I remember the first time I saw Hanson on TV. It was the Spring of 1997, and I was on vacation in California during the break prior to the start of freshman year of high school. There was that catchy tune that sounded like that secret gibberish among siblings, with a funky video to boot on VH1—we all know that as Mmmbop.
I didn’t know it back then, but I was hooked.
Hanson exploded into the music scene in 1997, while none of their subsequent songs conquered the world like Mmmbop did, they did create a solid fan base of (then) teenage girls around the world—and I was one of them.
I look wistfully at high school and all my obsessions back then and grin. We didn’t have it easy as now, with social media platforms. I remember either saving up or begging my mom and aunties to buy me the latest BOP/Big Bopper issues with Hanson on the cover. I still have copies of Seventeen and Dolly magazines from 1997, with Hanson featured in them (complete with the Got Milk? ad!).
My entire family knows the lyrics of all Middle of Nowhere (the first album) songs, as there was a phase when the Middle of Nowhere tape was the only one on repeat in my dad’s old Corolla. I even got a birthday card with pop-up Hanson bobbleheads, thanks to my super-creative friend Dianne. Heck, Hanson even inspired me to take up the guitar.
So why did it take me 15 years to see the band?
For several reasons that escape me (including having to meet thesis deadlines), I was not able to see the band when they first landed on Philippine shores in 2004. This time around, there was no way I was missing them. 15 years of waiting is just too long of a period.
I’m thanking my lucky stars that I knew of someone connected with the team that brought the band back to the Philippines. When I got my tickets the day before the concert, I managed to remain composed upon finding out that I got front row seats.
Fast forward to the evening of March 30—the moment Hanson appeared on stage, I just rushed toward the barricade setting the stage away from the fans (personal properties be damned). This is it. This was my 15-year dream coming true.
The boys opened with “Waiting for This”—which I think was very apt for my case (yes, Taylor, I thought you were singing it for me). The boys also sang a couple of songs from Shout It Out (their latest album), “Thinking ‘Bout Something” and “Give a Little”.
More than anything, the line-up of songs felt like a showcase of the band’s greatest hits. From Underneath, they sang “Strong Enough to Break”, “Penny & Me”, “Lost Without Each Other”, “Deeper”, and “Crazy Beautiful”. From This Time Around, they sang “If Only”, “This Time Around”, “Wish That I Was There”, “In the City”, and “A Song to Sing”.
Of course, the band also sang a few songs from Middle of Nowhere, including “Mmmbop” (cannot not have this!), “Thinking of You”, “A Minute Without You”, and “With You in Your Dreams” (this made me think of my mom, and I was fighting back the tears in front of Taylor Hanson).
Despite the smorgasbord of songs, there’s a part of me that felt it wasn’t enough—ah, but how can such waiting be satiated? All I know is that someone from above must have been smiling upon me, because Taylor Hanson went in front of the fans as he exited, so I was able to touch his hand.
All in all, getting to experience the music of Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson in person was well worth the long wait. And yes, it was quite a treat for the fans that grew up with the boys and their music.
I look back at my life and what has happened since—15 years hold an infinite number of changes, tweaks, and overhauls in my life. There’s only one thing I’m sure of—
Hanson just proved to me that first loves do last.