But here I am.
Thursday night Taylor, Isaac and Zac Hanson took over the CNE Bandshell stage and made it theirs. The largely (but not exclusively) female crowd started popping for them even before they came out to play, screaming every time the preview video clip would come on the screens at the side of the stage. And when they did come on stage – Damn! The cheering and screaming crowd was standing immediately, from the front, all the way to the back of the benches.
The set started with Fired Up and continued with a mix of new and old material including Where’s The Love, Penny And Me, and A Minute Without You. Each song drew a louder reaction, with singing and dancing and hand waving included on every track. Over and over Taylor called for the crowd to shake it, and they did. All night.
About half an hour in the boys left the stage briefly and came back out to play a short acoustic set that didn’t stop the fans from cheering, but certainly got them engaged in the singing. The 3 song intermission included…
• Strong Enough To Break
• With You In Your Dreams
Did I hope that MMMBop was going to part of that acoustic bit, maybe. But it didn’t break my heart not to hear it that early.
Note: The Seasons, who opened for Hanson on Thursday night, did a great job with their half hour on the Bandshell stage and shouldn’t be forgotten. They were endearing and adorable and played and sang like they belong on stages all over the place. Job well done.
After the acoustic instruments were put away the brothers Hanson got loud again and played the rest of their hour and a half set with all kinds of energy – that was matched by the audience every step of the way.
They played straight through to 10 with songs like This Time Around, Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’, If Only, and (bringing everyone to their feet in a moment of 90’s pop music nostalgia) MMMBop. I cannot sufficiently express the collective joy that the CNE crowd displayed when that song started. Hanson has been singing together since 1992 – they have 3 top 20 hits, countless fan favourites and are still on the road some 22 years later – but MMMBop still gets the loudest reaction from the fans who loved that song in 1997 and still do today.
The set closed with In The City which had the crowd shaking it once more – and proved that Hanson really did own that stage and the crowd for each and every one of the 90 minutes they were on it.
And when they left the stage – the fans called for more. So they obliged with a long, fun, surprising cover of AC/DC’s It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock & Roll). If you had told me that Hanson would close the show with a cover and given me 1000 guesses, I’m pretty sure none of them would have been AC/DC. But those boys played it hard, sang it loud, and gave everything they had left.
After the music there were thank yous and bows and waves and all of it made Hanson seem a little more grounded and thankful than many acts. It was nice. And a terrific way to end a concert that surprised me from start to finish.
Would I see Hanson in concert again? I don’t know. But like I said, I never thought I’d see them even once in the first place.
Stay tuned for more from the CNE before it closes down for another year…