What should a band do after 25 years, Grammy nominations, and multi-platinum hits? For Hanson, the answer is naturally a project including 23 retrospective songs that tell the story of hope, challenge, and chasing dreams, all while backed by an orchestra.
Wednesday night, Hanson shared their String Theory Symphonic World Tour at the Stifel Theatre in St. Louis, and reminded the audience that there is much more to this melodic trio than just their iconic hit, “MMMBop.” The show shouldn’t even be considered a simple “concert” but more of an artistic and symphonic masterpiece, created through collaboration with Academy Award winning arranger, David Campbell.
The Hanson brothers kicked off their show by explaining to the audience that the music of the night was woven together by a common thread- the concept of reaching for whatever crazy dream you have.
The music began with “Reaching For The Sky Part 1” and “Joyful Noise” which initiated the theme of creating your own path and aspiring for more. The optimistic atmosphere swelled as the trio continued through the night with a powerhouse of a cappella harmonies, melodic masterpieces, and the poetry of inspiration that our world needs right now.
Naturally, a gritty version of “MMMBop” enticed the crowd, but was simply a glimmer of the past mixed into the full experience that the band molded for this tour. The night continued on as the orchestra complimented the band’s raspy vocals perfectly, even allowing the set to move from the happy-go-lucky optimism of the initial few songs into the conflict of the set. A portion of the show including “Yearbook” and “Siren Call” which the band previously described to Entertainment Tonight as being about the call of doubt and toxic thoughts that each person has to fight. Throughout this fragment of the show the driving force of emotion was felt deeply as the sharpness of the drums fought against the softness of the violins, leading to a musical experience that was felt deeply throughout the crowd.
At the peak of darkness in Hanson’s set, they revisited and revamped the concept of reaching for what you want, and started the second section of the night with “Reaching For The Stars Part 2.” From this point on, the thread of hope instilled itself even further. The orchestra continued to swell, allowing the beat of each song to cry out to the depths of the crowd, awakening them and allowing a type of transparency between the intimate set and the audience.
The night continued to intensify with 2004 hit, “Broken Angel.” The trio allowed the strength and beauty of the orchestra to fill the theatre and embody the lyrics, “Broken angel, you’ve got to learn how to fly. Get up and earn your wings tonight.”
Hanson then took the crowd into a celebration of life with “No Rest For The Weary” and “I Was Born.” The crowd rose with the swells of sound, almost as a promise to follow the lyrics of the uplifting anthems and make their lives meaningful.
Finally, the trio thanked the audience with a statement of, “The past 25 years don’t matter if we waste tonight” as they played out their final harmonic experience of the show, “Tonight.”
After taking their audience on a journey of love, pain, and everything experienced when you embark on a new dream, goal, or even season in your life, Hanson reflected on the fact that you should “Say what you mean and mean what you say, And tonight Chase down the dream and don’t give up without a fight, And don’t wait for tomorrow’s daylight ‘Cause it just might be tonight.”
Wednesday night, Hanson did not bring a concert to St. Louis. They brought a glimmer of hope and an artistic masterpiece. If you did not have the chance to experience it live, look for their new album ‘String Theory’ on November 9th.