So, um… I met Hanson.
Here’s the setlist from tonight’s gig at the Ritz (5th December 2013).
- Fired Up
- I’ve Got Soul
- Where’s the Love
- Scream and Be Free
- Crazy Beautiful
- This Time Around
- On and On
- Penny and Me
- A Song to Sing
- Too Much Heaven (Bee Gees cover; acapella)
- Hand in Hand (Ike solo)
- Go (Zac solo)
- Lost Without You (Tay solo)
- Shout It Out
- A Minute Without You
- Tragic Symphony
- Thinkin’ ‘Bout Something
- Get the Girl Back
- In the City
- Lost Without Each Other
- Merry Christmas Baby
- Run Rudolph Run
I’ll try and keep my review as short as I can, but you know how I tend to go off on one.
The Ritz is a brilliant venue for gigs, and I’m amazed at myself that I’d never been to a gig here before after nearly ten years of living in Manchester. Being the nervous, claustrophobic and (most importantly at gigs) short soul I am, I perched myself on the first floor balcony, near the back. I had a perfect view, so like a fool I ran my phone battery down taking pictures. The sound was excellent from my little spot too, but the Ritz has always had good acoustics in my opinion.
I need to mention Hanson’s support act for the evening, Siôn Russell Jones. (His first name is a Welsh spelling of “Shaun”, in case you wondered how to pronounce that.) HOLY AMAZEBALLS. I’m quite fond of my solo singer/guitarists, but Siôn is chuffing amazing. (I told him so in a tweet after his set, which he immediately retweeted, giving me a nice “I WIN AT TEH INTARWEBS” moment.) Go watch his videos and you’ll see what I mean. He’s a lovely guy, and I’m going to keep an ear out for future gigs of his here in Manctown.
Hanson just get better and better every time I see them though. I think this is my fifth time… I’ve seen them every time they’ve come to Manchester, and I tried to remember their gigs by venue, because they’ve played a different place every time. Academy 2, Academy 1, Apollo, back to Academy 2 and then tonight at the Ritz. Yup, five.
(I told you I was long-winded. All that whole paragraph, just to prove I can count.)
They have so much energy. Taylor’s like a Mexican jumping bean when he’s singing at the front of the stage, especially during In the City. Also, I have to say that Tay looked much sharper in black tonight than he did last time they came to Manchester. (Pink T-shirt and red suspenders, as I recall. You gotta love him.)
Isaac, of course, is the sharpest dresser of the three, and those shades he was wearing during the first few tunes were so gosh-darn cool. He was showing off his new guitar, which we first saw on Twitter a few weeks ago. A sexy beast she is too. Of all the songs tonight, I think my favourite was Ike’s performance of Hand in Hand. It’s a song that sounds so much better live than on the album, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play that one with so much passion. He gave me goosebumps. (I liked his reference to Taylor Swift and her bitter breakup songs before he started playing.)
A big surprise for me tonight was their inclusion of A Song to Sing in the set. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this one live, and it was my favourite song on This Time Around. In fact, they played a really good mix of songs from all their albums - 21 years’ worth of music, as they reminded us tonight, but of course with a little more emphasis on songs from Anthem. Scream and Be Free is immensely better live, and I’ve warmed much more towards that song now.
Okay, time to prove my age now. I LOVED their acapella rendition of Too Much Heaven. How nice to cover a Bee Gees song in their hometown! This song was on a tape that my parents used to play in the car on long car journeys when I was little, and it gave me FEELS to hear Hanson sing it. Their harmonies are like melted caramel. Om nom nom.
I loved hearing the two tracks from Snowed In. ‘Tis the season, and all. Unfortunately, the season brings crappy weather too. The planned Walk was cancelled due to the winds from the storms hitting Scotland, which bummed me out a little because I’d been hoping to meet them. After seventeen years and five gigs, I decided it was time to be brave and say hello.
Trouble is, I get really shy and goofy around my heroes. Didn’t I mention sometime last week how starstruck I was when I met Ben Thornewill? (Yeah, I did.) So I had this whole little spiel planned about how they inspired me to become a musician and to get a music degree and thank you for everything you do blablabla, and then when I finally came face to face with Taylor I was all “*blerk* please can haz picture *garf*”. (This might also have been because I couldn’t feel my toes anymore.) Then when I met Isaac I tried to be brave and get my speech out, but no. I meant to talk guitar with him, but nope. Mouth no work, brain fall out, derrrrp. So by the time I met Zac I was a quivering wreck on the inside. I tried taking a picture on my phone, which was now on low battery and wasn’t letting me use flash, and it looked as though it would come out dark, until Zac said “Let’s turn around!” so we could get some light from the Ritz entrance. Bless his heart.
(Why the fuck did I keep that stupid hat on? Gaaaaah.)
I met my heroes tonight. They performed an amazing show, as they always do, and it was all I could do just to say “thanks for playing tonight” to each of them. The curse of the socially anxious, I suppose. But it’s good to know that they’re lovely in person too, especially when they were signing autographs for a total shybie.
My inner fourteen-year-old will be screaming about this night for months to come. I don’t even need Christmas to happen this year, because meeting these fellas was the best present ever. Hanson, you rock. Never, ever change.