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=detroit review=

Hanson rocks the girls at Pine Knob June 30, 1998

BY BRIAN MCCOLLUM Free Press Pop Music Critic

Rockers from John Lennon to John Mellencamp have long cited one reason for their decision to pick up guitars: to score the chicks. If joining a band is, in fact, all about getting the girls, Hanson should have already locked up its spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

That was certainly the case Monday night at sold-out Pine Knob, where 15,274 fans of the young trio gathered for 95 minutes of solidly executed, exuberant pop -- the group's first public show in Detroit.

OK, so we can't be absolutely sure about Hanson's motive for learning to make pop music -- these guys weren't even teens when they taught themselves how to play their instruments in their suburban Oklahoma garage. But motives, schmotives. Hanson is the biggest teenybopper sensation to roll along in more than a decade, and the girls were most definitely in the house.

They streamed and screamed their way through the Pine Knob gates from a parking lot packed with minivans, faces painted with markers, toting colorful posters, decked out in their favorite Hanson T-shirts. Most of them -- here for their first concert -- came accompanied by good sports: sympathetic big sisters, nostalgic moms, dads with earplugs.

Behind the scenes before showtime, with chants and screams filling the pavilion out front, the brothers appeared relaxed. They munched on grilled chicken and pasta, getting silly with Super Soaker squirt guns -- which they later wielded on stage -- and hunted relentlessly for a basketball to play on the paved backstage court. The band kicked off with "Gimme Some Lovin' " -- not nearly as raw as Spencer Davis Group's soulful rendition, but proficient and enthusiastic nonetheless. It was the second song, "Thinking of You," that kicked the shrieking crowd into sixth gear, immediately summoning the fresh-faced spunk that filled last year's debut album, "Middle of Nowhere." Bolstered by a keyboardist, bassist and guitarist -- all lurking behind Zac Hanson's drum riser -- the band delivered a tight set that shouldn't have surprised anyone who has seen the threesome on any TV performances preceding this first-ever U.S. tour. There were slipups: Guitarist Isaac Hanson flubbed a couple of chords during "Madeline," the harmonies got slippery during "I Will Come to You," and the between-song patter often sounded over-rehearsed. But anyone who came in doubting the group's chops likely left impressed. Isaac, in particular, is an agile musician, and he dropped snappy blues-rock lines into songs like "Where's the Love" and crisp neo-funk strums into "Speechless." He shone, too, on a solo piano run through "More Than Anything," reminiscent of a late '70s power ballad, complete with Billy Joel-style vocals. Drummer Zac Hanson -- despite appearing atypically weary and spacey for the duration of the night -- popped a triplet fill during "Gimme Some Lovin' " and cut into a half-time rhythm during a cover of the Young Rascals' "Good Lovin'." Vocalist and keyboardist Taylor Hanson, the young ladies' fave, worked his limber tenor, and even added a touch of grit for a cover song "dedicated to the Motor City": the vintage Motown hit "Money (That's What I Want)." For doubters who chalk the group up as a pop lightweight -- and, sure, perhaps that's just what it is -- there was good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll moment. It came during the uptempo "A Minute Without You" near the show's close: Zac whipped up a four-bar drum solo, and Isaac broke a guitar string. And, yeah -- they got all the girls.

We got this review from Hansonline.

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