd-assisted sing-along during "Been There Before," followed by "Georgia," a song so wonderfully romantic that I convinced my brother to include it in his engagement-party play list last December. The night's crowd favorite from The Walk
tracks turned out to be Isaac's main number, "Watch Over Me."
Nearly an hour into the show, the band slowed down for an acoustic set, which featured "Go," Shout it Out's
"Carry You There," and a lone Zac on piano for title track "The Walk." The crowd was left touched and stunned by the surprising strength of Zac's vocals for only a few seconds before the older two Hansons returned to the stage for the final set of the night, which featured such apparent blinding energy that Zac felt the need to put his sunglasses on, indoors at 10:45 PM.
The fans' dedication proved a shining moment as Taylor mumbled into the microphone "Can I get a little 'whoa'?" and prompted nearly the whole audience to immediately know to begin singing the hook of repeated "Whoa"s in track "Blue Sky" before the song began or was even mentioned. As The Walk
wrapped up, Isaac featured his lead-vocal track "A Minute Without You" from debut album Middle of Nowhere
, which has developed into one of their most enjoyable live performances over the past fifteen years of touring.
More surprises came with performances from popular singles throughout the years. "If Only" was featured from This Time Around
, the album which "has won probably twice as much as any other album" in this tour's fan votes for which album to feature at a show, says Isaac. Also played to the delight of the audience was "Penny and Me" from third album Underneath
, the first full-length released on Hanson's independent label, 3CG Records. And of course, there was a mandatory floor-shaking three minutes of "Mmmbop" to wrap up the string of musical nostalgia.
For Hanson themselves, it seems that the band feels their own unique reaction to performing their early tracks. Isaac explains this, telling us, "It's funny; if people didn't know that this record was ten years old, this could easily be a new Hanson album. I think that maybe because of how young we were when the first record came out, the similarities between the music might get lost on the average person remembering what "Mmmbop" sounds like. But surprisingly, overall, the records are more consistently tied to one another than I had ever thought they were. And it makes me feel good about the musical choices that we've made over the last fifteen years."
The fans clearly feel the same way, for as the show finished up with the final tracks of The Walk
, Hanson left behind a venue full of Fansons dazed by yet another experience with the band that, after no matter how many Mmmbops, just won't get old.