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=boston review=


-By Brett Milano

MANSFIELD, Mass -- Two types showed up for Hanson's U.S. tour kickoff: Fans and their parents. True, the teen trio from Tulsa has grown-up devotees, and their infectious "MMMBop" has won over its share of jaded rock critics. But the adult fan base was nowhere in sight Friday, and the teen screams never let up during the band's 90-minute set (*** out of four) at Great Woods. The house was packed with Hanson shirts and homemade signs, including at least three marriage proposals for Taylor. The threesome seemed unfazed by the adulation, keeping teen-idol gestures to a minimum and making like a real pop group. Backup players (on guitar, bass and keyboards) kept their distance and let the Hansons do the heavy work:   12-year-old Zachary kept a steady backbeat on drums; 17-year-old Isaac played tasteful if basic guitar solos. And 15-year-old keyboardist Taylor's newly deepend voice made for a richer vocal blend, without the Donny Osmond-ish tones heard on disc.

Younger fans sighed over cuddly ballads like "I Will Come To You," but parents could recognize the old-fashioned hooks and harmonies at the heart of Hanson's sound. Their live mix lacked the industrial-strength whomp of hit album MON, letting them sound more like the teen combo they are; if at time (like during a five-song acoustic set) the sounds was too thin to cut through the screams, at least the vocals stayed up front where they belong.

The trio tripped only on '60s rock and soul covers that they weren't always tough enough to handle. Taylor did a nice Steve Winwood impersonation on "Gimme Some Lovin'," but their "Good Lovin'" didn't get close to the manic energy of the Young Rascal's original. And their "Summertime Blues" copied The Who's punkified version (complete with Ike doing John Entwistle's low vocals); it proved only that Hanson will never be any kind of punk band. Not that they need to be. Good pop is more about memorable songs, and Hanson has those to spare: "Thinking of You," "Where's The Love," and the set-closing "Man From Milwaukee" sport choruses that a more seasoned band would die for.

So it hardly matters that their final gesture, a bit of cappella, '50s'-style street-corner harmony, didn't quite connect: They don't need doo-wop when they've got "MMMBop."

We got this review from Hansonline.

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