But first, some food was in order before the show. Mamak had only just officially opened its doors yesterday with its first shop in Melbourne so we dropped by for a quick bite. True to their Sydney counterparts, they definitely have the best satay in town!
With a tummy full of roti, satay and fried chicken, I excitedly made my way to Palace Theatre and was faced by the biggest line I've ever witnessed outside Palace. The line snaked all the way down the alley next door onto another alleyway, and ended almost a whole block away. Now, there are fans who call themselves massive fans of a band, and there are dedicated Hanson fans who completely blow the former out of the water - they bring dedication and crazy to a whole new level yo. Like the fangirls who have been lining up for tonight's 8pm show since 7am. 7 IN THE FRIGGIN MORNING YO. And Hanson weren't coming on stage until 10:20pm.
I love concerts, and have always loved them. I love the vibe, the raw two-way energy that the band exuberates onto the crowd while feeding off the crowd's boundless enthusiasm, and the fact that most people are there for a good time. At a Hanson concert these are all omnipresent, but the minute the guys stepped out onto the stage, something magical takes over. All your troubles, your worries, your sore feet, your insecurities, whatever you were complaining about just minutes ago - they all dissipate into nothingness as you take in the incredible musicianship unfolding before you and let their music consume you. Hanson are such seasoned performers (this year marks the 20th year they've been making music), yet at tonight's show I felt like I was seeing old friends.
I've been a Hanson fan since the release of Middle of Nowhere (when MMMBop crashed onto our airwaves) in 1997 and have been following their progression avidly since. I can still remember reading a feature on them in a Smash Hits magazine (Smash Hits was the ultimate teeny bopper bible back in the day) before I had even heard MMMBop, and thinking to myself "Oh my god what am I doing with my life, this kid (ie. Zac) is just 11 and he already has a recording contract!".
I was instantly interested in hearing their music, as they were a real boyband and resonated with my age. So I spent RM39.90 (about AUD20, which was a lot of money to a 13 year old back then) to purchase the Middle of Nowhere CD, and I suppose the rest is history. Through the course of my teenage years, Hanson and their music held my hand and was there for me when I felt like I didn't fit in (which was all the time), when I got made fun of for having a flat chest, when I couldn't understand why I couldn't be as good at Chinese as I was in English, and when I felt lonely after my 2 brothers had left for Melbourne.
I found solace in their albums, interviews and music videos, and developed great admiration for their zest and passion for life as well as their talent at harmonising beautifully and impressive instrument-playing abilities at such a young age. They also appeared to be genuinely nice and humble boys who were immensely grateful for all the fame MMMBop had suddenly bestowed upon them. And yeah okay I also thought Taylor was insanely hot. He is the epitome of pretty boys.
So tonight I'm taken on a musical journey of the last 15 years, clapping, singing word for word and dancing along to my old (hot) friends that I grew up with. That's the thing about Hanson concerts too - it's so easy to let loose, they're just unashamedly, downright FUN! It was an honour just to be in the same room as them, to be soaking up all the feel-good vibes.
I'm somewhere in this crowd, losing my mind!
Tonight's almost two-hour set was phenomenal, and when they started the first few guitar chords of the song that launched them into household names, to quote The Au Review, "To say the crowd went APESHIT would be a massive understatement. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a loud sing-along, it was electrifying. As for the 3 brothers, tonight’s rendition definitely wasn’t as poppy and squeaky clean as it was 15 years ago, but my lord, it was still amazing."
After the encore of If Only and much on-the-spot jumping that Taylor encouraged, to end the show Ike and Taylor jumped off the drums platform while Zac did a rock 'n roll backflip off his drumkit! They lied on their backs onstage for a few good seconds, revelling in the roaring crowd's screaming, clapping and cheering.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT when bands do the old-fashioned bow at the end of their set, instead of simply waving and walking off stage. To me that speaks volumes about their professionalism and appreciation for their fans as well as their craft.
Shortly after this shot (snapped right after the 3 boys themselves took a group bow), they jumped (suicidally) off the stage into the paparazzi pit and the crowd of screaming girls surged forward a few good metres like a tsunami! What an AMAZING, high-energy show!
But tonight I was finally at the right door!!! There was so much going on - security screaming at fangirls to stay off the road, drunk fangirls throwing up to my left and right, screaming fangirls being told to shut up and to calm the fuck down, standing around waiting in the cold, Hanson emerging and being blinded by flashes, not even seeing Taylor or Ike initially and thinking that Zac was the only one that had come out to meet us, finally spotting Taylor and Ike, then realising that Taylor was wearing a Hanson hoodie (Zac was wearing a Hanson designed tshirt), girls were screaming, girls were crying, it was just a whirlwind of the general craziness that surrounds Hanson really.
Whatever happy pills Zac was taking, I want some. He didn't stop smiling on or off stage!
And Taylor. Oh sweet Taylor. Always surrounded by girls. (This photo appeared on Our Side of Paradise with the caption "He's got more pussy around him than a cat shelter..." LOL) But why do these girls look so glum and unhappy?!? They should be going weak at the knees just to be standing within the radius of Taylor's radiating aura.
The boys didn't stay past 5 minutes, granted they were knackered and having crying girls screaming in your face when you're tired probably isn't very fun. They graciously thanked the crowd for coming to see them and apologised for not being to stay. Then they got into their van and vanished down the street.
With my head still spinning and feeling disconnected from reality, I walked home with a skip in my step and a massive, stupid goofy smile on my face, I called Brett excitedly at 1:30am and shrieked something like "OHMYGODIJUSTSAWTHEMISAWTHEMUPCLOSEOHMYGODEHEHEEHEE" into the phone. As soon as I got home, I packed my travel bag while smiling the whole time. Bring on round 2!
- Waiting For This
- Where's the Love
- Thinking 'Bout Somethin'
- And I Waited
- A Minute Without You
- Been There Before
- Crazy Beautiful
- Strong Enough to Break (acoustic)
- Madeline (acoustic)
- Wish That I Was There (acoustic)
- With You in Your Dreams
- Oh! Darling (Beatles cover)
- Can't Stop
- Thinking of You
- This Time Around
- Penny and Me
- Give a Little
- Lost Without Each Other
- If Only