GRAND RAPIDS — While waiting in line like kindred spirits, like an inseparable boy-band-bonded duo outside the Intersection Monday night, Stephanie Sutton felt the heart-wrenching pain of suddenly realizing her mother was more of a Hanson addict than she initially suspected.
“You watched it before you gave it to me?” the 24-year-old Kalamazoo preschool teacher exclaimed to her mother.
The item: Hanson’s 1998 “Tulsa, Tokyo and the Middle of Nowhere” DVD. It was a Christmas gift.
Well, it seemed like it at the time.
“I didn’t even know you did that. You tricked me,” Sutton said, laughing, to her mother Tammy Andrews of Shelby.
“I had to make sure it worked,” said a grinning Andrews.
Sutton will get over it. She has about four copies now.
“All my friends find them at Goodwill and give them to me,” she said.
Sutton and Andrews were two of about 150 early arrivers to the concert to participate in Hanson’s barefoot charity walk titled “Take the Walk.”
The pop/rock/soul trio of brothers conduct the walks before most of their shows. For every person who registers and selects a specific need of choice — education, access to clean water, shoes, AIDS treatment and research, or healthcare — the band donates a $1 per person and sends it to a charity that specializes in whatever each person selects.
Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson emerged from their tour bus next to the Intersection at 5 p.m., walked down the drive and greeted their fans, who were ready to take off their shoes and walk to Rosa Parks Circle and back.
The group, of which some were carrying signs reading “Actions speak louder than words,” interrupted the free Zumba class at the venue.
“Just give us 10 minutes,” said Taylor, apologizing for the peaceful intrusion.
“We’re gonna get our feet dirty. We’re gonna walk down the street. We’re gonna get things done,” an energized Taylor chanted to the crowd.
On the walk back to the Intersection, Isaac explained that part of the reason behind the Christian brothers’ activism comes from the thankfulness of their own blessings and the desire to make a difference when it’s so easy to do it.
“I think we felt very lucky to do what we do,” he said. “I believe we’re responsible for the life we live. You can’t underestimate the impact of a simple action.”
Three hours later, the trio, including two soulful additions to their act — a keyboardist/drummer and bassist — were jumping around on stage for an almost two-hour concert in front of a crowd of 800. The performance included a couple of brief intermissions as the band transitioned from a full set to a stripped-down acoustic portion, then back again.
Of course, the acapella and acoustic moments of the show were some of the strongest as they displayed the trio’s effortless harmonies, such as on an unplugged version of “This Time Around.”
Their set opened with the overly joyful “Waiting For This,” off their “Shout It Out” album. The infectious “Thinking ‘Bout Something” came toward the end of the set before “MMMBop” finally took center stage and turned everyone into a dancing fool.
Zac Hanson, the trio’s youngest brother and the drummer, surprised with bluesy, soulful pipes displayed throughout the concert.
As Sean Jarchow, 26, of Grand Rapids would say, the band has matured. “(MMMBop) is just not what they are anymore. (Plus) it’s like four or five keys lower than when they first recorded,” he said, smiling.
Accompanied by his 22-year-old wife, Jamie, Sean explained how he was the uber-fan first and turned his then-girlfriend onto the music.
“I was weirded out at first,” Jamie admitted, regarding finding out about Sean’s love of the band. “But it surprises people, so it’s a fun story to tell.”
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