This is going to be extremely wordy and a bit image heavy (one photo per song). I considered splitting this into two entries: MOE and then the show itself but I didn’t want another awkward ending. I’m sorry.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Last Friday (March 30) was phenomenal because I went to two Hanson shows: a fan club Members-Only Event (best $40 I’ve ever spent) and the big show itself. I woke up to rain fallin’ down outta— no? No quoting Hanson songs? So I woke up and it was raining and I said to the skies: “Nah-uh, Mother Nature, no.” I put on my specially picked out, super fancy 65PHP concert dress (that’s less than USD2 for non-Filipinos and yes, I’m being sarcastic) and bent forward in the mirror to see if my ass would hang out; it did so I put on some shorts. I raised my arms, twirled my right hand— index finger pointed— around (practicing for Where’s The Love, yehehehes), and tested to see if the top would stay in place. It did. I was ready.

Sanya and I arrived at Araneta at 3PM— an hour and a half before doors for MOE, five hours before the 8PM show. Of course, things were off to a late start and that was okay. After all, we waited for them for eight years (fifteen, for some); we could wait a few more hours.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

A wild pinkhair appears! From Sanya’s instagram.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Brenna, Yam, and I at the west gate!

Brenna is from South Africa and traveled all the way to Manila (and Cebu!) from Korea (if I recall correctly) for the shows. We made fast friends with her because she is adorable. Diego from Dayly gave her that signed Hanson poster! You just can’t help but love these guys (Dayly, not Hanson).

Soon, we were all herded through Araneta’s red gate for MOE. HNET had a strict-ish no-photos, no-video policy, something I respected. Besides, this was probably going to be the only show I would fully enjoy and not worry about having to capture on camera. We were last to line up so we ended up on the last row, seated next to the girls from HansonPH. Again, this wasn’t a problem, as there were only 80ish fan club members in the audience.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Before Hanson came out on stage. From Sanya’s instagram

We were told, via HNET, that they would perform songs from the 2012 member EP, Facing the Blank Page. They ended up playing only one song from it, though, and I can’t really complain BECAUSE THEY PLAYED MY FAVORITE SONG.

MOE setlist (acoustic set!!!):
Sunny Day (from Facing the Blank Page) and Cecilia (Simon & Garfunkel cover)
We jumped up on our feet as soon as they started. Sunny Day is a straight up feel-good song and they had us do the stomping thing that you can see in the video linked above. That was great, even though I can be a bit rhythmically-challenged (something that would become glaringly and embarrassingly obvious at the Cebu show).

Rrrrrreally glad they threw in Cecilia. I love this song, I love Simon & Garfunkel and now I can’t stop singing this to my cat (subbing Cecilia with Freakella).

Madeline (Middle of Nowhere)
I did not see this coming. MY FAVORITE SONG EVER. It’s a little strange hearing live for the first time a song you have carried dearly in your heart for more than half your life. After the initial OHMYGODs and shrieks that would make my 12-year old self proud, I found myself not knowing what to do. Do I sing along or keep quiet? Do I stand still and savor every second of the song? Do I laugh, keep shrieking, let everyone in my row and the row in front of me that this is OUR favorite song, or burst out in embarrassing tears of joy and delirium?

Later, I would thank them in a postcard for playing Madeline.

River (3 Car Garage/Live from Albertane)
“Give it up for Isaac Hanson!”

Another one that I did not see coming and another favorite. Honestly, they sang a lot of songs throughout this tour that I just did not expect and it just felt like they knew what the fans wanted to hear.

Wish That I Was There (This Time Around)
As much as I like this song, I wish they skipped out on this for MOE considering it was already part of the Manila and Cebu setlists. I would rather have heard another track from FTBP (like Time Baby Take It). Zac flubbed the lyrics on this one and we all had a good laugh.

Crazy Beautiful (Underneath)
We were just talking about how badly we wanted to hear this song live (they didn’t play it in 2004) and we did… twice!

After their set, they took a few questions from the audience. I still wanted to ask my question (there’s a thread on the fan club forums created by a member griping about how member-exclusive material keeps getting leaked and I wanted to know their thoughts on piracy and file-sharing) but they only called on three people, including a girl who had already asked a question at the press-con the previous day. I don’t mean to sound bitter but her question was basically similar to the one from the press-con (it wasn’t a very good one, either, IMO) and I just felt like it was such a waste of a precious opportunity. I’m not one to talk about being greedy, considering the amount of times I met them on this tour, but there are other ways to draw attention to yourself without being selfish. Oh well.

A fan club photo op followed, one that I didn’t care much for because it was done by row and the three guys stayed behind the barricade. I purposely stayed in the fringes to let the other girls interact with the guys since I was already fortunate enough to have been at the airport and press-con.

There was a Dayly meet & greet after MOE so with the help of my hair (doubling as a banner of some sort; no joke, the fans who flew in from China were basically told to just follow my hair), we walked to the west gate and waited to be let in. Unfortunately, we had to leave Aia inside Araneta; something about her being made to stay there until the show.

I liked this meet & greet because there were maybe only 25 of us and we could go in groups of 3 or 4. Once again, I was paranoid the guys might think I was a crazy fan because I was everyfreakingwhere. I walked in, shook Zac’s hand, and told him I was starting to feel really creepy. He was all smiles as he said “That’s okay!” So genuinely friendly, this guy.

We didn’t get to chat much with them because one of the fans from China had them sign these bad ass custom Hanson Chucks. Like, seriously, I don’t wear Chucks but I want a pair (we later learned a friend had it made for her)! They were really nice, taking their time to sign it even though we were supposed to be in a rush.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Photo by Kris Rocha.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Why am I not looking at the camera :(

Afterwards, I realized I forgot to show them my tattoo again.

We had front row (AND CENTER!) tickets for the Manila show so friends and I had no trouble rushing towards the barricade as soon as Hanson came on stage. We were worrying about Aia and her wheelchair and we’re glad Brenna and a bouncer were around to watch over her as other fans tried to squeeze themselves in front of Aia. I heard that a couple of fans flipped out at the bouncer who kept making them move away so Aia could get an unobstructed view lol.

I was kind of overcome with fear as soon as I felt the crowd crush me from behind and for a split-second, I thought that I might not enjoy the show. I mean, this wasn’t my first time to be front row center for a concert but this is Hanson and Hanson fans are rabid. I’m surprised no fights broke out in my area, though I did get a bit physically aggressive (elbow wrestling, some yelling) with the girl beside me as we both tried to snap photos at the same time. She later left and was replaced with some chick who smelled like she spent all her shampoo money on her VIP ticket. The audio was terrible up front, too, and I could barely hear them sing over the crowd. Some time during Where’s the Love, I briefly considered getting out of front row and moving to the back so I could actually hear what I came for.

Except I wanted to be in the front row and with my friends :P

Shout It Out / Hanson Manila set list + photos:

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Waiting For This, Shout It Out

Of course they were going to open with Waiting For This (which contains the album title). Next to Make It Out Alive, WFT is my favorite song off Shout It Out and I really like how it sounds like the opening/theme song of a TV show from the 90s, too.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Where’s The Love, Middle of Nowhere

A first! You would think that they would’ve played this in 2004, seeing that it was the second single off MON and arguably one of their best and most popular songs, but they didn’t.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin’, Shout It Out

Acoustically, TBS sounded fantastic but it fell a little flat live, without the horn section.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Thinking of You, Middle of Nowhere

I grew up in a small town which was basically a shit hole in 1997 and didn’t get my hands on a Middle of Nowhere cassette tape until a few weeks after I first saw MMMBop on MTV (I had to save up and use my own money to get the CD for Man From Milwaukee!). MMMBop was the only Hanson song I knew and I had to wait for my folks to bring my brother and I to a mall in Alabang to pick out music we wanted (my brother got Suede’s Coming Up which would eventually cause several vicious fights between us. Two kids in high school, one tape deck; I don’t know what my parents were thinking). MON was sold out in the first two record stores we went to and I nearly lost hope but whatever, third store’s a charm. I got so excited that I hugged my mom and my brother told me that the saleslady looked at me weird— my first taste of what it would be like to be a Hanson fan, apparently.

Magical is the only way to describe how I felt as I got my first listen of non-MMMBop Hanson. Desperate, too, because I wanted so badly to know them and I couldn’t. Basically, this song, this album, this band (and Dawson’s Creek) were what made me realize— at the tender age of 12— that I had to have something more than that small town. If I wanted to meet Hanson.

Did I mention that I was 12?

(According to my boyfriend, in 1997, he was picking up chicks at clubs with clever lines like “I’m from LA.” Our children will learn about this.)

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

A Minute Without You, Middle of Nowhere

I will never tire of this song!

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Crazy Beautiful, Underneath

Well. That was sexy. Personally, a little anti-climactic since they already sang it at MOE.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Can’t Stop, This Time Around

I love how they added a bit of a Latin flavor to the performance.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Strong Enough To Break, Underneath (acoustic)

Such a treat to have an acoustic set in the middle of the show! SETB is one of those songs I’m glad they wrote because to me, it speaks of their refusal to give up.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Deeper, Underneath (acoustic)

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Wish That I Was There, This Time Around (acoustic)

Zac got it right this time.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

A Song To Sing, This Time Around

Kinda went nuts when they played this! All three turned appropriately somber during this song.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

With You In Your Dreams, Middle of Nowhere

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

This Time Around, This Time Around

A little disappointed that Taylor didn’t split the crowd when he asked us to sing along. It was the highlight of the 2004 show (for me) as it was something I’ve always dreamed of being part of.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

And I Waited, Shout It Out

I’m gonna be honest and say I’m not that big of a fan of Zac’s singing voice and I don’t like this song at all. I would have preferred hearing Musical Ride, which is one of the few Zac songs I love.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Penny and Me, Underneath

The radio anthem that should have been, this song is another great example that Hanson gets it.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Give A Little, Shout It Out

Taylor introduces the song by sending out a message to the guys in the audience. I’m a bit indifferent towards GAL though I know a lot of non-fans like it.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

MMMBop, Middle of Nowhere

LOL. The song that started it all. At one point, I was aware that the cameraman had turned away from the stage and pointed his camera at our direction. I would later find out why.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Ugly-singing to MMMBop!

I hate it when cameramen do crowd shots at concerts . I had VIP tickets when I went to see Timbaland and Justin Timberlake some years ago, but I was still pretty far from the stage (that’s MoA Concert Grounds for you) so I had to rely on the big screens to see what was happening. Several times, the cameraman would single out celebrities in the audience to show on the screens. If I wanted to see Anne Curtis singing along to FutureSex/LoveSound, I would watch ASAP.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Lost Without Each Other, Underneath

At this point, I stopped worrying about being that annoying girl in the front row who blocks the view of the folks behind her and started dancing with my arms up in the air. I’m sorry.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

If Only, This Time Around

My favorite performance of the night! Taylor coaxed the crowd to jump, though I had to make do with lively bouncing— and shrieking— because I didn’t want to injure myself, what with the barricade and the sea of people behind me. They paused towards the end of the song to get the crowd to make sum noise! and it was really adorable seeing Zac stand up by his drum set while Isaac sort of shied away towards the back, shaking his head and grinning. Did anyone else notice this?! So precious.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

In The City, This Time Around (encore)

High up on my list of songs I wanna hear live! I was 15 when This Time Around came out and this song drove my hormones crazy. I love how Taylor flirts with the crowd, pointing his tambourine in a way that makes you feel he’s singled you out and even blowing a kiss at someone (or a bunch of someones lol). This was a little bittersweet because you know it’s the final song and they ended the show with that rockstar jump (or whatever). I panicked when I saw Zac climb up on his bass drum because my camera was sitting on a ledge on the barricade and I didn’t have time to lean over and fish it out by its strap. Oh well.

Taylor was a real firecracker on stage (or perhaps that’s just my fangirl infatuation’s opinion) but I think we can all agree that the real scene stealer were those tight jeans of his. Serrrriously, I’m surprised Taylor’s jeans or Taylor’s crotch didn’t trend on Twitter that night.

Hanson Philippines Manila Cebu

Brenna, Aia, Triccie

Overall, it was a really good set despite the obvious and curious lack of songs from The Walk. Even the printed Cebu setlist (which I will blog about in the coming days) didn’t have any songs from that album. Perhaps it’s because The Walk wasn’t released here? IDK but I would have loved to hear Georgia and Great Divide live!

Afterwards, friends and I headed to a ghetto bar within the Araneta area to get some beer in our tummies (we sat outside, far from the din and the show band covering Adele and Bruno Mars songs). I was excited to know what they, being non-fans, thought of the show; Tara said it was the loudest concert she’s ever been to, Tin said Isaac was her favorite Hanson. I need to mention that I had two guy friends who watched the show: Larry (a wild male Hanson fan appears!) and Misha (who was able to sing along to every song).

There was more talk about Taylor’s choice of jeans but I’ll leave that out because I’m not 12 anymore, damnit!