Hanson at House of Blues Anaheim on Saturday Night

Hanson performing at the Pageant in St. Louis
Hanson performing at the Pageant in St. Louis
Todd Owyoung/Riverfront Times

Hanson
Sept. 10, 2011
House of Blues Anaheim

Every band claims it has the best, most loyal fans in the universe, but Hanson has a pretty strong case going for it.


Fansons, as they call themselves, are committed. Invading House of Blues Anaheim on Saturday night were mobs of girls in "I Heart Hanson" tees (and a sprinkling of boys in fedoras) who not only knew the words--and harmonies!--to all the songs, but also had choreographed moves to go with them. Up on the balcony, during the blues-inspired "Thinking "Bout Somethin,'" a group of young ladies busted out a manic, hand-jive-esque dance routine. Apparently, they were part of a Hanson flash mob--how awesome is that?  

So, yeah, Hanson has some devout fans, and for good reason. Fourteen years after the inescapable 1997 wonderhit, "MMMBop," the post-puberty, pop-rock trio is still doing what it does best: making fun, catchy music and putting on high-energy shows.  
Hanson performing at the Pageant in St. Louis
Hanson performing at the Pageant in St. Louis
Todd Owyoung/Riverfront Times

As part of its Musical Ride Tour, the band let fans vote online for which album they would play at its OC stop. The winner was the 2000 release This Time Around, with tracks veering more toward classic rock than bubblegum pop. Rounding out the set list was an assortment of other songs from various points of the brothers' 15-year career.  


They opened powerfully with songs from their newest album, Shout It Out--"Musical Ride" and "Waiting For This"--with shaggy-haired Zac leading with an impressive solo and a necktie-wearing Isaac finishing it off with lively guitar work. Song after song, frontman Taylor never stopped working the crowd, whether jumping up and down with a harmonica during the interludes of "If Only" or falling onto his back during the "In The City" finale.  

While known more for their uptempo anthems, some of the most memorable moments came when they slowed things down. The acoustic "Sure About It" and "Penny and Me" had the crowd belting and swaying in happy nostalgia. 

And yes, they did "MMMBop." They had to. It was about an octave lower than its original incarnation, but just as joyous. Even the bartenders put down their glasses and rags and watched in awe.      

Hanson closed out the set with the encore "Song To Sing," featuring just a piano and beautiful three-part harmonies. There's a reason why these guys have staying power. They've got real talent. The show was a perfect way to end the summer.  

Critic's Bias: When I saw that Hanson was playing, I did a double-take. "Wait, 'MMMBop' Hanson? That's still a thing?" 

The Crowd: Female twentysomethings. Lots of them. 
 
Random Notebook Dump: "They should lose the mustaches." 
 
Setlist: 

"Musical Ride"
"Waiting For This" 
"Where's The Love"
"Thinking "Bout Somethin'"
"You Never Know" 
"Runaway Run" 
"If Only" 
"Can't Stop" 
"Save Me" 
"Love Song"
"Sure About It" 
"Penny And Me" 
"Dying To Be Alive" 
"Hand in Hand" 
"This Time Around" 
"Look At You" 
"A Minute Without You" 
"Give A Little" 
"MMMBop"
"In The City" 
Encore: 
"A Song To Sing" 

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