They laughed. They cried. They screamed. A lot. Loud and deafening screams- and shrieks.
Yes, the wildly popular band Hanson finally made it to southeast Michigan, actually Clarkston's Pine Knob Music Theatre, on Monday night.
Miraculously, the amphitheater and the metroplex are still standing. Thousands of teen and preteen girls were left quivering- and hoarse- in the band's wake.
Amber Earnest, who's 12 1/2, and Amanda Trautman, were among them. Sitting-it was more like standing, screaming, jumping and waving their hands- in Row FF on the left side of the pavilion, the girls shared an experience they'll probably never forget, nor will their parents, who shelled out 50 bucks a pop (nearly double the face value) to scalpers so their daughters could see their idols in person. It was the hottest ticket in town. The show sold out in eight minutes, though a second has been added July 28 at The Palace, making the Detroit area the only place in the country to get two Hanson shows on their recently launched "Albertane" tour.
::edited out teenie statements::
The audience, nearly 90 percent female, waved handmade banners that proclaimed "Hanson Rules" or their undying love for the Hanson heartthrob of their choice. The screaming started early, around 4 p.m., when a crowd of 10,000 fans pressed up against the entrance as the brothers performed their soundcheck. Some passed out from heat exhaustion.
By 7:30 p.m., when opening act Admiral Twin came on, things had pretty much died down. Except the screaming, of course.
::edited out stuff about parents and where they waited during the concert::
About the only breaks the Hanson brothers have not gotten have been in their schedule. They've gone from singing at county fairs to 15,000-seaters like Pine Knob in three years. Seventeen-year-old Isaac, 15-year-old Taylor, and 12-year-old Zac Hanson have been performing for seven years now. They're kids, but they're vets.
It showed in the earnest, adrenaline-filled performance they gave last night, the seventh stop on their "Albertane Tour" (named for the fictious Martian capital from one of their songs) and only their second U.S. stop.
They have something many of their peers in bubblegum's new wave don't- talent. They're not prefabricated. There is a very organic quality to the brothers' youthful sound, maybe because they write and arrange their own hook-filled songs and play their own instruments. As ear candy goes, their stuff is pretty good. The fact that catchy songs like "Mmmbop" have a little weight to them lyrically only makes them that much more appealing.
Monday's concert squeezed 22 songs into a fast 95 minutes. The brothers seemed to genuinely marvel at the crowd's enthusiasm ("This is awesome," Taylor said), which was never baited with contrived choreography or cloyingly cute gimmickry.
This is a real pop-rock band, augmented by a second guitarist, a bassist and a backup keyboardist. Theirs is more rock concert than dimple pageant, though the crowd squealed with delight at just about every tight facial shot on the video screens.
They played all their hits from last year's major label debut album, "Middle of Nowhere," including a pumped up version of "Mmmbop," a buoyant "I will Come to You" that ended with some nice three-part harmony and a breezy version of "Weird".
They dipped into the recent "3 Car Garage" compilation songs from their first two independently released albums, with "Soldier," the story of a toy soldier that falls in love with a broken ballerina doll, an obvious crowd pleaser. They also pulled out a few unreleased songs, with Isaac's dramatic solo ballad "More Than Anything" earning screams of approval.
And they bared their rock, pop and R&B roots- the brothers were weaned on'60s classics- opening with a medley of the "Gimme Good Lovin'" and "Shake Your Tail Feathers," closing with the Who's version of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues".
And, in honor of their stop in Detroit (and a visit to the Motown Historical Museum), they served up a lively, acoustic version of Barret Strong's "Money."
Though they could easily milk a crowd with minimal effort, the brothers seemed intent on working hard for their applause. their humility seemed genuine. Spunky Zac, who squirted the crowd with water from a large Super Soaker, offered a pair of drum sticks to one little girl and stepped precariously on the barricade to shake another little one's hand.
Oldest brother Isaac (Ike to fans) is more of a presence onstage than he is on TV, and his voice is more powerful than expected, though his guitar playing was pretty average.
Taylor, the most attractive and most popular of the three, is more soulful, less of a rocker than his older brother, and he's a kid who seems unfazed by his immense popularity.
Zac, whose bored, sullen expressions suggest a pre-adolescent Charlie Watts (the Rolling Stones' stone-faced drummer), is a steady if unspectacular drummer who holds down the beat without unnecessary flash.
The group's competent musicianship, appealing harmonies and genuine character, adds weight to its lightweight melodies and squeaky clean image. It's heartwarming to see so many moms and daughters (and a few dads and sons) singing, dancing and waving their arms together in obvious joy.
That's a feat that few performers can accomplish these days. Rock music traditionally has polarized parents and kids, but Hanson has found a way to bridge the gap.
Mark my words, these Hanson kids are here to stay. They're for real.
-Doug Pullen, Flint Journal
We got this review from Hansonline.
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