Hanson rises from the ashes of the 90s at Toronto's Phoenix Theatre

HansonI can now die happy, having seen Hanson perform live.

Hanson, the 1990s pop trio of brothers, played at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre Friday night. For those of too young to remember the ‘90s and Hanson’s first wave, they were the precursor for bands like the Jonas Brothers, but better. Much, much better. Comprised of brothers Isaac (31), Taylor (28) and Zac (26), Hanson found worldwide fame with their hit single “MmmBop” on the album Middle of Nowhere.

Very few pop acts sound good live, thanks to the recent trend toward AutoTune. Hanson, however, is the exception – if it’s even possible, they sound better on stage. The band showed that even after fifteen years of fame they could still put on the same show. Compare their performance Friday night with their performances in the late ‘90s and you won’t see a difference in energy or enthusiasm.

They played a phenomenal set, mixing their new songs in amongst their old fan favourites. They opened the show with “Waiting for This,” the first track off their newest album, Shout It Out. The band used a great mix of peppy and mellow tunes, keeping the audience on their toes throughout the performance. The only part of the show that left something to be desired was when Zac took the stage alone. As he settled down with his guitar, he quipped “This is the most boring part of the show. If you want to go take a bathroom break, now is the time.” Unfortunately, he was right. As he sang, people carried on conversations they had begun before the show. Isaac was next to the stage and performed one solo as well, before the band reunited to keep up the show.

Of course, no Hanson show is complete without them performing “MmmBop,” the song that made them famous. Surprisingly, it was not their final piece. It was played as part of their regular set late in the second half of the show. The reaction from the crowd was unbelievable. In the late-1990s, Hanson fans held the record for the highest-decibel crowds, and a remnant of that still shines through today.

Toronto was the twelfth stop on a thirteen-city tour across Canada, promoting the release of their newest album, Shout It Out. The Toronto crowd was filled with fans from all over Canada and the United States. One fan from Buffalo, New York boasted that she had attended more than fifty shows since 2000, saying “It’s like crack to me… I can’t resist!”

Another, from Baltimore, Maryland, was at her third of four shows that week. She hoped to get some rest on the bus on her way to Montreal to see the fourth, as driving from Belleville the night before left her with little sleep. The general consensus seemed to be that once you go to one show, you can’t miss any others. After Friday night, I agree.


Lauren Smith is a former entertainment editor at Landmark Report and a freelance music critic.

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One Response to “Hanson rises from the ashes of the 90s at Toronto's Phoenix Theatre”

  1. [...] sat down with Isaac Hanson before he took to the stage at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre (REVIEW) last week to get his take on the band’s past, present and future, and, of course, [...]

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