By JANE STEVENSON -- Toronto Sun
Hanson, the fair-haired, teenaged trio of harmonizing brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma stormed the pop charts last year with the release of their major label debut, Middle Of Nowhere, and its huge hit MMMBop. Last night, they played their first official concert in Toronto at the Molson Amphitheatre. (Hanson actually drew 15,000 hysterical fans to a half-hour show last August at Kingswood, which was part of a YTV broadcast.)
But last night's sold-out crowd of 16,000 screaming, jumping, arm-waving fans were just as excited, carrying banners and cardboard signs which proclaimed their love for 12-year-old drummer Zac, 15-year-old keyboardist-Taylor and 17-year-old guitarist Isaac.
In addition to roaring their approval, particularly whenever heartthrob Taylor was shown on two big video screens on either side of the stage, the Hanson fans also came bearing gifts.
Everything from stuffed animals to red and white roses to candy to balloons were collected by the amphitheatre staff at the front of the stage before the concert even began.
Once Zac, Taylor and Isaac finally took their positions -- initially aided by three backup musicians before they played alone during the middle of the show -- all bets were off.
The teenage girl-dominated audience sprang to their feet and remained there for the entire hour-and-a-half with their arms outstretched and mouths wide open.
Whether it was big hits like Where's The Love and Weird or newer songs like River or Soldier from this year's release, Three Car Garage: The Independent Recordings '95-96, the Hanson faithful dutifully sang and clapped along.
For their part, the golden-voiced brothers seemed more interested in straightforwardly playing their music and hitting their harmonies than presenting any kind of spectacle like those other touring, teen-oriented acts that will follow them this summer at the amphitheatre, including the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, NSync and Savage Garden.
On a plain-looking silver and white stage -- although a fake backdrop of a garage came down halfway through the show -- all three Hansons handled their instruments in a lively, if not particularly spectacular, fashion while carrying on a continuous dialogue with the appreciative audience.
"Man, you guys really know how to make some noise," Taylor said at one point.
They also honored their elders, explaining they had written the songs Stories and With You In Your Dreams for their mother and grandmother, respectively.
((note: mistake: Stories was NOT written for their grandmother.))
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