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Energized Hanson rocks out The Rave

By Pam Rose
Special to OnMilwaukee.com

Older folks may think that after doing a mile-long, barefoot charity walk with Hanson a few hours before show time would have led to a low-key, drained crowd. Those folks wouldn't have been more wrong about the throngs of fans at the Hanson show at The Rave on Friday night. They were ready to have a good time -- and from the looks of it, and they did.

During the intermission before Hanson took the stage, I told my first-time Hanson concert companion about the many interesting things that you might find going on in the crowd during a Hanson show.

I always love bringing new people into the mix, because as much as I can tell someone about the subculture of Hanson fans who are everywhere, no one ever really believes me until they see it for themselves. Luckily, I got to introduce my newbie companion to one of my favorite strange things that may take place at a Hanson show, "The Chant." Before the band even takes the stage, there are people just chanting and chanting, "Han-SON! HAN-SON!" It's quite surreal. I love it.

Let's just get this out of the way: They didn't perform "MMMBop." I was waiting for it to come up during the acoustic set in the middle (they told me that's what they have been doing with the song during the recent tour), but it just never did. Some people may have been missing The Song, but they really got more than enough from the rest of the show. Mmmwho?

Hanson set the tone with the one-two-three punch of "The Great Divide," "Been There Before" and the always crowd-pleasing "Where's The Love." They followed with almost two hours full of extremely high-energy music -- which radiated from both the crowd and the band.

Taylor worked the stage more than ever, Isaac goofed around and rocked the hell out on his guitar and Zac popped up from the drums every now and again to get the crowd going -- even though it didn't need much help. The whole floor was full of dancing, jumping fans singing every word at the top of their lungs. And forget about it when the boys ended their mid-performance acoustic set with "Man From Milwaukee." Sheer and utter joyful madness.

In addition to some songs from current album "The Walk," the rest of the show was a great mix of songs -- new and old -- including the old-school "Minute Without You," "If Only," "Hey," "This Time Around," "Penny & Me," "Strong Enough to Break" and my personal favorite, "Can't Stop." I had requested that they play that song when I interviewed them earlier that day, so thank you boys -- you made my night. Hell, you made my whole month.

Kate Voegele set the stage as the first opening act, doing a short set of songs that showcased what has made her the face of MySpace music.

Then Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers performed, and they had the crowd on their feet and jumping from the word go. The level of enthusiasm in the audience only heightened when Stephen and the band broke out into their song, "Milwaukee." Craziness ensued, as you might imagine.

The crowd left sweaty, happy and full of that indescribable feeling that you get when you see a concert where the band is just as happy, if not more happy than you are to be there. That's what I always enjoy most about Hanson, and it's so infectious -- you can tell they are having the time of their lives on that stage and there is nowhere else they would rather be or nothing else they'd rather be doing. That's when you, too, realize there is nowhere else you'd rather be.