Shout It Out: Hanson in Manila

I apologize in advance if this would be an incoherent post. I spent the whole morning trying to find a witty opening line for this post, and I can’t. I still have a “Hanson hangover” from last night’s concert. “Witty” and “creative” opening paragraphs are far from me right now.

Big confession here. Obviously, I am a Hanson fan. Not so huge that I am not a member of their fan club, I skipped their concert back in 2004 in favor of Jars of Clay and didn’t go to the signing activity last Thursday — but a fan enough to not miss this opportunity. My friend and former co-worker Day convinced me to get the most expensive seats in the concert, and while I was still rolling in dough, I did.

My love for the music of Hanson started in 1997. Mmmbop was always playing on the radio, and it was impossible miss this young band that was different from the other boy bands around. They were younger (Isaac is the oldest and he is the same age as Nick Carter and Justin Timberlake), they played their own instruments and wrote their own songs. Not to mention that their songs were pretty mature for their age.

Like the boy bands, they sing about romantic love and heartbreak, but they also sing about life and death. Their song With You In Your Dreams is a tribute to their late grandmother, while Yearbook had a more dramatic theme of a schoolmate who suddenly gone missing. My favorite songs were Minute Without You and Madeline, but I can (still) sing along to every song in that album.

For me, the best thing about Hanson is that they are not just flash and bang. It is not all about the show (but they do deliver a heck of a good one). They lasted twenty years in the business, which is a major feat, and show no signs of stopping. The fact that they are brothers can be a contributing factor, but then again, we’ve seen bands with a similar set-up come and go *coughthemoffatscough* With the Hanson brothers, music really comes first. It’s who they are, it’s what they love.

Back in Manila
Nearly eight years after their first visit to the Philippines, Hanson is back. When you think about it, it’s a big deal for them to travel all the way from the U.S. and be the only concert they perform in the general area of Asia and the Pacific. I mean, the next gig I see is in Australia for September. So yeah, thanks guys.

Day and I were in no hurry to get to Araneta. However, it was already past 8 PM and the seats were not even halfway filled. I figured there were a lot of latecomers — or not that many tickets were sold at all. True enough, the Patron section was full, but the Upper Boxes up to the GA section were very nearly empty.

Still, that didn’t stop us from having a good time. Robin Nievera and his band opened the show, and they were a good surprise. Robin sounds a little like his dad (if Martin ever sang rock songs), but his songs are more John Mayer and Dave Matthews rather than the typical OPM his parents favored. One song they performed had an opening riff that sounded like The Kooks’ Naive, but the similarity ends there. I heard enough to be impressed, and will be picking up his album soon.

Waiting for this
It was past 9 PM when Hanson took the stage. When Isaac, Taylor and Zac walked onstage and played the opening of Shout It Out, the crowd surged to the front, heedless of the seats and the security manning the area. A sturdy metal barrier blocked us from climbing the stage. No one minded the crush, because all we wanted was a close up look at the guys who we’ve been fans of for so long.

I’ll get this rather superficial commentary out of the way. The boys are far more good looking than their pictures show. Ike was very dapper in his suit, rocking the Blues Brothers look. Taylor and Zac were more casual and laid back in their choice of clothes. Zac in a short sleeved polo and jeans, Taylor in a white shirt (similar to a camiso-chino) that showed off his chest, a red bandanna and tight blue jeans that should be made illegal. I’m sorry, but I’m a girl and I had to notice. Their wives are pretty lucky women.

Needless to say, the show was one big sing-along. The boys played one song after the other, and the crowd sang along with them in every single one. The audience was an enthusiastic bunch, some dancing like crazy in the faster songs (guilty), while others just sat back and enjoyed the show. Like a lot of people, I tried getting videos and photos, but I found myself more into the listening and dancing part (plus, my camera was crappy).

I think the boys were surprised by the crowd’s response. Taylor even said, “So it’s true, you guys can sing” much to our delight. He was a firecracker, bouncing around the stage while singing and encouraging the crowd to sing along (not that we needed it). He’d go back to the piano, then later he’ll be playing the tambourine or what looks like a salt-shaker maracas. Isaac would walk to the center during his guitar solos. Zac had his turn on the center stage when the boys did an acoustic set, and he manned the kahon instead of playing the drums at the back.

For two hours, Hanson entertained us. But I guess it’s safe to say that we entertained them too. While the crowd wasn’t as many as I had expected, we had an amazing time. Down to earth as they may be, I think the boys revel in the spotlight too, and you can clearly see how much they loved what they were doing. They thanked us for coming to watch them. I thank them for making the long trip and finally coming back.

It had been fifteen years since I first heard these guys, and my first (hopefully not last) time to see them live. It was really worth waiting for. I hope it won’t take them another eight years before they come back. Even so, I’ll definitely go see them again.

Thus ends my March music madness. I’ve seen three amazing artists perform, and loved every minute of it. What’s next? 😀

Sorry it’s blurred. Too much dancing going on. Crowd is very enthusiastic.


  1. I was at the concert. I really enjoyed it…no words to say…but the BEST feeling ever…. I got to hug Zac, my ultimate crush….

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