A Not So Blue Christmas For Hanson
When Christmas 2017 was just a twinkle in Santa’s eye, Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson were working on the music that would end their anniversary year in super style.
As Finally It’s Christmas was announced for release, Hanson fans were more than ready and industry insiders wondered which tracks would make the holiday playlists.
On this album Hanson have reworked classic covers with intelligence and created new music for the season with a sense of integrity sometimes missing on the Christmas music menu.
To end the 25th Anniversary tour, Hanson chose to share their Christmas music through a short series of shows in North America and The UK.
From East to West Coast, via their favourite venue in Chicago, Hanson took their suits, ties, Christmas lights and saxophone player and seduced audiences at their very own savvy Christmas Party.
The seduction was unapologetic. It was gracious and it was honest. The laying before an audience of something attractive because of its sincerity and truthfulness is a seduction like no other and that is the gift of Hanson.
And if Christmas is about the drawing of disparate characters to something beautiful then Hanson’s music and performance were fully in tune with the season’s greetings.
They sang favourites from Snowed In, released 20 years ago and mixed the shots with the fresh sounds from Finally It’s Christmas. The set lists were perfectly balanced between these two albums and the quality of the performances drew a mix of excitement and sentiment from people decked out in lights and jingle bells.
There were as many highlights as there were people present as Hanson poured their unending passion into every song and moment. If some had wondered whether a whole 90 minutes of Hanson Christmas music could work, few left in doubt.
At a time when TV and radio is bloated with holiday music, Hanson’s is a feast to which all are welcome and at which all leave wanting more.
It was wonderful to catch Hanson promoting on TV and radio, sometimes looking glamorous and sometimes low key, but always with the humility and respect that is their nature and makes the seduction so easy.
Hanson’s Final stop on the Finally tour was Manchester England. The not so glamorous city is a musical hot bed and it was a thrill for European fans to know that Hanson wanted to be there.
As with venues across North America, fans camped and queued and dressed in style for the occasion. And what a thrill for Europe to be told that the audience at this show sang the best of all the shows and made this a highlight of the tour for the band.
In a recent interview, Isaac Hanson said that being Hanson was blue collar much of the time. If the grind of travel, waiting for flights, sleeping in anonymous hotel rooms was any more tedious than usual at the end of a year of touring, Hanson did not appear to be feeling the mundane.
The finally It’s Christmas Tour was a gift in every sense of the word. It was given with joy and enthusiasm and received with grateful thanks.
Thanks to Fans from The Manchester show for sharing some memories and thoughts:
“The show promised to be a long anticipated festive treat, and it did not disappoint. Taylor, Ike, and Zac handsomely dressed led us through a nostalgic mix it old and new, classic and original Christmas melodies. I was particularly moved by Zac’s solo of Peace on Earth, and of course the beautiful a capella renditions of White Christmas, and Joy to the Mountain. With plenty of crowd interaction, singing, clapping and cheering we all were glad that Finally It’s Christmas!” Joe Harvey
A highlight was Taylor saying that “so far you have been the best singing crowd on this run and always will be, sorry USA”
I also loved how Ike picked up the Union Jack flag that someone threw on the stage and draped it over the drums.
Song wise I actually loved every single one, their performances were fantastic for all of them. It was great to have a mix of snowed in and finally it’s Christmas.
The guys seemed in great spirits with tonnes of energy as normal and all in all it was a banging night. Katie Lowe
Hanson sing … you hope the snow to fall on Christmas day… Well we got just that for the UK finally it’s Christmas tour day! The scene was perfect from the orderly civilised queue in the cold to the perfect intimate venue to showcase their voices. Hanson gave an energetic performance and were in high spirits. The set was spot on with a great mix of songs from both snowed in and Finally it’s Christmas. For me a personal highlight was the a capella versions of White Christmas and Joy to the Mountain (shame some fans don’t know how to behave and continued to talk). I loved that Isaac opened up the Union Jack and draped it over the drumming area on stage following on from him talking about how we should continue to show consideration and love for those around us past Christmas and the New Year. Forget the Manchester Christmas Markets. This gig was by far the best way to get into the festive spirit. Sarah Wegg
Having the whole band plus sax was amazing. The synchronised dancing from the back up was such a highlight.
It was a great mix of upbeat and slow songs from both albums.
The sing a longs and being told we were better than any of the US shows.
They really were in top form the best show I have been to of theirs.
Being with a lot of the street team all day and on front row.
The harmonies in the a capella songs … were great. Niccie Seymour
After having seen the summer tour, it was like seeing them for the first time again as it was basically the first time hearing most of those songs! It just gave me this new expanded love for them! It was as if these songs allowed for them to show just how amazing their voices are and I was just blown away by the harmonies!
Meeting some new friends as always, standing out in the cold for hours, losing our car as we were so excited we parked up and left, taking no notice of which car park we were in a miles from our hotel. The show was as usual amazing. Ike on the guitar was incredible and as usual, since he was using a gibson usa m2, all of them were pitch perfect. A great mix of old/New/ and a little speech about taking care of one another – Ike just brilliant as always. Nicola Cooper
A brilliant mixture of snowed in and finally it’s Christmas bringing 20 years of Christmases and memories together in a live show.
To be honest it’s something I didn’t ever think I’d see them do especially in the UK but I’m glad they did. It finished off this anniversary tour in the best way possible. It’s also always so nice to meet up with other fans…. to meet old friends again or new ones that you recognise from social media or even to just say hello to faces you’ve been seeing for years…. there’s always a connection there as we all have this following in common.
Hanson didn’t disappoint and they seem to get better every time I see them. I heard people in the crowd afterwards that had never seen them before saying how great they were and I feel proud of them and how far they’ve come. Isaac’s speeches are always so lovely and inspiring and remind you they are good people as well as amazing musicians. The stage show looked great, the musicians were fantastic and their voices were impeccable. Well done Hanson I’m glad I’ve been on this musical ride with you for the last 20 years…. your talent has enriched my life more than you know … And who didn’t feel emotional seeing them play ‘At Christmas’ and ‘Baby Please Come Home. 💓 Kerri Stenton
Someday at Christmas gave me the same feeling live as it did when I heard it for the first time. I had Goose bumps and a slight welling up. It’s hard to pick a favourite though. Till new years night was super good (better live than recorded) and its rock and roll vibe kept the crowd going after with the sing a long Baby Please Come Home. Sarah Wroe Nield
The a capella bits and White Christmas, Joy to the World – were by far my favourites, Hanson know harmonies better than anyone! Isaac singing “At Christmas” was a highlight for me as well as that’s one song that I absolutely love from the first Xmas album. Not to favourite any of the brothers on that night but Isaac really killed it both vocally and on the guitar! Great show, great energy and a great way to get into a festive mood! Anna Vlachaki
Baby Please Come Home sing a long. ( Favourite bit) Natalie Ann
My favourite moment was ‘Joy to the World’. A Christmas set list was never going to be my kind of thing so overall it was a more subdued experience for me, but that song was goose bump inducing. Paola Rizzato
My favourite moment was the crowds involvement in ‘Happy Christmas’ split into two sides… I didn’t record it as I was just having the best time in that moment. Also I loved ‘Joy To The World’. Maura Byrne
Thanks to Anna Vlachaki, Kristina Syversen, Niccie Seymour and Sarah Wegg for the photos.