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Review: Hanson delights at PlayStation Theater holiday show in New York (Includes first-hand account)

They kicked off their show with “Finally it’s Christmas,” the title track of their new holiday record, where they grasped the audience’s attention from the first verse, and they sustained that attention for the entire duration of their holiday concert in Times Square, New York. Isaac Hanson on acoustic guitar and lead vocals was superb, while Zac and Taylor furnished their strong harmonies. It was followed by the upbeat, piano-driven “What Christmas Means to Me,” and “Merry Christmas, Baby.”

They continued with the mid-tempo “Winter Wonderland” and “Run Rudolph Run,” where Isaac nailed the electric guitar. Taylor praised the late Chuck Berry for being the “original rock and roller.” “Someday at Christmas” was a controlled and subtle piano-driven performance, featuring the dynamic voice of Taylor Hanson. They subsequently praised the greatness of Stevie Wonder.

Their a cappella version of “White Christmas” was heartfelt and nostalgic, and it allowed the trio of brothers to display their soaring harmonies. Hanson stomped their feet and had the audience clapping along with them on their follow-up a cappella tune “Joy to the Mountain,” where the song was essentially a mixture of “Joy to the World” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” Another crowd favorite for sure, where one can sense their passion for their craft during this remarkable medley of Christmas classics.

They sang “Please Come Home For Christmas” with a great deal of soul, which would have made the Eagles proud. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” was slower, with a neat orchestral arrangement to it. Hanson was able to give Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” their own, distinct twist, and it worked well. The crowd was reciting the lyrics verbatim, as they incorporated it as a singalong with the audience.

They belted out the rocking “Til New Years Night,” which was quite appropriate for his holiday show. After the cheerful “A Wonderful Christmas Time,” they closed their show covering Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” and on a sassy fun note with “Everybody Knows the Claus.”

For their encore, Hanson returned to the PlayStation Theater stage to sing Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas,” and they ended with a soothing rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” thus leaving their hardcore fans wanting to hear more Christmas tunes.

Singer-songwriter Toly Rod, who was present at the show, remarked, “Hanson was awesome! I always knew them for their hit ‘MMMBop’ but never got to see them live. They were so good and I was very impressed, their vocals were impeccable plus they are amazing musicians. I love how all three of them get to perform in their own style and even switched instruments. It’s very great to see them still together 25 years later, more talented than ever.”

The Verdict

Overall, Hanson was incredible at the PlayStation Theater in New York City, where they performed in support of their newest Christmas album. Despite messing up on the lyrics for two of the songs, they proved that they are only human. They are worth seeing live, in any capacity, whether it is for a holiday or Greatest Hits show. Hanson never disappoints. The trio of siblings was born to entertain. Their show garnered an A rating.

Hanson’s Finally It’s Christmas album earned a rave review from Digital Journal. Their Christmas album is available on iTunes.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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