By JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Published: 8/25/2010 11:03 PM
Last Modified: 8/25/2010 11:03 PM
On Wednesday night, Tulsa brothers Zac, Isaac and Taylor Hanson somehow managed to fit nearly two decades of music-making into a nearly two-hour powerhouse show.
A crowded Cain’s Ballroom welcomed the trio as Taylor stood behind his piano and pounded the keys, playing to an on-stage cameraman as Hanson’s homecoming show was broadcast live in hi-definition video worldwide to fans via the band’s website.
“We’ve waited a long time for this moment,” he said. “You are the best crowd in the world.”
“Waiting for This” swung into “Rock N Roll Razorblade,” “Watch Over Me” and “In the City” and rolled into more than 20 songs that spanned the band’s career.
Indeed, Hanson headed up a raucous retro pop-rock revival, including “Kiss Me When You Come Home, “Where’s the Love,” “Hey,” “Carry You There,” “Penny and Me,” “Voice in the Chorus,” “Me, Myself and I,” “Been There Before” and more.
The band’s bubblegum pop has evolved into a more-mature-yet-fun-as-all-heck version of funky, freewheeling bubblegum soul. The brothers’ refusal to tether themselves to corporate purse-strings has allowed them the creative freedom to write, produce and self-release their own music. Their business model works. Big time.
The setlist felt spontaneous and well-crafted all at once, ebbing and flowing yet flush with energy and consistently nourished with genuine emotion from band and fans alike. Warmth leaped from the stage and into the waving, stretching arms of the screaming crowd as fans pressed into the Cain’s Ballroom stage.
Music from the more than half-dozen Hanson albums was melded into a satisfyingly consistent set. An acoustic version of their 1997 tune “Madeline” played well with a funky version of the band’s new hit song “Thinking ’Bout Somethin’.”
Since the early ’90s, the core of Hanson hasn’t changed — it’s still soulful, poppy, positive and, in many ways, personal.
Together, the brothers created a dreamlike night of positive energy, imbued with a near-tangible spirit of unity.
At one point, Taylor directed the stage camera onto his Tulsa audience, simultaneously sharing the excitement with the band’s online fans.
Couples danced, girls bounced like pogo sticks and screamed. Loudly.
Hanson’s devotees are sometimes accused of being hypervigilant — and not without cause. A line of campers waiting to see the brothers wound outside Cain’s Ballroom nearly 48 hours before the band’s scheduled concert even began.
Mostly girls, they brought air mattresses, tents, signs — and some even brought their mothers — so they might be the first through the doors for Wednesday night’s show.
Without a doubt, it was worth the wait.