Wednesday, December 01, 2010

LV Music: Review: Hanson shows a lot about itself at Sherman Theater show

November 20, 2010|By John J. Moser, OF THE MORNING CALL

With Hanson on the road to promote an upcoming career retrospective DVD, you could have expected the band's show Friday at Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg would include all its hits.

And you'd be right. But Hanson's show was far more.

To a nearly sold-out crowd of more than 1,200, Hanson played a two-hour show that spanned 25 full songs and snippets of two others in a mini-medley that started the show.

And heavy on material from its 4-million-selling major label debut, 1997's "Middle of Nowhere," and its new disc, "Shout It Out" (the two accounted for 15 songs), the concert showed a lot about the group:

The strength of its old material: It would be easy to dismiss Hanson as just the band that had the monster hit "MMMBop." Easy, but wrong. The band's early hit hold up extraordinarily well. "Where's The Love" is not only a good song, but danceable – as the crowd enthusiastically showed. "If Only" from 2000's "This Time Around" had middle brother (and front man) Taylor on hot harmonica.

Its consistency: The fact that Hanson sang songs from all of its albums except 2007's "The Walk" (a personal disappointment; "Georgia" is a great song) showed how good its music has continued to be. "Penny & Me" from 2004's "Undeneath" showcased the band's harmonies and was the highlight of the acoustic set. The crowd loved "Lost Without Each Other," also from that disc. And the deep cuts Hanson played showed how strong the catalog is. "Speechless" from "Middle of Nowhere" thumped and churned with a sneaky, bluesy groove. During it, Taylor stepped away from the mic to sing without amplification; the crowd sang much louder. "A Minute Without You" from that disc, with Isaac again singing, also was flat-out good. And "With You in My Dreams" was touching as it built behind Zac's thumping drums. They even pulled out "Man from Milwaukee," the buried "bonus track" from "Middle of Nowhere."

The strength of its new material: "Shout It Out" may actually be Hanson's best disc so far. Its songs not only fit in extremely well with the hits, but have roots that tap into R&B. "Thinking 'Bout Something" was hot and funky and had the whole crowd moving. Same for "Give a Little," which later in the show had the crowd in a frenzy. "You guys still got some bop left?" Taylor asked. And "Kiss Me When I Come Home" during a three-song, mid-show acoustic set shone, with Taylor's honky-tonk piano.

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