Tulsa Times #21

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The Genuine Article

It has been quite a year for 90’s boy band revivals.

The summer sun has been a back drop against which many of their fans have revisited and celebrated their younger years and possibly the beginnings of their love for music.

While this has been happening, Hanson have been making, producing, promoting and playing Anthem – album 6.

Hanson visit SiriusXM Studios - February 25, 2013
Hanson visit SiriusXM Studios – February 25, 2013

A review of a Hanson show at 6 Flags over Texas on 17 August 2000, says,

“Hanson is one of the few teen acts – maybe the only one – to survive teen-act hell.

But they’ve paid a price. 

When the Hanson brothers, Isaac, Zac and Taylor, released their 1997 debut, Middle of Nowhere, they did so, just as the cut throat boy-band race began. Didn’t make much difference that they played instruments and wrote songs – they were young and cute and the guys that did the MMMBop song. A boy band, it seemed, they were ever doomed to be. 

With this year’s This Time Around CD, though, Hanson managed to free itself of the boy band label. Time may be ticking its way off the charts, but it’s simply a more genuine, not to mention grittier, record. Hanson may have lost a lot of fans when the guys invited Blues Traveller singer/harmonica devil John Popper to blow his heart out on a couple of tracks, but they gained credibility – which you simply cannot buy. 

And live, they are in an absolutely different universe than N’Sync and all those others.

There are no costume changes, no explosions, no props, no flying drummers. It is a rock ‘n’ roll show in the simplest of terms: They walk on stage, say “Hi,” then play. You will never see the Backstreet Boys do that. Ever”. 

Malcolm Mayhew Star-Telegram


Fans of some 90’s boy bands may take exception to the assumptions in this article, for there was some great music and talent on show in the big budget stadium shows.

However what is said about Hanson will resonate with their fans, who have always understood the ways in which they differ.

There is some real truth here, about Hanson, the quality of their music and the nature of their performance.

Some people reading this may well recall the readjustment to the sounds of Hanson in 2000 and many of the fans that heard John Popper and loved it and stayed with Hanson, went on to walk a deep road with the band, through three more studio albums and all the way to Anthem.

As for the final paragraph of this review, it is largely true.

Hanson don’t do the grand pyrotechnic light and colour show or the costume change en masse – they are too busy bringing their musical talents together and pushing themselves to excellence.

Credit to the owner
Credit to the owner

Thirteen years on from this review though, there is evidence to suggest that the writer above may have been in some ways misled about this band.

Hanson have used props regularly in their shows – from birthday cakes to mini koalas – to add just a touch of the unexpected beautiful for both the audience and artists. But forbid it that they ever decide to have a Stonehenge moment to rival their puppet show experience in Brazil! (See Spinal Tap)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8R7F8LvThWg Credit and thanks to Itzaimster

And as for flying drummers – well, Zac Hanson jumping from his drum set accompanied by Taylor and Isaac, their exhausted bodies laying flat out on the stage, dismantling the drum set or even doing push ups in unison – must be even more spectacular – but then this is rock and roll.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsCBf-SU0-g Credit and thanks to the owner of this video.

But let’s not lose the point of the article above.

Hanson doesn’t use special effects because they don’t need to and they never did – the music speaks for itself.

This is a band that has musical longevity as well as musical credibility.

The heart of Hanson is honest, accomplished and gutsy talent and it can’t be stopped.

In another interview from 2000, Zac Hanson said, “I know I’m going to be doing this for a long time… If the fans don’t get it this time, they will get it next time. Eventually they will get who the band is.”


 With Anthem on the road, the insight into Hanson continues and the audience gets another shot at getting who Hanson is. This time, in keeping with the images of Anthem, there may well be a few explosions in the begetting, but they won’t be the pre-planned, staged fireworks of the boy band – this will be a different kind of fire – coming from the heat of the moment and the spark of sheer simplicity.


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