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ARMED WITH PRESS passes, a camera, and the unshakeable feeling we were about to step back into 1997, we made our way to the Bronson Centre to see Hanson live in concert on Feb 8. Much to our surprise, security was tight—it was only after three failed attempts to enter the building that we were finally granted admission. We staked our claim to some seats in the back row and settled in for what we were sure would be a night of nostalgia for the ‘90s.

And we were right—for the most part.

The evening began with a performance by Carly Rae Jepsen (of “Call Me Maybe” and Canadian Idol fame). Jepsen’s bubbly personality and flirtatious banter set the tone for the rest of the night.

As she left the stage, the excitement in the air was palpable. Hanson’s fans, most of whom seemed to have been following the band since their 1997 release, Middle of Nowhere, were clearly ready to greet their favourite artists.

When Zac, Taylor, and Isaac took the stage, the crowd erupted into ear-piercing screams. The band launched right into “Waiting For This”, an upbeat, country, and radio-friendly song reminiscent of Keith Urban.

No one could deny Hanson has matured as a band—both as performers and songwriters. Their effortless ability to harmonize was evident in songs like “Deeper” and “Wish That I Was There”, but the band still remains faithful to the music that made them famous—cautiously crafted pop songs with carefree choruses and singalong hooks. Songs like “Penny and Me”, “Where’s the Love”, and, of course, “MMMBop” had the fans out of their seats and singing along to every word, each reliving the moment they fell in love with the band 15 years ago.

Amber Brown is one such fan.

“I am a lifelong Hanson fan,” says the University of Western Ontario graduate at the concert. “I became obsessed with them when I was younger and it’s stayed [that way] until now.”

Johara Ibrahim, a University of Ottawa student, has been a fan of the band since she was 12 years old.

“This is my third Hanson concert,” she said. “I feel like they’ve grown up with me.”

Hanson is as dedicated to their audience as their audience is to them. The band knew exactly what their following was looking for—and they didn’t fail to deliver.

—Kristyn Filip and Kyle Hansford