Hanson @ Symphony Hall 11 February 2019

Hanson @ Symphony Hall 11 February 2019Hanson @ Symphony Hall 11 February 2019Hanson @ Symphony Hall 11 February 2019Hanson @ Symphony Hall 11 February 2019Hanson @ Symphony Hall 11 February 2019Hanson @ Symphony Hall 11 February 2019Hanson @ Symphony Hall 11 February 2019Hanson @ Symphony Hall 11 February 2019Hanson @ Symphony Hall 11 February 2019Hanson @ Symphony Hall 11 February 2019

As someone who spent the 90’s making create-your-own Beatles scarves out of old curtains whilst my peers were crying over some guy called ‘Robbie’ leaving a band called Take That, I started this evening having previously heard just two Hanson singles. One was ‘Penny and Me’, the other I’m sure is easy to guess. The pull of this gig was that they’re currently touring with a symphony orchestra. A surprise for someone who knew little about them.

And boy was this show a surprise: these brothers are serious musicians! The standard set up boasts Isaac on guitar, Taylor on keys and Zac on drums, but they’re multi-talented and switch instruments often so you never know who will play what. All three Hanson brothers have great vocals (with Zac’s arguably the best; such a strong, clear tone), and their harmonies are well-written and on point. They also write their own songs.

Hanson arrive on stage for this first date on the European leg of their String Theory tour dressed all in black. The stage set up was classic; a velvet drop curtain behind the stage and simple lighting. The evening was split into two sets performing the entirety of the String Theory double album. The album features hits spanning the band’s whole career and was borne out of collaboration with Academy Award-winning arranger David Campbell. Impressively this is their 11th studio album and they have sold over 16 million records world-wide.

Hanson have a strong female fan-base with cries of ‘We love you [insert your favourite band member’s name here]’ throughout the show. Hanson didn’t have a huge amount of interaction with the audience though, only speaking at the beginning and end of each set.

The first half of the show featured slower and acoustically-arranged songs like ‘Me, Myself and I’ and ‘Reach For The Sky Part 1’. The first set also contained stand out performances of ‘Yearbook’ and ‘Siren Call’ – which is the only previously unreleased song on String Theory. ‘MMMBop’ is track five of both the set and album – not a prominent position and possibly the band’s way of defiantly moving away from the single as their defining moment?

The second half was more upbeat with songs like ‘Battle Cry’ and the percussion-fuelled ‘You Can’t Stop Us’. The last four songs of the evening – which included ‘No Rest For The Weary’ and ‘Tonight’ – were fan favourites and the crowd got up to dance and shout.

Considering the musical talent here the question must be asked why Hanson have never repeated the success of ‘MMMBop’. There seems to be two possibilities. Perhaps they were typecast as a cheesy pop act after their first release and doomed not to be taken seriously as musicians. Or maybe the melodies just aren’t catchy enough on first listen. Either way it’s a shame as there was no shortage of either talent or charisma here tonight.

Set List


Set 1:

  1. Reaching for the Sky – Part 1
  2. Joyful Noise
  3. Where’s the Love
  4. Dream It Do It
  5. MMMBop
  6. Chasing Down My Dreams
  7. Tragic Symphony
  8. Got a Hold on Me
  9. Yearbook
  10. Siren Call
  11. Me Myself and I


`      Set 2:

  1. Reaching for the Sky – Part 2
  2. This Time Around
  3. Something Going Round
  4. Battle Cry
  5. You Can’t Stop Us
  6. Broken Angel
  7. What Are We Fighting For
  8. Breaktown
  9. No Rest for the Weary
  10. I Was Born
  11. The Sound of Light
  12. Tonight


Reviewer: Chrissie Duxson
Photographer: Chris Bowley

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