It’s A Kind of Magic – But They Aren’t Playing Around
As you listen to Anthem, the influence of the 80’s Rock legends Queen – known to be a favourite of Hanson – can be savoured in references both in the music and lyrics.
The obvious allusions are found in “You Can’t Stop Us”, but something about the whole Hanson experience is reminiscent of another Queen number.
“It’s A Kind Of Magic”, is the name of both the album and single released by Queen in 1986 and it was their last album to be accompanied by a concert tour.
Using definitions is a theme with Anthem, and the definitions of “Magic” cover many possibilities.
It can mean the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
It can suggest a quality of being beautiful and delightful in a way that seems remote from daily life and it can refer to an exceptional skill or talent.
Choose which of these best suits the Hanson experience if you will, but I bet that there is something in here for everyone.
So what of the magician himself?
Usually he works to deceive the audience with slight of hand, mind control or slick props, but the magic that Hanson deliver is not of that kind. In fact there is nothing unreal about it at all. The essence of their magic is more to do with skill, beauty and raw honesty than with tricks of the trade or illusion.
Watching their recent appearances at the Mix tape event in Hersey or the Anthem tour event in Sao Paulo, the keys reveal themselves.
Hanson’s confidence with each other on stage, the capacity to harmonise without the need to check what the other is doing, their compelling natural synergy and the passionate, professional presentation of each lyric, establish a trust within the audience. There is a sense that what is happening on stage is reality – that somehow this moment is the very best that life can offer and that whatever else may be true about life – right now the music speaks with greater truth and this experience is the only one that counts.
There are no pyrotechnics or dance routines, costume changes or light shows to dazzle and distract the audience. The music and the talent of three young men, the energy and integrity of their performance is all that is needed for this magic to work.
From the moment when Taylor Hanson aged 14 stood on the stage of the Beacon Theatre in NYC and declared that the audience had to be up on its feet; that there weren’t any rules except to have fun, there haven’t been any doubts that Hanson want their audience to squeeze the most out of the concert experience.
Some magicians use their audience. They set them up and they play games with them, tantalising them and making them doubt their own senses.
Hanson however is the antithesis of that. The audience is invited – never coerced.
The music is honest, sometimes celebrates error and the relationship between the band and the crowd is built on genuine warmth and appreciation, never deceit.
This is magic with both truth and beauty.
From the opening number, via the solo moment when the instrument is heard above the harmony, and the skill of each in his own right is displayed; to the final song in the show when the band pull together something special, Hanson manage to weave a magic of music that is transparent. There is nothing to hide here.
If there are any devices used to work the crowd, they are smiles, interaction with people in every part of the venue, clever set lists and the grateful thanks of the artist, not the phoney words of an illusionist hell bent on victory.
This time around, the emphasis on audience participation and the celebration of what band and crowd are together, is set to make the Anthem tour more than a bit special.
It is what Hanson does naturally, but this time the temperature gauge is turned off. It will get hot and things may explode.
The tour will see Hanson travelling at the “speed of light”, turning things “supersonic” and bringing a “kind of magic” that will offer more than just a “golden glance of what should be”.
How much we look forward to that.
And there is no chance that anyone is going to try and stop it – EVERYONE will be having such a good time.
Thanks to Hanson and Queen – whose music and lyrics have inspired so many of different generations.