BEING THERE: Hanson @ The Tower Theater



“Who’s playing in there tonight?” said a passerby outside of the Tower last night.

“Hanson,” I said.

“Hanson? You mean ‘mmmmmmbop’ Hanson?”


“They’re still around? Good for them.”

I try to keep up, but things change so often, I inevitably lose track of bands, and I feel the worst about the 90s. “MmmBop” was a blip on everyones radar, but that jet blew past me and off to the horizon. Hanson, alongside acts like The Presidents of USA and Spin Doctors, went in to some vault in my brain that has only recently been opened again. Somewhere between the advent of Wikipedia and now, I started looking up old bands like I was cruising Facebook status updates to see how an old acquaintance was doing. I dove down deep rabbit holes, and karaoke worthy playlists. As you may have guessed, I discovered Hanson was still around, and still fun, just a different kind of fun since we last met.

Sunday night I found myself face-to-face with a lost portion of youth turning to that tried and true signal of maturation – the string album. It was all business from the word go. When I arrived there was still a lengthy line outside, but when 8 rolled around, the festivities kicked off with no opening act. They lead with the pretty “Reach for The Sky (Part 1)” and kept the mood a little low key, until around the fourth song when their seminal hit “MmmBop” made its appearance. For me, that really got the show going as I was spending time postulating on when it would show up, instead of just relaxing and enjoying the show.

The songs, played in the style they were, surprised me with their diversity. Some were gentle ballads, others whimsical piano pieces, and still others invoked stylistically similar creators like Nickel Creek. The crowd met each song with raucous applause, and more than a little screaming. I know that Hanson has a strong (and largely female) fanbase, so I was expecting more singing along. Alas, the audience respected the atmosphere the band was going for.

Songs like “Where’s The Love” and “Got A Hold On Me” kept the crowd on their feet, while the set opener(s) “Reach For The Sky” (Part 1) and (Part 2) were thoughtful pieces. If the evening had a major fault, it is that too often the strings reduced to background noise by other elements. I could tell by the intensity of their motion that they were playing hard, but the louder drum and electric guitars would drown out the majesty. Overall I was surprised, and pleased, at the song craft on display. It was enough to make me want to catch up a little with some guys I only knew about in high school, but never really hung out with. As I exited the venue and had the above interaction, I let out a small chuckle as I realized I had made it all the way across 69th street audibly humming “Mmmbop.” — MATT SHAVER