CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
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HANSON
Ten years later, Hanson brothers have grown up
CONCERT REVIEW | And so have the fans, who still can't get enough catchy pop

October 1, 2007
BY KYLE KOSTER kkoster@suntimes.com
A sold-out crowd partied like it was 1997 with Hanson Saturday night at the House of Blues.

Ten years after "MMMBop" got stuck in America's head for the first time, Isaac, Taylor and Zac have matured and evolved while remaining comfortable in their past.

The 25-song, 115-minute performance was heavy on audience participation. A mostly young, strongly female crowd was happy to oblige, faithfully belting out a chorus or clapping in rhythm at the brothers' request.

"We're going to go back in time a little bit here," Isaac, 27, said while introducing "Minute Without You." Looking genuinely pleased at such strong backup vocals from the crowd, he playfully offered, "I take it you guys knew that one."

The basic elements are still there: a band of brothers cranking out catchy pop. Of course, the changes are also evident. Isaac's hair is closely cropped, and then there's the wedding band on his left hand, visible as he soloed.

And Zac, who turns 22 on Oct. 22, showcased a deep, soulful voice that wasn't there last millennium.

Taylor, 24, shone a little brighter than his brothers Saturday night. He's married with three children now, and has assumed the role as point man. Playing everything from guitar to harmonica to keyboard, he appeared extremely energetic and in high spirits.

"Happy anniversary guys," he said. "Ten years. It's amazing to see all of you here still 10 years later."

The fans hanging over the balcony and on every word have grown with the band as well. They raised their drinks in a toast during "Penny and Me" and "Something Going Round."

Whitney Cook, a paralegal from Kansas City, was attending her sixth Hanson concert and scheduled her visit to see her family the weekend the brothers were in town. She has been loyal for a full decade.

"I really do feel like I've grown up with them," she said. "My co-workers tease me about liking them, but deep down I know everyone likes them."

Hanson of 2007 featured a more refined sound, interspersing acoustic with up-tempo jams, all the while interacting with their loyal followers.

But they will never be able to escape who they were, and they certainly don't seem to be running from it. Saturday's show proved the brothers' foray into a new style as serious adult rockers isn't too big a jump for them to make.

Sure, the audience ate up "MMMBop," but they were loyal enough to support Hanson wherever they decided to take the show, which was a long way from the "Middle of Nowhere."

Kyle Koster works on the Weekend staff.