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Hanson, The Palais

MMMBop may be the quintessential nineties hit, but Hanson are so much more than one song. Since releasing their first record Middle of Nowhere in 1997, the Grammy-nominated trio has released six consecutive albums, formed an independent record label, and sold over 16 million records worldwide.

Their latest and most ambitious musical project String Theory marks the beginning of a new era and sees the brothers collaborate with Academy Award-winning arranger David Campbell. Featuring the Prague Symphony, the double album re-imagines existing material alongside never-before-released songs and brand new tracks.

Taking this concept on the road, The String Theory Tour introduces the start of a new quarter-century of music, allowing brothers Zac, Taylor, and Isaac to sift through a bucket list of ideas – chiefly nightly collaborations with local symphony orchestras. The first stop on the Australian leg of their tour was the Palais Theatre, Melbourne. A serious venue, for a seriously good band.

The show began with an absence of music; instead, the brothers delivered a prologue encouraging the audience to listen in a new way. They went on to explain that over the course of the evening a story would unfold about overcoming failure and putting yourself back together again. This introduction lent itself to the intimate mood of the two-act show.

The set list faithfully mirrored the double album’s track listing and featured fan favourites including Where’s The Love, This Time Around, and Yearbook. The ever-infectious MMMBop received an acoustic treatment, and while the band has likely played the song thousands of times, there was no trace of fatigue in their campfire delivery.

Joined onstage by an orchestra for the entirety of the concert, the players found really their groove on Tragic Symphony, You Can’t Stop Us and the percussion-driven Siren Call. Other highlights included No Rest for the Weary and I Was Born which had the female-dominated crowd on their feet. Meanwhile, Broken Angel and Me, Myself and I provided the show’s more tender moments.

The proof in Hanson’s longevity is in their live shows where their dazzling song craft, vocal harmonies, and musicality are on full display. These brothers have enough throwback material for a lifetime of anniversary tours, but they aren’t resting on their former glories, rather reinventing their past and continuing to challenge themselves into the future.

Words By Monique La Terra
Behind the Lens Monique Pizzica