PORTLAND – American pop band Hanson — yes, Hanson — plays its first Maine show in seven years with a return to the State Theatre on Tuesday night. The group is on the “Musical Ride Tour” celebrating a 15-year recording career that was launched with “MMMBop,” a song that hit No. 1 in 27 countries.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday WHERE: State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland HOW MUCH: $25; all ages
That madness aside, the band is still going strong. Last year, Hanson released its fifth studio album, “Shout It Out.” The record is full of entirely enjoyable R&B-flavored pop pock. For this tour, fans are choosing the bulk of the setlist by voting online at hanson.net for their favorite album. The winning one will get played in its entirety. The band will also throw in crowd favorites such as “Penny and Me” and, of course, “MMMBop.”
Hanson, in case you’ve forgotten, is three brothers from Tulsa, Okla. From youngest to oldest, the siblings are Zac (drums, piano, guitar, vocals), Taylor (piano, guitar, drums, lead vocals) and Isaac (guitar, bass, piano, vocals).
Isaac took time out for a chat from a recent gig in Colorado.
“We’re very proud of the record and very lucky to be able to continue to do what we do for as long as we’ve done it,” he said of “Shout It Out.”
He added that the brothers are psyched to come back to Maine. “It’s unfortunate that it’s been so long since we’ve been back to Portland. We’ve done a lot of tours and somehow or another did not find our way far enough north to get to Portland, so we’re looking forward it. We had a great show last time, and really enjoyed ourselves.”
We’ll have to wait and see which of the three albums wins the voting for the Portland show. Isaac said the list was narrowed to three to create at least some degree of predictability and “keep it fresh.”
About half of the show ends up being a particular record, and Hanson does its best to play the songs in order.
“Certain records play better that way than others,” Isaac said. “They just have a certain flow to them that really works.”
So far, so good, he said. “We’ve had an amazing response, and it’s clearly something the fan base has been very excited about.”
Which begs the question: Who makes up the Hanson fan base? When Hanson last played Portland, Isaac said at the time that fans had grown up with the group and were in their 20s.
That hasn’t really changed, but it’s also expanded. “Probably the core age of the audience is between 25 and 27,” Isaac said. “There are also a decent amount of people older than that, and people who have just discovered Hanson from the last few records that we’ve made and have discovered the old stuff retrospectively.”
When “Middle of Nowhere” was released in May 1997, Isaac was 16 years old. He recently spent his 30th birthday on four wheels — he was blindfolded by younger brother Joshua and ended up at a roller-skating rink, where he was joined by a posse of friends.
“This is totally cheesy, but it was actually really fun,” Isaac said. “We all went out there and got on old-school roller skates, and had flashbacks to early high school and middle school.”
Age does, however, have its downside.
“We were not nearly as coordinated as we once were. It’s surprising how much pain you can cause yourself.”
As for how it felt to reach the three-decade mark, Isaac feels A-OK. “Thirty feels great, and I feel very comfortable with who I am and where I’m going,” he said. “Thirty-one is just around the corner, which is kind of weird, but I’m cool with it.”
Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org