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Taking the walk with Hanson
By: Samantha Buck
Posted: 4/16/08


Remember back in 1997, that catchy song "MMMBOP" that you couldn't seem to get out of your head?

Well, the band Hanson is back with a more mature sound, a new album and a tour - both entitled "The Walk." However, this tour holds a special meaning to the guys as they are also raising awareness for children in Africa living with HIV/AIDS and poverty.

On Saturday, April 19, the band was back in town to perform at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, but before the show they sponsored a one mile barefoot walk to raise awareness and inspire action to support their African cause.

"This is an action walk," Said lead vocalist and keyboard/piano player Taylor Hanson during the trek around Royal Oak. He went onto say that the purpose they ask walkers to remove their shoes is to give them an idea of what children in Africa go through. "[Children] walk 10 kilometers one way just to go to school without shoes."

When asked about their time in Michigan and the support they are receiving, drummer and vocalist Zac Hanson replied, "[Michigan's] been great!" Similarly, Taylor Hanson answered, "Michigan's shown us so much support."

It's obvious that this is a cause that Hanson cares a lot about and they have partnered with Tom Shoes, a company that will send a pair of shoes to Africa for every shoe purchased.

After the walk, fans lined up in hordes in anticipation of the concert. Pearl Feola, a fan from Warren, and her friend Katie Candela from Clinton Township said that they had been waiting in line to see their idols since Thursday (4/17).

When the doors finally opened at 7:00 pm for the 8:00 pm performance, fans (mainly female) raced through and into the standing room only venue. Chants of "Hanson," "We love you Taylor," and "We want Hanson," immediately began to fill the Royal Oak Music Theatre. However, fans would have to wait for both of Hanson's opening acts, "One Tree Hill's" Kate Vogelle and Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers to perform.

When Hanson finally took the stage at around 10:30 pm, the crowd went wild. They opened the show with their single "Great Divide," which they recorded in Africa. Following that they performed "Been There Before" and "Everybody Needs Somebody."

Their music is mainly rock now unlike their first album "Middle of Nowhere," but the boys are still willing to perform songs from their early days. They sang "If Only" from their sophomore release "This Time Around" and of course an acoustic version of their breakout hit "MMMBOP."

Hanson closed the show with an acapella version of the chorus to "Great Divide."

I find hope and it gives me rest
I find hope in a beating chest
I find hope in what eyes don't see
I find hope in your hate for me
Have no fear when the waters rise
We can conquer this great divide

Overall the concert was very entertaining and the band is very authentic and passionate about what they are doing.

Concert rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

For more information on Hanson visit: www.hanson.net

For more information on Tom Shoes visit: www.tomsshoes.com